A collection of his magazine columns…
I’ve read “Clarkson; The Top Gear Years”, a couple of times. Not because I think I’ve missed anything, but rather a chance to have some real laughs, which isn’t always easy in today’s world. It’s understandable if you are unfamiliar with the book, first published in 2012, as the book is a collection of some of his magazine columns.
In it, Clarkson dissects, as he sees it, some of the world’s automotive jetsam and flotsam, what did work, didn’t work, and stuff he holds in utter contempt, mostly regarding the automobile, though often on people and places he finds offensive.
There was a strange letter in last month’s magazine. It was from a twenty-one year-old girl who couldn’t understand why her love affair with cars was such a turn-off for men. Well trust me on this, love, it’s not a turn-off for me. There is nothing to warm the cockles of my tumesecence more than the sight of a girl in a serious car. Emma Parker-Bowles, for instance, has a Mitsubishi EVO Vlll, and the thought of that, honestly, keeps me awake at night. Just yesterday, I saw a middle-aged housewife in rural clothes screaming down the M40 in a Lotus Elise. I nearly grew a third leg. And when I heard that Kate Moss had bought and old pagoda roof Mercedes SL, I had to go for a lie down.
Don’t buy this book for his mechanical insights into what he’s thought of lifters and cam shafts and such on the cars, motorcycles or other machines he’s put through their paces. His is not the intricacies of an engineer. Instead, you get his real world take on why something was built, if it does what it’s supposed to do, and either heaps effusive praise or pronounces it to be absolute shit. There is seldom any in-between. And it’s how he gets to that final determination that makes this book a truly great read.
His is teenage humor meets decades of automotive experience. Classes are taught on his writing style, people retell his jokes, and I frankly, can’t get enough of JC, either in print or on TV.
Readable though now dated, available on Amazon, car friends shelves, or a dust bin at the local library, the “Top Gear Years”, is pure entertainment.