There were a lot of things to love about the 1980's. Movies with Andrew McCarthy in them. Some of the music wasn't that bad. But the cars? Well, our Top Gear heroes are spending this week trying to prove that the cars were okay, too.
Given $5,000 to pick their ride of choice, the guys meet at a mall outside of Los Angeles for their usual "series of challenges leading to an ultimate winner" escapade. Rutledge turns up in a supercharged Toyota MR2, while Adam arrives in a Buick Grand National, and Tanner has the keys to such a Tanner-esque car: a bright red Chevy Camaro IROC-Z. Tanner thinks he notices Erik Estrada of CHIPs fame lurking around, and he's right, but isn't entirely sure.
Besides, he's got other stuff on his mind: can the guys get their cars through a car wash while covered in Pop Rocks? (Yeah, this really is an 80's episode.) An entire side of Tanner's T-top roof comes off in mid-wash, leading him to look pretty ridiculous. Adam gets the elevator music for his trip through, since he's got a one-piece roof and door locks to make this an uneventful happening. While Rutledge goes to the bathroom, the other two dudes throw candy in his car and loosen his roof, resulting in a complete disaster for the bearded one. The lesson learned: never turn your back on your car when you're in competition.
On the way to their second stop, the guys drive by Gallagher, who's in the middle of smashing another batch of watermelons. Then they make their way out to parts unknown to see which vehicle can hit closest to its original top speed. Adam proves that he's so good at his day job that he can even make a lack of scenery funny.
Adam: We're in the middle of nowhere. What are we doing here, dumping a dead witness?
Rutledge wants to reach 130 MPH in his newly redecorated MR2, but only gets up to 100. Tanner takes his sweet time getting started, but is able to push past Rut at a top speed of 116 MPH (technically 110 because he missed the flag), and of course has to celebrate by going across the start/finish line sideways.
After yet more jokes about Adam getting himself killed, the Grand National gets pushed too hard and makes noises that it's not supposed to make. He announces that there's been a "slight explosion," and when the other two come over to help him out, they discover a few aftermarket parts under the Buick's hood, prompting Rutledge and Tanner to leave Adam to fend for himself.
The third challenge takes place at Willow Springs International Raceway, the training ground for such cool things as the Need For Speed movie (which - fast fact - Tanner was one of the stunt drivers on) and the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race. Each of our remaining drivers have to take on a road course while chaperoning someone doing an "iconic" 80's task.
Tanner realizes the smart guy he's with already knows how to solve a Rubik's Cube blindfolded, so he tries to buy himself some extra time by throwing the cube into the back seat. Rut, meanwhile, is trying to distract his passenger from fixing her cassette tape (remember those?) by talking her ear off. Tanner has chosen poorly, handing Rutledge the win and leaving them essentially tied going into their last event - which is to be judged by an unknown celebrity who's holding the keys to a Ferrari F12.
But first! Adam has somehow resurfaced at the final stop, calling his Grand National "fixed-ish," and wanting back into the competition. He and his colleagues are tasked with impressing Lou "The Incredible Hulk" Ferrigno in what amounts to a car sumo wrestling tournament. Tanner and Adam both handily beat Rutledge, setting up a showdown between The Driver and The Wrecker.
Tanner's screams of denial can be heard in the next zip code as Adam's injured Buick pushes him out of the ring. But he still wins, because Adam cheated and because there's that seemingly unwritten rule that Tanner gets almost every prize having to do with driving an expensive supercar - possibly because he's the professional and the guy who can ensure these things are pushed to their absolute limits. Plus, if you gave it to Adam, he might break it.
So we learn that the Ferrari is worth all the hype it's been given through the entire episode - but mostly, we learned that on Top Gear, cheating is okay only as long as you don't get caught.
Season four of Top Gear continues next Tuesday at 9 PM ET/PT on History. If you missed them, check out today's brand-new chat with Adam Ferrara and Tanner Foust, and our exclusive preview of the season.