It isn’t the only television car show, but Top Gear is the program many others have copied. The BBC show is watched weekly by an estimated 350 million viewers in 170 countries.
It’s so popular even 60 Minutes, the CBS news program monolith, took notice last fall and put one of its anchor, Steve Kroft, on the story. He rode “shotgun” with one of the race-car drivers from the show, the masked Stig.
As CBS first reported, the program, still unheralded in the United States, ” . . is not really about cars. It’s about the adventures of its three clever hosts who travel the world conducting elaborate automotive experiments and competitions that push the boundaries of television. It’s part reality show, part Monty Python.”
When the segment was first broadcast, Kroft and his “60 Minutes” team interviewed the program’s hosts and producers at their studio, a hangar at an old R.A.F. airfield outside London.
What they brought back was a “60 Minutes” story that left an array of irresistible outtakes on the cutting room floor. In the video below from ,”60 Minutes Overtime” the best material that didn’t make the broadcast, starting with episode in which “Top Gear” straps an old Reliant to a rocket.
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Article Last Updated: August 14, 2011.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.