150 mph was a speed once only accessible via sports cars as expensive as they were fragile. Nowadays, a mere $25K will buy you a new car that’ll crack a ton fifty. But how little can you spend to hit that same number? Rut, Adam and Tanner are tasked with finding out. And this time, the stakes are high – the winner of this cheap speed challenge gets a taste of the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse’s 1200 horsepower.
After cracking 150 mph in a new Mazdaspeed3, V6 Camaro and a turbo Buick Regal in the open plains of the Mojave Desert, our hosts show us their super low-dollar heroes. Adam pops out of a Banana-yellow ’95 Trans Am and Rut helms a sedate-looking ’94 Infiniti Q45. An unexpected choice considering the Q only ever went 145, but because he paid so little for it, there was cash left over for a 100 shot of nitrous oxide. While Rut and Adam showed up in RWD, V8-powered sleds, Tanner understeers to a stop in a front-wheel drive, turbocharged Saab 93 Viggen.
A series of challenges will see whether these old machines, and the hosts’ reflexes, are ready for big speeds. The first challenge – testing acceleration – pits the cars against a flaming arrow. If they beat the arrow to the finish line, they save prized personal possessions from a gasoline-soaked, fiery death.
The next challenge tests high-speed stability. Nothing like a three-wide race down a slalom course – with safety tyres mounted on all four corners – to expose flaws in vehicle balance and composure.
A moment’s distraction at 150 mph can spell death, so to assess our hosts ability to concentrate under pressure, Tanner, Rut and Adam are introduced to a handling course, a Perspex helmet and a dozen clawed, furry friends.
Finally, El Mirage dry lakebed, east of Los Angeles, serves up six straight miles of windblown hard pack where the hosts can attempt 150 mph. That’s a big number for 3 old cars– think they’ll get there?
Someone goes the fastest for the least amount of cash, and that lucky fellow gets to grasp the Austrian leather-wrapped steering wheel of the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse, the most powerful, most expensive, most orange, most mostest car in the land. Will we see the magic 200 mph number cracked on a public road?
To find out more you’ll have to tune in, American fans of the Top Gear USA. It’s on History this Tuesday at 9/8 central. You can see older episodes on the History Channel Top Gear site and get breaking news on the Top Gear USA Facebook Page. Let us know what you think!