"Every morning, I'd make a 7,000-pound call to the lawyer with an idea, and every afternoon I'd get a 7,000-pound reply saying the name was already in use by someone in New Zealand or France or Ukraine. Prime Torque. Autonation. Skid Mark," Clarkson wrote. "Everything was a no-no."
Clarkson's no stranger to hyperbole – we doubt Amazon is dropping tens and tens of thousands of dollars on a title for the show – but it sounds like the team is hitting roadblocks in its search for something catchier than #TheStillVeryMuchUntitledClarksonHammondMayAmazonPrimeShowComingAutumn2016.
From Clarkson's column, the BBC's intellectual property is a big problem.
"In short, the BBC not only owns the rights to the Stig and the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car and the Cool Wall, but also to any name that is remotely similar to Top Gear," Clarkson said, which explains why Gear Knobs didn't work out. "We tried explaining there's a show called 'Fifth Gear' that doesn't belong to the BBC but it was no good."
"Arguing with a lawyer costs more money than we had, so we hurriedly put the phone down and went back to the drawing board."
And even if the team can come up with a title "that isn't in use by any business anywhere in the world and doesn't even sound or look like any name that's in use by any business anywhere in the world," he explains that lawyers aren't the only ones to placate. According to the column, the show's name must be "liked by me, our producer, Hammond, Eeyore (which we're guessing means James May) and a billionaire in Seattle."
The Amazon team has time to sort this out – the preliminary air date is still fall 2016 – but with so many hoops to jump through, Clarkson's column gives the impression that the clock is ticking.