Last Friday saw Clarkson, Hammond, and May return to the screen for season three of The Grand Tour. The long-awaited episode took the infamous motoring presenters to Detroit for some hardcore muscle car action in the Motor City, featuring Clarkson in a Ford Mustang, May in a Chevrolet Camaro, and Hammond seated once again in a Dodge Challenger.
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None were exactly stock, however. The Mustang was tuned courtesy of RTR to make 700 bhp, and everyone is familiar with the Challenger SRT Demon which makes 840 bhp thanks to the optional ECU upgrade available from the factory. May’s Camaro came from the halls of Hennessey, and if you haven’t heard of The Exorcist, the infamous Texas tuner designed it to kill Demons with no less than 1,000 bhp. It’s safe to say many tyres were killed in the making of this film.
And for us, long-awaited has a very special meaning in this case. We were actually there during filming, or rather, The Grand Tour came to us. Part of the first episode was filmed at the ruins of the famous Packard plant on East Grand Boulevard – the location of Motor1.com’s former Detroit office. That was last June, so yeah, it’s been a while since we saw at least some of the antics go down in person.
This particular portion of the episode, however, wasn’t in our vicinity. The “empty Detroit street” in this instance is Grand River Avenue, just a few miles west of the Packard plant and a couple miles from downtown. Despite what the video suggests we can say from personal experience that Grand River usually isn’t quite so devoid of traffic, but for filming purposes, we suspect it’s much easier to close a stretch of this road as opposed to something over on Woodward – the world-famous 21-mile stretch of tarmac that was the cruising and stoplight-to-stoplight drag racing capital of the world through the 1960s.
As for the racing action, you’ll notice only Clarkson and May duelling it out on the street. In the episode, the presenters said Dodge wouldn’t allow Hammond to race the Demon on the street, even though the conditions were obviously controlled and access was closed. Honestly, we don’t know if it was just a gimmick for the episode or not, because Hammond’s Demon does take on May and the Camaro later in the episode, albeit at an airfield.
As for the Mustang-versus-Camaro action, we’ll leave the outcome to this YouTube clip. The entire first episode is now available on Amazon Prime.
Source: The Grand Tour via YouTube