After more than a year on the sidelines, Jeremy Clarkson is back
with a new car show on Amazon Prime called “The Grand Tour”.
Clarkson, along with long-time co-hosts Richard Hammond and James
May, launched “The Grand Tour” prior to the Thanksgiving holiday
to rave reviews.
In fact, the first episode quickly became the most watch piece of
programming in the history of Amazon Prime.
Incredibly, Amazon’s second-best performing show could only
muster 1/3 of “The Grand Tour’s” ratings, The Wrap reported.
Recently, the bombastic TV host and long-time newspaper columnist
sat down with Business Insider in New York while doing press for
his new show. We had a brief chat about supercars, electric cars,
and why James May should feel small and stupid.
Benjamin Zhang: Let’s talk about cars. One of
our favorites this year has been the new Acura/Honda NSX.
Jeremy Clarkson: I’m annoyed to have to say that
James May has driven it for the show, Richard Hammond has been in
it, and I’ve only been looking at it. I’ve haven’t had a go in
it, not yet, but I will very soon
It’s a very good looking car, I just hope its better than Honda’s
Formula One effort. (In reference to Honda’s recent struggles as
McLaren’s engine supplier in the Formula One racing series.)
BZ: In the past you haven’t been a huge of fan of Tesla. Has your
thinking changed at all?
JC: No, because I will never be a fan plug-in
electric cars. You have brown-outs in New York already when you
have people charging (phones) up, and running lights. America is
barely coping with its demand for electricity. Same in Britain.
We’re 5% and you’re 16% under here in the US. So, when people
start charging their cars up, where’s the power going to come?
You’ll have to build more power stations. Is that environmentally
The answer is hydrogen. But the more plug-in electric cars that
come along, the less demand there is for carmakers to get off
their asses and start making fuel cell cars — which is where we
must go. We must have fuel cell cars. The world has to have them.
BZ: Back to something more traditional. What are
your thoughts on the new Ferrari 488 GTB? Is it an awesome car or
a turbocharged abomination?
JC: The 488 is fabulous car — make no mistake
about that. And anyone who owns a 458 ( The 488’s predecessor)
now would feel small and stupid because they bought the wrong
car… James May.
BZ: Yes, James May was extolling the merits of his Ferrari 458
Speciale earlier today.
JC: Yes I know, he’s the man who once drove it
26 mph. He’d certainly never go any faster than that.
Ferrari— difficult company to deal with, but extremely good cars
when you get ahold of them. They are really, really good. In
fact, I know of nothing, really, as a driver’s machine that gets
close to that.
BZ: What about McLaren?
JC: It does, but it’s got these extremely
clever electronic roll bars and matches Ferrari in terms of all
of the outright figures. But I don’t know. There’s a
fizz, James May calls it, (that you feel) when you drive
a Ferrari. I know what he means and you just don’t get that from
a McLaren. The spirit of (long-time McLaren boss and well-known
neat-freak) Ron Dennis is in every single thing you touch in
BZ: Not for much longer I guess.
JC: Yes, I know and that’s slightly amazing.
(Dennis was removed from is position of McLaren Technology
Group’s CEO last month)
There’s this slightly antiseptic feel to the (McLaren). You know
when you see someone with really neat hair and you want to lean
over and just do that. (Clarkson stretches his arm out
and pretends to mess up my hair.) It’s what you want to do to a
McLaren. You want to just rub mud on its face. It would make the
car better and more human.
BZ: On that note, what do you think of the new generation Audi
JC: I haven’t bothered with it. The last Audi I
drove was the TT, which was excellent. I drive a different car
every week, why the bloody hell would I make one of them an A4.
BZ: Well, what about American cars? Have they
gotten any better in your opinion?
JC: Yeah, much better. The new Corvettes are
truly fantastic. You couldn’t possibly have one in Europe because
you’d look like a moron. But, it’s a fabulous car. In fact, the
last two generations have been extremely impressive.
BZ: Even for everyday road use?
JC: Yeah. Very very good. And I’d also say that,
for the same exact reasons I was discussing with you on the
McLaren, the Mustang is also a really good car.
We a drove the Roush one in the opening scene (of the first
episode) and that was a really good car.
BZ: You had a (Henrik Fisker-designed, modified Mustang) Rocket
as well right?
JC: Yeah, but the Roush was better. The Roush
was the best of those three.
BZ: Even better than the Shelby GT350?
JC: I thought so. The last Roush I drove — based
on the last model Mustang — was (on the track) at Willow Springs.
I was just absolutely bowled over by it. Roush are really good.
Never met them. Don’t even know who they are or where they are,
but I’ve driven two of their cars now and both of them have been
BZ: Thank you very much.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his
personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
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