Richard Hammond recalls several close calls while filming the big tour | Taza Khabre

Key findings

  • The Grand Tour is full of fun and dangerous scenarios, showcasing the trio’s failures and unexpected moments.
  • The trio’s adventures often involve homemade gadgets that cause trouble, and water is a recurring enemy for them.
  • The show embraces gags and gags, making them an integral part of the show’s charm, unlike other programs that would consider them a failure.

It is hard to underestimate the global impact of this Higher gear had on the automotive world. Before Top Gear 2002 was the year of reconstruction. car talk meant tweed jackets and boring details. They tore up the rule book, proving that driving can be exciting, messy and pure fun.

with Jeremy Clarkson and executive producer Andy Willman at the helm, the show quickly transformed from a show exclusively for car enthusiasts to the world’s most popular “reality” TV program, according to the Guinness Book of Records. Although the trio’s tenure on the BBC show came to an abrupt end, they’ve taken their winning formula and brought it to their Amazon streaming hit The big tour.

The most iconic aspects of both shows are the cross-country challenges, including all the fun and dangerous scenarios the trio gets into. Driving Richard Hammond takes a trip down memory lane Drivetrive’s YouTube channellooking at the times things went wrong and why the show thrives on those moments.

Off-road vehicle “John” overturned in Mongolia

via The Grand Tour (YT)

The first rather comical moment Hammond refers to is a 2019 Mongolian special called Survival of the Fattest. Like many a Grand tour Specially, the trio have been dropped out of nowhere, this time in Mongolia, and have to cross the country in a vehicle that is almost capable of crossing the terrain.

However, in a twist to the usual formula, Clarkson, Hammond and May have to build the car from scratch before they can even drive. The car itself is a ladder-frame chassis with a mid-mounted 2.5-liter inline-4 turbo diesel engine, and power is sent to all four wheels via a Land Rover R380 5-speed manual transmission and LR LT230 transfer case.

Another feature of this episode is that the trio all drive together instead of having separate vehicles as usual. Unfortunately, while driving through swampy terrain, James May got completely stuck in the John. Hammond, a self-confessed “country boy,” decides to take the upper hand and drive the car away. However, as always, things go wrong and “John” capsizes and gets stuck. Hammond laughs amusedly as he watches the clip again.

Namibia’s “death slide” left Hammond stranded in the air

Key details of grand tour failures

  • Richard Hammond looks back at some of the funniest moments from the past five seasons The big tour
  • Hammond says that while the show is somewhat scripted, most of the funniest moments come unexpectedly
  • Hammond compares most of the show to a long stretch of gags that stick around, while other shows cut them out and start over
  • The Grand Tour Trio has traveled to numerous locations over the years where chaos has always ensued
  • While the show’s makeshift devices always cause problems, water seems to be the real enemy of the show and its hosts

Perhaps one of the most memorable and fan-favorite episodes is the sequence where the trio ride three beach buggies through the Namibian desert. While Hammond and May went the more conventional route, equipping their VW Beetle-based buggies with 4-cylinder air-cooled Volkswagen engines, Clarkson, typically, abandoned practicality and went the route of power.

Based on the side-drive buggy, Clarkson put a 3.5-litre Rover V8 in the rear, producing 180bhp. – almost twice as much as the buggy of his colleagues. Great as it is in theory, Clarkson’s buggy was a constant headache for him, his co-hosts and the crew, regularly breaking down, falling apart and running out of fuel.

In the second part of the special, Clarkson, Hammond and May must make their way from the top of the falls to the beach below to reach the finish line and the end of the episode. With no way to get the buggy to the bottom, the crew built a makeshift zipline system powered by a pair of old generators to transport the buggy downstream.

While Clarkson and May manage to get to the bottom without too much trouble, Clarkson’s V8 buggy is about 440 pounds heavier than May’s and stresses the metal lines, causing them to sag. Hammond went last, and because his buggy was the heaviest, he got stuck in the air about 200 yards from the finish line.

Using animals to weigh the Mazda Miata predictably ended badly

2016 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider VS 2016 Mazda Miata VS 2015 Zenos E10S Specifications


2016 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider

2016 Mazda Miata

2015 Zenos E10S


1.7-liter inline-4 with turbocharging

2.0-liter naturally aspirated inline four-cylinder engine

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 engine


Mid-engine, rear-wheel drive

Front engine, rear drive

Mid-engine, rear-wheel drive

Method of transmission

6-speed automatic

6-speed mechanics

6-speed mechanics


237 hp

155 hp

250 hp

A turning point

248 lb-ft

148 lb-ft

295 lb-ft


2465 lbs

2332 pounds

1598 pounds

(figures provided Stellantis/Mazda/Evo UK)

Until grand tour evolved over five seasons, the first season had perhaps some of the weirdest moments of the show’s existence. A standout was a trip to Morocco where the trio took an Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, Mazda Miata and Zenos E10 to the North African country to see which car was the best and generally fool around.

After May’s Zenos E10 beats Clarkson’s Alfa 4C in a drag race, the power-to-weight ratio becomes a central talking point for the rest of the episode. Clarkson firmly believes that the coal bath in his 4C weighs less than May’s Zenos, so he decides to build a makeshift scale using live animals as a counterweight.

Since Hammond’s Mazda Miata weighs the most of the three cars (and probably because it is the least expensive to repair), he is sent to test the makeshift wooden contraption first. Hilarity quickly ensues as the three hosts try and fail to get a goat, a camel, several turkeys and a couple of cows to stay on the scales. Clarkson then uses dead animals as substitutes and the Miata finally sets the reference weight.

Unfortunately, as Hammond reverses onto the ramp, the front of the scale tips forward and the Miata’s rear wheels wedge between the ramp and the scale, crushing the rear bumper. Clarkson, May and the crew quickly try to balance the scales on the other side.

However, after the crew tries to add weight to bring the front of the Miata up to level with the ramp, all the weight breaks and sends Hammond and the Miata crashing to the ground. You could tell Hammond was unhappy.

The trio’s sea adventures never go well

Clarkson, Hammond and May’s passion for tackling large and small bodies of water dates back to 2006 Higher gear. The trio’s amphibious vehicle challenges are a fan favorite, and usually one or more of the hosts drowns miserably in the process. Until grand tour does not repeat the same call from Higher gear days, the three hosts still spend quite a bit of time away from land.

In one of the funniest moments of the Lockdown special, Hammond takes a small fishing boat and tries to tow a floating pontoon into the middle of an estuary. However, in classic Hammond fashion, as soon as he starts twisting the throttle, the small boat capsizes and Hammond ends up in the water. Hammond says it only took 11 seconds from the time he turned the throttle and the boat was completely submerged.

There are several other, albeit less dramatic, incidents involving the boat that Hammond recounts in the video. Hammond says that while most TV programs would see these incidents as failures and would need to organize reruns, The big tour and Higher gear The era that preceded it is unique in that the outs are the show itself.

Sources: YouTube @ Drivetribe, @ The Grand Tour, Reddit, IMDBMazda US, Stellantis, Evo UK, Guinness Book of Records

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