Series 01, Episode 03 - “SUV Interior Design Challenge"

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Series 01, Episode 03 - “SUV Interior Design Challenge"

Post by Kiskaloo on Sat 17 Apr 2010 - 19:15

rusty-spring and I have been working some of our old Top Gear chat ideas into stories, so we present to you the third installment:

For those who prefer to read it offline, Episode 03: SUV Interior Design Challenge.


[Black screen splits into three horizontal video streams stacked atop each other as the Top Gear theme song, “Jessica”, starts.

The top frame is a panning shot of a black Aston Martin DB9, a yellow first generation Chevrolet Camaro Z28 and a Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evoluzione II crossing a low, stone bridge lined with trees. The middle frame is a look-down helicopter shot of a white Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4 Spyder with the top down driving along a cliff road. The bottom frame is a close-up of the wheel of a Ferrari Daytona.

The top and bottom frame slide off to screen-left, while the bottom frame slides screen-right. Three light blue frames slide in from screen left, with the outline of a woman’s boot pressing down on a gas pedal, followed by three successive jump cuts of black outlines of three girls superimposed over three video frames:

Kara Michelle Deleroux

Fleda Claes Johansson

Laine Penny Brussard

[i] [As the music builds to a crescendo, the Top Gear logo, in two horizontal parts, slides in from the right, pauses, and then slides off to the left, replaced by a four-part screen with the Gallardo, the Corolla, the Camaro and the DB9 which then jumps to the spinning gear shrinking and “Top Gear Italy” sliding into place as a crowd applauds.]

[i] [Scene opens at a beautiful Italian villa. The camera pans across a collection of beautiful Italian automobiles.]

[Voiceover by Kara:]

“Pininfarina. Giugiaro. Bertone. Gandini. Fioravanti. Scaglietti. Zagato. Ghia. Italy has been blessed with some of the finest automobile exterior designers in history. Their work could legitimately hold court in the Louvre or Uffizi.

“But what of the interior?”

[Cut shots of the interiors of various Ferraris, Alfas, Maseratis and Lamborghinis parade past the screen.]

“Of course, Italian cars are known for the quality of their leather and rich woods, though now carbon fiber and aluminum are the new standards…”

[Kara makes a sour face.]

“…however, compared to the amazing furnishings inside the villa behind me, even a Maserati’s interior looks a bit ‘low-rent’.

“Which brings me to this.”

[Camera continues to pan, stopping at a black Cadillac Escalade EXT. Sound effect of a needle being dragged across a record.]

“This is a Cadillac Escalade EXT and I dare you to find a more vulgar example of modern automotive excess on the roads today. It’s over five and a half meters in length, just over two meters wide, just under two meters tall and weighs three tons under the American measurement system, requiring a 6.2 liter V8 engine generating 257kW and 515N•m of torque to move.”

[Kara walks into camera, wearing a denim short-sleeve mini jacket over a black dress that falls midway to her knees and black knee-high leather boots. She opens the driver’s side door and climbs inside via the power-adjustable running boards. Jump shot to a passenger-seat camera aimed at Kara.]

“The interior is covered in acres of dark leather, dark carpet and dark woods with the only respite this splash of aluminum across the dash. Speaking of the dash, it’s festooned with tiny black buttons with tiny white script. It’s truly hideous. And it costs well north of €100.000.”

[She closes the driver’s side door and starts the truck.]

“It’s size, however, is an advantage for what we have planned today. We’re going to take a page from Jeremy Clarkson, but instead of turning a Mercedes S Class into ‘Anne Hathaway’s Cottage’, we’re going to turn this Escalade into an Italian villa.”

[Kara’s right leg flexes as she presses down hard on the throttle and the camera shakes as the torque kicks in. Jump shot to outside looking at the back of the Escalade as it motors off with a loud rumble.

Fade cut to Kara pulling in front of Michele’s apartment in Milan. The Escalade takes up two parking spots. Kara opens the driver’s door, turns 90 degrees in the seat so she’s facing out, and jumps with a “Geronimo!”

Laine steps into camera view, dressed like a rapper and, unlike Kara, actually looking appropriate next to the Escalade.]

“You looked like a paratrooper. They sure grow them big in America, don’t they?”

“Have fun with her.”

[Kara hands Laine the keys.]

“I’ll see you back at the Top Gear Italy Technology Center.”

[A mirage on the road fills the frame as the black vehicle rolls onto the tarmac. The throaty rumble V8 engine overpowers any other sound in the area. The camera cuts to Laine in the driver's seat.]

“Before I start this track test in earnest, allow me to begin with this. This vehicle is big.”

[She pauses for a beat.]

“And I don't just mean “big” big. I’m talking “that's not a moon” big. In fact, I'm positive that I could fit four members of the Italian Brass Harmonic into the crew cabin, WITH instruments, and not so much notice that they're here.”

[Camera pulls out a bit from the drivers seat to show four men in tuxedoes crammed into the interior. Two have trumpets, one has a trombone, and one unlucky fellow has a tuba. Despite Laine's claims, they look uncomfortable and cramped with the added bulk of their instruments.]

“So that is exactly what I did. Everyone seated and ready?”

[Stuffed affirmations come from the musicians.]


[Laine begins to apply a bit more throttle as the EXT rounds a bend.]

“Now, not only am I demonstrating the carrying capacity of this vehicle, I also planned this gathering for some live driving music.”

[She looks over at the man in the passenger seat.]

“If you would begin please.”

[With some difficulty, the men begin to play the “Spanish Flea” arranged by Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass. Laine begins her performance tests.]

“Now as my wonderful co-presenter mentioned before, this truck has a 6.2 L V8. It outputs more than 400 HP and ft.-lb of torque.”

[Comically, the Spanish Flea continues to play as Laine taps her fingers on the steering wheel and yanks the wheel to navigate around a chicane.]

“You may think that sounds like a lot, but you have to remember – the EXT weighs over two-and-a-half tons.”

[Laine turns a tight corner, and the EXT makes a sloppy and horrendously wide turn. Inside, the lead trumpet player lets loose a spitting note as he gets jerked into the passenger side door.]

“The effect on performance is like putting an elephant in a mine cart with an F1 engine.”

[The Cadillac spits out a cloud of dirt as it enters the grass and barely regains the road. The band continues to play, though now their hair is obviously tousled and their instruments dented.]

“The one saving grace is the four-wheel-drive. Without it, right now we'd all be in the ditch with trumpets lodged into our ars-.”

[Laine catches herself and clears her throat. The musicians continue to play in vain, as turn after turn Laine punishes the giant truck around the track. The tuba player has knocked himself out on the bell of his horn. Finally, Laine brings the EXT to a halt and she hops out.]

“Allow me to get down to brass tacks. If you're looking for the automotive equivalent of Caligula, then look no further. It's decadent, indefensibly vulgar, and a whole lot of fun to bring to margarita parties.”

[She looks behind herself to see the two trumpeters carrying the tuba player away in a gurney, while the trombone player is icing his forehead.]

“You can even bring the band.”

[Fade cut to the Top Gear Technology Center. The Escalade EXT is parked in a large automobile workshop and both Laine and Kara have exchanged their previous outfits for denim mechanics overalls and work boots. Voiceover by Laine.]

“Our first job was to strip the interior of the Escalade. For that, we hired a bunch of cute guys.”

[Laine and Kara stand back as a dozen guys swarm over the vehicle, removing the seats, the center console running between the front seats, and the interior trim pieces and carpeting. When they are done, the vehicle interior is stripped mostly to bare metal, with the dashboard the only part remaining. Kara walks forward while Laine flirts with the workers near the espresso maker.]

“One of the defining features of the Escalade EXT is what Cadillac calls the ‘mid-gate’, which divides the aft passenger cabin from the load bed. The rear window is removable and you can then lower the gate, which provides a fully flat floor almost three meters in length. We will use this as the canvas for our idea.”

[Screen goes black and a title “A great deal of time later” appears. Fade-in of Kara and Laine standing before a sliding aircraft hangar door. Kara is now dressed in a white short-sleeve sweater and a dark blue pleated miniskirt with black leather knee-high boots. Laine is wearing a pair of distressed jeans, white blouse and a lightwash leather jacket.]

“It took a bit longer than we expected, but in the end, we’re very pleased with how it came out.”

[Kara nods to Laine and the doors open, revealing the Cadillac Escalade EXT inside in front-quarter profile. At first glance, it doesn’t look very different. Camera focuses on Kara.]

“You’re probably telling yourself that it doesn’t look very different, and from the front or forward quarter views, you’d be right. However, as we walk around the back…”

[Camera follows Laine and Kara to the back, where Laine lowers the tailgate and the two girls climb aboard.]

“As you can see, we’ve turned the back into a lovely terrace where one can relax and enjoy the sun to the sound of running water.”

[Camera closes in and examines the rear bed. The plastic bed liner has been replaced with paving bricks on the floor and red stucco covering the sidewalls. The plastic “flying buttresses” and surround that capped the original bed have been removed and replaced with white sandstone. A small two-tier fountain sits in the corner, water bubbling from the top to cascade down the sides to a larger catch basin where it was recycled. Across the bed sat two wrought-iron chairs with luxurious seating pillows arranged on either side of wrought-iron table with a glass top. Laine takes one of the chairs.]

“Thanks to the ‘midgate’, we now have direct and unhindered access between the terrace and the interior of the vehicle, though transiting between them can be a bit inelegant.”

[Kara and Laine both get down on their hands and knees and start forward, Kara first.]

“I see England. I see France. I see Kara’s-”

“Not funny!”

[Once the girls are in the aft passenger compartment, the camera follows them in. Laine is resting on her knees, while Kara is sitting in a plush wingback chair covered in orange-dyed crocodile leather.]

“We’ve sealed the rear passenger doors and covered them and the roofline with beautiful frescoes and added a nice chandelier to provide natural light. For convenience, we chose the secco method and applied the pigments on dry intonaco using egg tempera. For inspiration, we drew from the works of Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Perugino, Masaccio and others. In addition to the frescoes, we hung fine tapestries, which can be drawn across the rear windows for privacy and can also be used to separate the passenger cabin from the terrace.”

“Since a car is not a house, we needed custom-built furniture and for that we went to PROVASI. Considered the Rolls-Royce of Italian furniture, their pieces reside in the Papal Offices, the Quirinal Palace and the Palazzo Chigi, as well as the finest hotels and restaurants in Rome and Milan.”

“To complement the brickwork on the terrace, we chose to cover the aft cabin floor in a marble rosette. It’s a bit softer on the knees than the brick, but I expect most people will instead choose to sit on this lovely purple leather chaise. We also replaced the carpeting up front with a beautiful Renaissance-era pile. We decided to keep the driver’s seat for safety and comfort reasons, though we recovered it in rich burgundy leather. We have removed the passenger seat to allow access to and from the passenger compartment.”

“Now that we’re done, we need to see how it works. We considered handing it over to our tame racing driver, but she’s rather partial to the Scandanavian Flick and well, we were afraid that might not go well. Therefore, we’re going to perform the test, but to make sure we’re not accused of bias, we’ve left the final judgment in the hands of an independent adjudicator.”

[Jump cut to the terrace, where Claes is sitting in one of the wrought-iron chairs wearing a black t-shirt, denim miniskirt, leggings and black loafers. In her hand is the book Tosca.]

“Let’s get this show started. I have a paper due for Mr. Hilshire.”

[Laine moves forward and settles into the driver’s seat, which is now accessible thanks to the lack of center console. The black plastic trip is now covered in the same burgundy leather as the driver’s seat and the aluminum strip replaced with a marble laminate. The controls remain the same white text on matte black, but the surrounding ruby burl wood had been swapped for zebrawood in ebony, which better matched.]

“Now when we started, this vehicle weighed over 2700 kilograms. Even so, the stock engine could get it to 100 kilometers an hour from a standing start, which is frankly amazing. We’re not sure how much weight we’ve added, but brick isn’t light. To that end, we contacted Lingenfelter Performance Engineering of Decatur, Indiana to see what they might have on offer. They suggested a twin-turbo 7-liter motor from the Corvette Le Mans program, putting out 700 brake horsepower and just over 1000 Metric torques. Even though the package cost as much as the base truck, 700 horsepower sounded good to me so we ordered the parts and had our friend Allison bolt them in.”

[Laine starts the truck and revs the engine hard. It sounds like the Apocalypse is about to descend upon them. She shifts into Drive and hammers the throttle. The entire chassis shuddering as it launches forward, crabbing to the left as the tires worked to gain traction. On the terrace, the water in fountain sloshes back, splashing over onto the brick. Claes’ seat tips over on its side, forcing Claes to hastily counter-lean to right it.]

“Even with all the weight we’ve added, the extra 300 horsepower certainly seems to be enough to overcome it. 100 kilometers an hour arrived in some four seconds and even with the C/D of Saint Peter’s Basilica, keep your foot down and it just keeps charging forward.”

[Camera shot of the instruments as Laine keeps her foot down. The speedometer rapidly winds all the way to the right as the center information display shows a speed of 170km/h attained in 25 seconds. ]

[Jump cut to the back. As the truck accelerates, the wind noise and buffeting on the terrace picks up. The water exiting the top of the fountain is now spraying back in Claes’ face, and she raises the book to deflect it. Jump cut to Laine.]

“In 45 seconds I’ve gone from a standing start to over 200km/h. Now let’s see how it does in the twisty-bits.”

[Laine lifts and taps the brakes to prepare to enter a steady-state right-hander, which tests how well-balanced the truck was as it loaded up the outside tires. Laine deftly uses her right foot to meter in the power to keep the tires right at the grip of adhesion. On the chaise, Kara rolls up against the side of the vehicle.]


“The suspension updates have improved the grip levels and the stability of the car, but you’re always aware you’re driving a vehicle almost two meters tall.”

[The Escalade now approaches a hard left-right turn designed to exacerbate any understeer – which the Escalade has plenty of. Laine cranks the wheel over hard, causing the truck to sharply tilt to the left, pitching Kara out of the chaise and onto the marble floor in a scramble of arms and legs. A triangle of white silk flashes across the screen as Kara tumbles by. On the terrace, the fountain has disgorged most of its contents across the bricks, lubricating the wrought-iron furniture, which skates back and forth.]

“Good thing we kept the driver’s seat in!”

[As Laine cranks over for the exit of the turn, the chandelier swings back, smacking Laine on the back of the head. She settles the truck on the straight and shoves her foot to the floor to launch the truck down the three-kilometer runway. In back, Claes scrambles forward into the cabin, soaking wet.]

“So…what do you think so far?”

[The truck charges forward, eventually reaching the artificial speed limiter as Laine keeps her foot pinned to the firewall.]

“Brace for deceleration!”

[Kara launches herself into the orange wingback while Claes clambers onto the chaise. Both girls apply death grips.]

“Hit the brakes, Laine!”

“I am!”

“We’re not stopping!”

“I know!”

[Jump cut to outside where all four ceramic rotors are glowing cherry red as the Escalade lumbers off the end of the runway and onto the grass. Jump cut back inside, where Laine is wiping her brow.]

“Good thing this truck has all-wheel drive.”

[Laine makes a very wide turn, the four wheels spinning as they gain and break traction, shooting huge rooster-tails of mud into the air, some of which falls back onto the terrace. The vehicle starts to bog down and Laine applies heavy throttle, which just digs the wheels in deeper.]

“Well, that’s not gone well.”

“Nicely done, Laine.”

“I think I smell something burning.”

“It’s probably either the brakes or the drive-line.”

[Fade cut to a military tracked vehicle appearing and attaching a tow-line to the Escalade, dragging it back out onto the tarmac. Jump cut to the Escalade back in front of the hangar. Claes is on the terrace, now wearing Kara’s boots as she stands in a large puddle. Kara is sitting on one of the wrought iron chairs, her bare feet propped over the top of the side of the bed. Laine is on the ground, leaning against the open bed tailgate.]

“So, ignoring that little bit at the end, what is your verdict?”

“It’s rubbish.”

“You have to admit it was ambitious.”

“It’s rubbish.”

“Everybody’s a critic. I mean it could be worse.”

“How do you think that?”

“We could have left it stock.”

[Laine high-fives Kara.]

“And on that bombshell, it’s time to end. Thank you very much for downloading and watching us. See you next time!”

[Run credits.]

Last edited by Kiskaloo on Mon 11 Jul 2011 - 11:52; edited 4 times in total


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Re: Series 01, Episode 03 - “SUV Interior Design Challenge"

Post by rusty-spring on Sat 17 Apr 2010 - 19:35

@Kiskaloo wrote:Episode 03: SUV Interior Design Challenge.
Epic. It's as fun to read as it is helping to brainstorm.


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Re: Series 01, Episode 03 - “SUV Interior Design Challenge"

Post by MP5 on Sat 17 Apr 2010 - 21:43

Nicely done! And since an "EXT" Type vehicle was used, this gives me an idea:

Australian V8 Ute Flag Football.


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Re: Series 01, Episode 03 - “SUV Interior Design Challenge"

Post by boomer_gonz on Sun 18 Apr 2010 - 3:18

ROTFL x 9000...dammit!!

When Laine (tried) to brake is where I lost it. Very well done.

And now...the (probable) aftermath:

The Escalade EXT is sitting on a flatbed lorry outside of Alpha's garage within his compound. For a few long minutes Alpha just stares at it in silence while Michele stands next to him.

MIchele: Just...just tell me that you can sell it.
Alpha: I...I...I've worked miracles for you and Kara before Michele, but this time. I mean selling American exotics is one thing getting a hold of other exotics is another.
Michele: Can you sell it or not?
Alpha; ...I don't know Michele, I ain't Jesus.


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Series 01, Episode 03 - “SUV Interior Design Challenge"

Post by ElfenMagix on Sun 18 Apr 2010 - 10:34

Fernando: I think Jesus has nothing to do with this. Are your girls dating Lucifer or something?!!


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Re: Series 01, Episode 03 - “SUV Interior Design Challenge"

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