Jeremy Clarkson was the host of BBC car show Top Gear for a whopping 22 seasons (2002 to 2015). Together with his co-hosts James May and Richard Hammond, the trio created plenty of memorable moments. Here are some of Clarkson’s best quotes from his Top Gear days.
Updated on June 5th, 2021 by Mark Birrell: Jeremy Clarkson’s best quotes from Top Gear were often about the cars that he was reviewing on the show but they were also sometimes catchphrases that he developed over the years. We’ve updated this list with some of each to remember not only their well-known career as a motoring journalist but also the comedy dynamic that he developed with his co-hosts, James May and Richard Hammond. Fans of Top Gear have come to remember and enjoy some of these Jeremy Clarkson quotes above all of the many others from the loquacious TV show host.
This perhaps Jeremy Clarkson’s most well-known catchphrase from across all of his time on Top Gear and beyond. His persona on the show was based predominantly around his love for speed and power, often shouting out the word “power” in an exuberant fashion.
Clarkson’s blind love of power would often get him into predicaments more than it got him out of them, with his foolhardy attempts to correct the situation with even more power often resulting in his more level-headed co-hosts having to come in and rescue him.
9 “The suspension is softer than the journalism in an in-flight magazine, and, of course, it reeks of cow. But I adore it because you can just sense that it wants to keep going.”
Top Gear‘s first special in the US saw hosts Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond take a road trip from Miami to New Orleans in three cars that they’d bought for $1000.
Clarkson’s Chevrolet Camaro encounters problems along the road, as second-hand cars in specials like these would often do, and they aren’t helped by a moment in which he transported a dead cow on its roof. But his final reflection on the Camaro highlights the presenter’s passion for cars, particularly if the machines in question have distinct and humanizing characteristics.
8 “Let’s not get bogged down with who did what to who.”
Another of Clarkson’s favorite lines from throughout Top Gear that he would take with him into his following role on The Grand Tour for Amazon, this line comes out typically when May and Hammond begin to argue over a particular point, often one that Clarkson has raised themselves.
Clarkson frequently uses the phrase, or some variation of it, to move along the show or just deflect from some obvious criticism of himself or his ideas. It rarely fails too.
7 “Every bone in their crotches. That’s what I’m gonna break.”
During Top Gear‘s “Patagonia Special” co-hosts James May and Richard Hammond decide to partake in one of the trio’s long-observed traditions of messing with one of their teammates’ cars during the night after stopping on a long journey.
May and Hammond decide that Clarkson’s car of choice, a Porsche 928, is too boring to look at compared to their cars and adorn it with deliberately ugly stickers and add-ons. Clarkson delivers another of his iconic and recurring lines when he sees the results.
6 “I’ve always said to my children that if they buy a bike I will burn it, and if they replace it with another one, I shall burn that too. Now, however, if they buy a bike, I will completely understand… and then I’ll burn it.”
Part of the reason that Clarkson became the popular figure in motoring journalism that he is today is that he would often give not only practical advice but relatable sentiments and reasoning too.
During Top Gear‘s “Vietnam Special”, the trio of Clarkson, May, and Hammond travel throughout the country on three bikes, putting Clarkson in particular well out of his element. He comes to appreciate the experience over the course of the adventure but his health and safety concerns as a father still take precedence, which even the most devout biking fans can respect.
5 “We get quite a lot of complaints that we don’t feature enough affordable cars on the show… So we’ll kick off tonight with the cheapest Ferrari of them all!”
As a presenter on Top Gear, Clarkson was well-known for poking fun at even his own audience and would seemingly respond to letters and requests in a similar way to how he would treat his co-hosts, even pranking the audience.
As provocative as he could sometimes seem, this playful attitude did a lot to make Top Gear fans feel included and was one of the many things that built such a devoted fanbase.
4 “Some say he lives in a tree, and that his sweat can be used to clean precious metals. All we know is… he’s called The Stig.”
One of the things that fans would often look forward to when Clarkson hosted Top Gear was how he’d introduce the mysterious in-house racing driver known as The Stig. This would happen just before The Stig was about to test the speed of a new car that the trio was reviewing.
The fact that Stig never showed his face made Clarkson introduce him using the weirdest of descriptions, much to the amusement of the crowd in the studio. He once said that The Stig has 50,000 photographs of his own camera among other things. This time he talked about his habitat and the amazing powers of his sweat.
3 “Whenever I’m suffering from insomnia, I just look at a picture of a Toyota Camry and I’m straight off.”
Clarkson never liked the Toyota Camry. He went as far as to suggest that it helps him deal with insomnia.
The Camry is one of the oldest cars that the company has produced and has been in existence since 1982. Older models might not have been pretty but new ones are unlikely to put Clarkson to sleep.
2 “Hold on, that’s the sound of a turbocharged flat-four engine… A sound which all over the world heralds the arrival of a moron.”
Subaru lovers were on Clarkson’s receiving end this time. During a Top Gear special filmed in the East African nation of Uganda, the three presenters were told to each get a car of their choice that they’d trust to take them through the country roads.
Richard Hammond arrived in a Subaru WRX and Clarkson was quick to make fun of him when he noticed the vehicle. Interestingly, the WRX came to his rescue by pulling him out of the mud when he was stuck. But Clarkson would rather roll on the mud than admit he was wrong.
1 “Koenigsegg are saying that the CCX is more comfortable. More comfortable than what… being stabbed?”
The Koenigsegg has proven to be a car that isn’t that reliable in movies. It turns out it isn’t reliable in real life too. After a previous model was deemed uncomfortable for drivers, Clarkson decided to test the newer Koenigsegg CCX.
Needless to say, Clarkson wasn’t impressed either and laid into it with one of his most blunt–but famous–quotes in a review of a car.
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