• Nov 15, 2010
Top Gear USA hosts Tanner Foust, Rutledge Wood and Adam Ferrara [Image: Jeremy Cowart]

Top Gear is something of an institution among the car-obsessive types who come to Autoblog to keep up with the comings and goings of the automotive world. So it seems fitting that we should all take time out of our busy schedules to talk about the upcoming American version of the hit British show that debuts on the History Channel next Sunday, November 21st, don't you think?

We had an impromptu phone call with the three hosts of the show, comedian Adam Ferrara, racing analyst Rutledge Wood and professional racer Tanner Foust, and managed to record the entire half-hour-long conversation. You'll have to wait until tomorrow when we release the next episode of the Autoblog Podcast (subscribe in iTunes so you don't miss it) to listen to the whole exchange, but in the meantime we've gone ahead and typed up some of the more interesting tidbits and nuggets of knowledge from our time with the Top Gear USA hosts.

Autoblog: What are your current dream cars?

Adam Ferrara: A current dream car for me... uh, a '57 Starfire Olds.

Tanner Foust: I've been lucky because I did another show where I got to drive exotics around... I drove a [Pagani] Zonda. And, ya know, it seemed a little gaudy over the top, but meeting Pagani, who's just completely an eccentric, brilliant, rich car fanatic and completely anal retentive, it all came together with the planets aligned and made this amazing Zonda.

Rutledge Wood: I'm gonna say a little bit combo dream garage... it would be the A Team van, obviously. The '86 Countach that I had a poster of when I was growing up... it was white.

AF: Yeah, Okay. Well, first of all, I didn't know we got more than one.

RW: The A Team van... I'm just saying, the three of us could just cruise around.

AF: But you didn't say you were going to share and now you're picking another one...

RW: Okay, I'm just sayin' that would be fine. And another one. Don't tell anyone else from the South I said it, but a Ferrari Enzo would be great.

AF: But if you want more than one, be honest. You want an '83 Civic wagon because I'm sure you need some more parts.

RW: [Laughs] When I'm done with it, it will be my daily driven dream car. So yes.

AF: I want a Grand National. Put the Grand National down.


And so we did. Buick Grand National for Adam, a Pagani Zonda for Tanner and, um, a 1983 Honda Civic wagon for Rutledge... or maybe a Ferrari Enzo. Or the A Team van.

Continue reading our questions and their answers after the break.

Autoblog: Why The History Channel? It doesn't seem like the obvious choice for Top Gear...

RW: I'll take this one. I think it's the perfect home for it. Their first they ever had was called Automobiles: Corvette. And if you look at how History is composed and the cool shows that they have... they're on this cutting edge of creating learning that's interactive and fun, and I think that's definitely what Top Gear is all about. I mean, you're learning stuff the whole time, even if you're laughing and thinking these three guys are total buffoons.

Autoblog: Has there been any segment ideas that History has said 'no' to?

AF: Um... the two things that I contributed they did... and I know, Tanner, was it your idea to go down a mountain in an Evo?

TF: I always wanted to do that. You know, I grew up in Colorado and as a skier drooling over thinking how cool this would be in a car or truck right now. And going to Mammoth on a powder day in a Mitsubishi Evo... was just epic. And then to have it recorded and documented was just sort of a bonus.


Autoblog: So, who's the fastest of the three of you around the track?

AF: I'd say it's got to be Tanner.

RW: Actually, I think it's Rutledge. I'm the secret bomber on the track. Tanner conforms to good practices and methodology on the racetrack, and I don't mind cutting some corners. Which is why I think I was fastest around the middle of the course.

AF: Tanner was giving me some tips about when to brake and when to come out of turns. And he said just look ahead at the track and you'll know how much to brake. Your survival instinct will tell you how much to apply the brake... but I'm not sure you have that.


Autoblog: Yeah, Adam, in the Lamborghini challenge you turned out to be the fastest. How much of that was due to the car and how much to your lack of a self-preservation instinct?

AF: I'd say most of it was the car... my lack of a self-preservation instinct was just kind of ancillary to the whole thing...

TF: In that episode, that challenge was just a straight line, which car can go fastest in a standing mile. And so there was an element of, you know, a fear factor. But in the other one where Adam was driving a Cadillac on the moonshine run, that's where you really see the fact that he... just has no self-preservation instinct. He had no real seat belt, had a motocross helmet on... and he jumped it, like 45 feet. You wouldn't even see that on a movie set.

AF: When I got out, Tanner Foust is standing there. And you know, this guy is a gold-medal-winning rally driver, he's a stunt driver. And his face was white. He just looked at me like, Dude, are you okay?


Autoblog: I think you bent the car in half, right?

TF: He banana'd the car! And I mean, this is a car that had been through Hell and back and didn't even have a scratch. I mean, this was a car made of iron. This thing was hard as a rock, I couldn't believe he bent it, shattered the windshield. It was so hilarious to watch... I can't believe you weren't just a pretzel inside the steering wheel after all that. It was awesome.

RW: And for the record, Jeremy, we didn't notice that our shirts were matching. Because I came down from breakfast that morning wearing that shirt. Tanner went out, didn't have enough clothes, bought another shirt... came back with that one. And no one said a word to us. So I just want to preface this by saying... We had no idea.


Autoblog: I'll make sure that gets passed on to our readers.


Rutledge, consider it done. Naturally, there's plenty more in our half-hour-long interview. But as we said, you'll just have to wait a wee bit longer for the entire audio session. In any case, we're definitely looking forward to November 21st, which is when the new Top Gear USA show is scheduled to debut on The History Channel.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 36 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      If that's "some of the more interesting tidbits and nuggets" from the interview I'd hate to read the not so interesting parts. /yawn
      • 4 Years Ago
      FAIL, please do not dilute the value of Top Gear with these buffoons.
      • 4 Years Ago
      One thing is TG UK hosts have a real passion for cars:

      Jeremy--anything British with a gas sucking V12 engine.
      Capt. Slow--a car that does it all (Luxo + speedster).
      Hamster--old school red necking and... Porsches.

      And all 3 have the thirst for the "perfect drive" and have the knowledge of the history of pretty much every cool auto that was made. And that's not including the comedy of blowing things up...

      The TG AU hosts had none of these. And for TG US I have to admit, is the same, the two shows picked "car" guys that are just popular in pop culture, not real "car guys" IMO. I think deep down, we know what the ending will be for the US show. Just root for its success, but it's a given...

      From the current TV landscape: Jerry Seinfeld, Paul Tracy, and Funkmaster Flex would have been a better trio. Really.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I have to give you a big up-vote. I want this show to succeed, but I agree that choice in hosts was a poor one. I hadn't thought about Seinfeld, but that would have been another good choice. One of the reasons I think UKTG works so well is cuz Clarkson is an ornery, old, car guy.

        Since I was a 15 year old at the tracks, the coolest guys there were always the old guys. Still are to this day. Younger guys had stories about trying to talk their gfs into engine swapping their civics. Old guys would talk about their experiences with some of the most random cars you've never heard of at 15.

        I just can't take a guy seriously whose first car was a civic or 240sx. I'm not saying they're bad cars, but we've all had one or the other. I want a guy who grew up with an Opel or MG and spent more time under the hood than on the road and still loved it. Those are the guys with knowledge to share.

        Like I said, I want the show to succeed, but I have next to no desire to watch it. :(
      • 4 Years Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Glad the shirt thing is cleared up.

      I was concerned.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This show shouldn't be called Top Gear and it should have started without all the hype that it doesn't deserve in the first place.

      The real Top Gear started as a normal show with humble people, they earned their success on their not by important a concept from another country and riding its wave of success hoping to cash in a few bucks.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hope the show succeeds.

      • 4 Years Ago
      I was skeptical too but I have a feeling that this show will work. I can't wait for it to start.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Just listened to the TG USA interview during my lunchtime workout. I really do wish these boys luck, but they have a high bar to clear. Granted, the format of the interview was clunky, and with little time to prepare, it came off OK but not great. Clips that I have seen have been bad combinations of Dukes of Hazzard and Jackass. Jeremy
      Clarkson must be cringing.
      • 4 Years Ago
      In the chance that these guys read these comments. I don't mind a few jibs at the south.....but its freaking 2010 for god's sake. We have the internet. We have foreign cars. We have auto-x. For all things holy please stop alienating a potential audience to serve an aging stereotype.

      It was getting old in the 90's
        • 4 Years Ago
        What did he say? I didn't understand his accent.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think they have the right chemistry. I was laughing so hard reading about that caddy jump. Can't wait to see the show now.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I got it set to record and Im looking forward to it, despite not being a fan of Tanners. If its half as entertaining as the UK version I will definitely continue watching it.
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