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Top Gear spends Christmas in the Middle East – Click above to view high-res image gallery

The three wise-asses-men of Top Gear were handed a new challenge for their 2010 holiday special: Travel 1,200 miles west to Bethlehem, driving through northern Iraq, Syria and a few other Middle Eastern countries and deliver gold, frankincense and myrrh to a newborn in a manger. Easy enough, right? But what vehicles to take?

The producers required each host to pic a compact convertible, so Clarkson went with the reasonable choice – a Mazda MX-5 Miata – featuring his "car of many colors" paint scheme. Just like Joseph. Hammond goes with a Fiat Barchetta fitted with a Bedouin tent while James May decides to go with something German and outfits a BMW Z3 for desert duty.

Their journey was filled with the typical Top Gear-tomfoolery including James May knocking himself unconscious. The entire escapade can be viewed online... for now, but in the meantime, check out all three vehicles in the gallery below.


Top Gear 2010 Christmas Special
  • Top Gear 2010 Christmas Special
  • Top Gear 2010 Christmas Special

  • Top Gear 2010 Christmas Special
  • Top Gear 2010 Christmas Special

  • Top Gear 2010 Christmas Special
  • Top Gear 2010 Christmas Special

  • Top Gear 2010 Christmas Special
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    Top Gear 2010 Christmas Special

  • Top Gear 2010 Christmas Special
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    Top Gear 2010 Christmas Special



[Source: Top Gear]
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FROM BETHLEHEM TO BEAULIEU MIDDLE EAST CHALLENGE CARS JOIN WORLD OF TOP GEAR LINE-UP
27/12/10

Fans of Top Gear can now see three new cars from The Three Wise Men Christmas Special, in the World of Top Gear exhibition at Beaulieu.

For the 2010 Top Gear Christmas Special, the show's producers sent presenters Jeremy, Richard and James on their most dangerous challenge to date; following the path of the three wise men, starting - rather worryingly - in Iraq and finishing some 1200 miles later, in Bethlehem. It was a journey of remarkable scenery, fascinating culture and a reasonable amount of massive scariness. It also did some terrible things to Richard Hammond's bottom.

Jeremy Clarkson's car of choice for this epic journey was a Mazda MX5. Special features include a unique 'car of many colours' paint job, evidence that the car was once fitted with an 'axle of evil' and holes in the bodywork left behind by Clarkson's rubbish 'bulletproofing' plan. Don't bother looking for the hookah pipe though - that fell off. If this car was running you might be able to hear if it was spluttering on three cylinders again. But it isn't so you can't.

James May's malfunctioning BMW Z3 had a cunning camouflage paint scheme, inspired by the work of the Africa Corps and the Luftwaffe. This car does not contain the frankincense James bought in Bethlehem but if you'd like to recreate that particular gift simply steal a small bottle of shampoo from a hotel.

Richard Hammond was pleasantly surprised by the reliability of his Fiat Barchetta although the missing 'buttock' didn't make for comfortable driving. Note the bits of actual desert carefully applied to the front of the car by smearing it in glue and then throwing sand at it, and the remnants of the Bedouin tent to the rear of the vehicle.

"We like to keep the exhibition as up to date as we possibly can and what could be better than for fans to see the show on TV and then the cars just a few days later," said Stephen Munn, Commercial Director at the National Motor Museum.

World of Top Gear features a collection of cars created by the presenters for some of their most ambitious challenges on the TV show over the years. Exhibition highlights include the Top Gear 'Enormodrome' which recreates the feel of the Top Gear studio, where the TV show is filmed in front of a live audience.

Regular features from the programme including the Cool Wall and the Celebrity 'Lap Times' boards are kept up to date in line with the show. Visitors can also watch behind-the-scenes footage of the T G production zone and clips of some of the best Top Gear moments.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 14 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      This was typical TG. But, not one of thier best IMO. May really should've known better than to stand where he did. I'm sure he hates seeing it on film. The surprise ending was great!
      • 4 Years Ago
      "each host to pic a compact "

      should be pick ;)
      • 4 Years Ago
      You know, a Z3 with some all-terrains and light bars looks surprisingly...right. Almost natural.

      As a side note, the guys who run 24 Hours of Lemons should start a 'Cheap Car Championship'-pick out a reasonably diverse (And fairly unplanned) route, give a budget and some stipulations to make the cars as hilariously unsuitable as possible (Within reason).
        • 4 Years Ago
        We do this a lot over here, me and my mates call it the 'Scum Ball Rally', pick up a old car for a few hundred pounds and drive it to various places in Europe!
        But some others go even further like deep into Russia or Africa with cars virtually ready for the crusher!
        Its a laugh and many, such as ourselves raise money for charities so worthwhile. In fact I have done many of the European routes the TG guys have done, some of those roads in the Swiss/French/Italian Alps are fantastic. Though I have been to Romania and driven on some of their roads the one I want to do is that one when they took 3 super cars (May had a racing DB9) on that Transylvania highway.
        You should get a few mates together, plan a route and just do it , its fun.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This was pretty intense bad-assery. I have to say, though, some of the detours they took (like going through the desert) seemed a bit unnecessary. Still hilarious and awesome.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Not being able to go into Iran, and going through the desert - I'm pretty sure - were planned.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think the ending of this episode goes down as one of the funniest moment in TG history.

      It's one of those "I didn't see that coming!" moment.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I've found the show entertaining, but what were the troubles with the gearbox on the Z3 about? Why didn't that tranny shift appropriately?
        • 4 Years Ago
        I think it was more a lack of power + ratios not suited to the output of the tired engine..... it was an automatic, afterall, and the engine did have headgasket issues early on.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I always wonder what Top Gear does with a lot of their cars after they're done with them. Some get to stay with them (OLIVER!) but what about the others?
        • 4 Years Ago
        I think they resell them.
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