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'Top Gear' recap: American, and proud of it

December 13, 2010 |  8:53 am

Topgearep4-2Episode 4 got me wondering: Who has more testosterone coursing through his slender bod? Tanner Foust, who raced Ford's mega-beast F-150 Raptor through the Arizonan scrub, or his competitor, the unidentified HALO jumper, who bulleted downward through the clouds at 120 miles per hour?

Until Episode 4, Foust was pretty unrivaled in his machismo. But this unnamed military member was spectacular to watch as he jumped from 25,000 feet and tumbled through the air like a rag doll with a contrail exiting at his foot.

Perhaps it was because the opening segment was so cool that its follow-up seemed so mundane. First, the not-so-new Mercedes-Benz Gullwing has been covered to death. Second, I'm just tired of watching Adam Ferrara floor fancy-pants sports cars in a straight line.

Note to BBC Worldwide's producers: Get this man to Bondurant.

I will give Ferrara this. He's excellent on his feet. While much of "Top Gear's" colorful monologuery sounds like it could have been written by my former colleague, Dan Neil, and the show's stunning cinematography is often used to cover up for the driving inadequacies of two of its three hosts, Ferrara has a great sense of comedy.

I loved his narration of entering the Gullwing, which included "Sharon Stone" as a seating position. And his description of the SLS "running out of ass," when he talked about the car's unfinished rear end, was brilliant.

Now. About Kid Rock. Say what you will about his music, or his lifestyle, but I appreciated what he had to say about his hometown. I think he spoke for a lot of Americans who are waiting for the Big Three Detroit automakers to reclaim their past greatness and come up with innovative designs that speak to a new generation.

Like the Ford F-150 Raptor that opened the episode -- if it got better than 14ish mpg.

-- Susan Carpenter

Photo: Ford F-150 Raptor. Credit: History