Lets be honest, when the American version of everyone’s favorite car show, Top Gear, debuted in November of 2010 it wasn’t the greatest. Other than having the famous Tanner Foust as one of the presenters, it didn’t have a whole lot going for it. Foust is considered to be one of the best drivers in America as both a Hollywood stunt driver and a professional race car driver with major sponsorship from Rockstar energy drinks, among many other top name brands. The other two presenters, Rutledge Wood was only known by NASCAR fans as one of the many commentators, and Adam Ferrara was a actor/stand up comedian that had roles TV series like Rescue Me and Nurse Jackie.
When the three started working together it was very obvious that it was their first time working together. At first they attempted to follow the format the British version had been so successful with, which seems like a safe bet right? Well as we are seeing now with the “new” Top Gear coming from across the pond, trying to recreate what Clarkson, Hammond, and May did is not an easy thing to do. If it’s even possible at all, that is.
Somewhere along the way people started to wise up and slowly the Americans began to create their own style focusing more on the film aspect of it. No more breaking away back to the studio to interview some random celebrity, instead they put the spotlight on the vehicles themselves. The main reason we as gearheads tune into these programs is to see the Equus Bass 770 getting sideways through a corner, or say the Koenigsegg One:1 doing the same thing. They set it up like the competition films you would see on the British TG (OK so maybe they copied some of the format) where the winner would get to drive a special vehicle like the Bass 770 or One:1. Conveniently Mr. Foust usually wins on those challenges. Who better to trust specialty vehicles costing more than most people will make in a life time than a professional driver?
Over the past few seasons I personally started to enjoy Top Gear USA, especially once Clarkson, Hammond, and May left the British version. That might have been the original problem, when compared to the show the trio put on, TG USA wasn’t very good. But now if you compared that to the current show put on by the obnoxious Chris Evans, I personally feel the American version was way more entertaining. Foust, Rutledge, and Ferrara had gelled as a group and really started working well together. Each presenter has their very own style and personality, similar to what made Clarkson, Hammond, and May so good. I hate to compare specifics but Foust reminds me of the Clarkson of the group, Ferrara the Hammond and Rutledge the captain slow.
Well it pains me to say this, but it was recently announced that The History Channel, that airs Top Gear USA, has cancelled the show. Rutledge Wood announced through Facebook that the show that aired last night was the final show. He did hint that it’s possible the show could air on another network so maybe this wont be the final ending of the show, or these three presenters. Do you have a favorite Top Gear USA moment? Leave a comment below.