Our American friends are in for a treat – three blokes in an abandoned warehouse are about to cause chaos in some cars.
Yes, the US version of our pokey little motoring show screens its first episode this Sunday on History. You know all about this by now. So we took the opportunity to invade the personal space of hosts Adam Ferrara, Tanner Foust and Rutledge Wood.
What’s been the highlight of the series?
TF: I grew up loving skiing and cars, and in this series I finally managed to drive a car down a ski mountain. I took a Mitsubishi Evo X down Mammoth Mountain here in California on a beautiful power day. It was a perfect day for skiing, blah blah blah, but I just carved it up with this car. It was pretty much a dream come true.
RW: For me, it was the epic trip we took to Alaska, where we decided to test America’s toughest truck in the toughest state, and I’ve never been to a place like that before. We went on all these crazy trails in these trucks that we bought online. Tanner was like, ‘we’ve been shooting straight for 18 hours’. On camera it looks like we’re half drunk but we’re just damn tired.
AF: Working with Richard Porter [genial, lanky funnyman and Top Gear script editor – Ed]. Next question.
Now filming has finished, do you hate each other?
AF: I can’t even stand Tanner’s voice anymore. I also found out Rutledge has limited peripheral vision and a weak stomach, so those were two things we could exploit.
TF: Yeah, Rutledge threw up like, seven times in ten episodes. That’s gotta be a record.
AF: We only showed two, but the other five were fantastic. We also had a psychotic episode around day two of that trip. That’s when the squirrel got out.
Did anything go horribly wrong during filming?
TF: If it goes majorly wrong, that’s usually good, right?
RW: In one challenge we had to park a car up on a hill. Tanner couldn’t get his car to stick on the hill with the parking brake so he decided to do a little Top Gear bailout and shot out the window. He didn’t lock the steering wheel or point it in any direction so the car just went on its own. Apparently it hated Adam because it made this crazy ‘S’ coming down the hill and tried to kill Adam’s car. Adam got pissed about it, grabbed a bowling ball and tried to smash the window.
AF: It just bounced off the deck.
TF: It’s a Fiero. It’s a dent-free car. It’s made outta plastic. You can’t dent it.
How honest are you allowed to be when reviewing a car?
AF: They haven’t told us to hold back anything so if we’re not supposed to say something, we don’t know about it. All they said to us was be completely honest, and watch your language. But some stuff is sh*t, alright? Sometimes sh*t is the right word.
RW: Your profanity in the UK is so eloquent so it goes under the radar, where as here, we have six or seven really solid ones, and you can only say the ‘F’ word so many times. That’s what we don’t have. We don’t have other ways to swear.
AF: But British swearing even sounds good to our ears. When James May pulls up to review a car, and there’s say, a Zonda, and he says [mock British accent] ‘Oh cock’, that’s great to an American.
RW: We could say ‘wiener’ but it just wouldn’t have the same flair.
AF: ‘W*nker’. Doesn’t have the same ring.
Considering the UK show mocks American cars, will you do the same to British cars?
TF: I drove the Morgan. I didn’t want to make fun of it. I didn’t go out with that intention, but I thought that it would be inevitable. I actually ended up really liking it which was a surprise, probably because I drove it in England. If I was in the States, it would have been a mess. It would have looked like a cartoon car driving down the road.
RW: I don’t think we have an underlying theme of our dislike towards the Brits. We are a loving, kind people, but I may have gone over the line slightly in proclaiming all British people were liars after sitting in a British car. The speedometer grossly overstates a number and makes people believe it might accomplish such a thing. I basically inferred that all British people are liars because the car was a liar.
How will TG USA appeal to non ‘gearheads’?
AF: I hope they can see the fun we’re having. One of the things I love about the UK show is that those guys are having fun. I know a lot of the UK fans aren’t even gearheads, they just like the guys.
RW: Basically, listen to Colleen [he means the US TV journalist who was talking to the guys before us]. I was talking to her earlier, and she’s not a car person and she loved the preview. So I’m hoping Coleen will tell two friends, those two tell another two, and so on until all America knows.
AF: So it’s basically all on this woman named Coleen, who, by the way, thinks you’re hot.
Excellent, we’ll get her number later. In the meantime, Tanner, you’re a pro racer. Which driver is worse – Rutledge or Adam?
RW: Now why did you go and do that?
TF: They both suck.
AF: Just because some of us can drive in a straight line Mr Sideways Tanner.
TF: Thank you for this opportunity to answer this question. In reality, they’re exactly like you would think. Rutledge drives like he grew up on a farm, he slid things around a lot and his arm is always hanging on to the roof when he’s sliding and his other hand is palming the steering wheel. Adam is just angry behind the wheel because I think that’s what New Yorkers are. They just get it done, somehow. It shouldn’t work, always one hand on the horn. But as car enthusiasts you grow up watching your parents drive, so you pick up skills.
AF: Yeah I got skills alright. I steer with my left hand, and smack my brothers in the back seat with my right hand.
How would you sum up the first series?
AF: I hope we get to do it again. Riding around Alaska with these idiots and messing around in a million dollars worth of cars and interview stars – I enjoyed all of it.
RW: If we can get people like Coleen who aren’t into cars and get them to have fun, we’ll have been a success.
TF: Just like the UK show, it’ll take us a few years to get everything settled, so I think we can only get better.