Fresh from a colossal Kazakhstan road trip, two of the high mileage cars used and abused in the latest series of Top Gear are now on show at Beaulieu.
They may be battered and decrepit, but the Mercedes E-class driven by Matt LeBlanc and the Volvo V70 driven by Chris Harris have covered truly astronomical mileages, not to mention being tested by a punishing long-distance challenge for the world’s biggest motoring show.
Matt, Chris and Rory were tasked with buying three cars which had each clocked up mileages at least as far as the distance to the moon and back, at 480,000 miles. Rory Reid’s humble London taxi had covered 480,000 miles. Matt’s Mercedes, which had led a gruelling life as a German taxi, showed 800,000 kilometres on its clock which is almost half a million miles. Blowing them both away was Chris’ Volvo, which had survived more than 670,000 miles.
The presenters were then told to put their high-milers to the test on the wide open spaces of Kazakhstan, to prove that ordinary cars really are capable of interstellar mileages. Their mission was to clock up the greatest number of miles en route to the Baikonur Cosmodrome rocket launch site. As an incentive, only the winner would have the honour of driving into the spaceport to watch a rocket being launched into space.
The high-speed antics of Chris and Matt helped them to take indirect routes to the launch site, covering greater distances than a journey from A to B. However, Rory had a different plan, jacking up the back end of his London taxi and letting the engine turn the wheels without having to actually travel anywhere. These shenanigans ensured that Rory was the winner, with his victorious taxi mounted on a plinth at Baikonur Cosmodrome as a giant trophy.
The Volvo and Mercedes survived their ordeal and can now be seen by visitors to Beaulieu’s World of Top Gear, where they can enjoy cars from ambitious challenges throughout every era of the TV show. Eye-catching exhibits straight from Top Gear filming include stretch limousines which were built to carry stars to the glittering Brit Awards, the unforgettable Grannymobile and the roofless Reliant Rialtos from Chris Evans’ road trip challenge.
Beaulieu’s Enormodrome also recreates the feel of the Top Gear studio with the Celebrity ‘Lap Times’ board and behind-the-scenes footage and clips from some of the best Top Gear moments.
The World of Top Gear is included in a general admission ticket to Beaulieu which also offers entrance to the National Motor Museum and its collection of more than 250 vehicles, On Screen Cars, the 13th century Beaulieu Abbey, Palace House – which has been home to the Montagu family since 1538 – and its stunning grounds and gardens.
To book tickets in advance online or for more information see the Beaulieu website here or call 01590 612345.
Find us on Twitter @Beaulieu_Hants, on Facebook at /nationalmotormuseum or on Instagram @national_motor_museum and join the conversation.