Throwback Thursday: Top Gear Tests the C6
The Brits got a lot right, and a lot wrong, about America’s sports car.
It’s hard to find people who don’t like old Top Gear. The British TV show made cars fun and exciting for everyone who watched it, and the combination of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May worked fantastically together as hosts.
This clip, however, makes it that much more difficult to love the show. Richard Hammond, the lone defender of American cars on the show, tests a then-new Corvette C6.
He’s got a lot to say about it, but the road test, and the studio segment where he’s joined by the famously cantankerous Jeremy Clarkson, prove just how little they know about America’s sports car.
Before we get to the truly bad stuff, we do have to give Top Gear a bit of credit: the interior materials, especially the plastics, were an understandable sore spot. Hammond incredulously quips, “Where are they getting them from? These are the people who land on Mars!”
Of course, tens of thousands of Corvette owners simply do not care. If the cheap materials used in the C6 helped it to whoop on its rivals for thousands of dollars less, that’s a trade-off we’re happy to make. We’re also quite happy that the interior of the C7 has moved upmarket, though.
One thing Hammond and Clarkson get wrong, though, is their dismissive attitude about the transverse fiberglass leaf spring used in the rear suspension. They compare it to an old-fashioned baby carriage, when nothing could be further from the truth. This, of course, was proven by the tremendous performance of the C6 Corvette on their test track, which, true to form, produced a stellar lap time rivaling and surpassing many of the Corvette’s more expensive competitors.
The fiberglass construction took a bit of verbal abuse as well. That’s an odd bit of nitpicking from the Brits, whose country was once home to dozens of independent sports car makers who built their dreams from fiberglass, with similar build quality (or worse).