The Grand Tour presents Lochdown review: The old spark truly back?

On The Grand Tour presents Lochdown; Richard falls over, James screams “CLARKSOOOOOONNN” and Jeremy is the meat in an incompetent sandwich.

By:Updated: Aug 01, 2021 7:33 AM

The Executive Producer of The Grand Tour, Andy Wilman suggested that the new special shot in Scotland will see the trio – Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, return to form, reminiscent of classic Top Gear. The very chemistry that made them as popular as they are today. On their new production called The Grand Tour presents Lochdown, the three head to Scotland in the midst of the covid lockdown to find out why American classic cars from the 70s with the enormous V8 motors were never popular in Britain, or even most of Europe. But the question being asked is; if the magic is really back?

As always, the show was introduced by gorgeous shots of the Scottish landscape. Then Clarkson was the first to arrive in a Lincoln Continental Mark V, Hammond was in a beautiful Buick Riviera Boattail as May brought a lengthy Cadillac Coupe de Ville. The trio was tasked to travel from Edinburgh to the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. But in order to find out how the American land yachts would cope with Scottish city centres, the trio started the journey through narrow alleyways of the city. Of course, it didn’t take them long to arrive at a problem.

As Jeremy attempted to make a sharp turn, Hammond’s Buick decided to overheat and have an explosion right on cue. The cars struggled to climb even the smallest of gradients and drive on the cobbled streets. But after moving about some garbage bins, and Jeremy being locked out of his own Lincoln, they eventually found their way around.

Eventually, they reached the Knockhill race track to find out how the American lumbering 7+ litre V8 engines fared against the benchmark time set by period-correct small little compact cars built in Scotland. American firepower of course failed to match or even get close to the time set by TGT racing driver Abbie Eaton in the Hillman Avenger Tiger with a humble 1.5-litre engine.

But, that’s when reality set in for the presenters as in the middle of lockdown, they were unwelcomed in hotels. So the irony of it all is having to spend the night in caravans. Something all three of them loathe and have made numerous attempts to go over and above to advertise the same over the years. Then James proved the point that he is the funniest of the three when they modified their caravans. I Will let you watch and see the modifications yourself.

They would drive along with their caravans as that’s where they would spend their nights. At least that was the plan till Clarkson’s caravan detached on the move and drove down a ditch, Hammond’s flipped over after a self-induced tank slapper. Then they realised they had flooded May’s caravan as a prank, meaning the night spent as a threesome would be moist. So they stayed in a Scottish Castle instead.

The next morning, they paid tribute to American muscle cars. Clarkson drove a Mustang Shelby GT500, May paid tribute to the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 while Hammond’s Dodge Charger R/T exploded nearly giving May a heart attack.

While they did showcase some of the great cars to come from America, they wanted to balance it out by finding out which was the worst of the breed as well. Reviving the Cold War, they lined up a demolition derby between three cars from the Soviet Union and three American cars — the Chrysler PT Cruiser, Chrysler Voyager and the Pontiac Aztec. The car that would die first, thus last in the race, would be declared the worst car of the lot. Without spoiling it, I will say I was disappointed with the final result, especially with Clarkson’s performance.

The interesting revelation came when they all discovered one of the reasons American cars weren’t popular in Britain. The style and flamboyance of American cars were embarrassing in Europe, they just didn’t blend in. So to find people they could, the trio had to drive further up to North Uist to meet up with a like-minded community.

Driving through more cold Scottish weather across the beautiful landscape, eventually, the destination was within sight. But to get there, the task was daunting as they had to build a pontoon-like bridge themselves to get across the water. Some interesting revelations came about all the way till the end. But I shall not spoil it.

However, while the tasks set to them was interesting to watch them pan out. What is really enjoyable about Lochdown is the banter between the three presenters. It is genuinely hilarious to watch. Unlike the previous outing ‘A Massive Hunt’ in Madagascar where the story lacked excitement. Lochdown felt a lot like the times they drove across Bolivia, Botswana, many times America, or even the beautiful special in Mongolia.

The chemistry, the stabs at each other with inside jokes, the general dialogue between the three over the radio, Hammond’s cars exploding before he could crash them. Lochdown is one of Clarkson, Hammond and May’s betters works in recent times. I wouldn’t say best as I reserve that personally for Top Gear’s Bolivia special. But Lochdown is one you wouldn’t mind watching repeatedly till Mr Wilman gives us another. Thankfully the trio did what they know best, they were ambitious and rubbish! The Grand Tour presents Lochdown is an automotive romantic comedy about three middle-aged men falling over and in love with American land yachts. The best kind of romantic comedies I believe.

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