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Ford Model T and Top Gear

Towards the end of July 2013 I was considering changing my 1923 Model T Ford for an earlier 1915 one. While I was lying on my back inspecting the chassis of the 1915 car, my mobile rang. I answered it to discover that it was a researcher from the Production Company that produces Top Gear, asking if I still had a Ford Model T and would I be prepared to take it to Monte Carlo for some filming for the TOP GEAR Christmas DVD this year

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Extricating myself from underneath I replied,' Yes, I do, tell me more'. I was asked if I could take my 'T' to Monte Carlo in ten days time and teach Richard Hammond how to drive it. They agreed to contact me the next day with full information.

An e-mail had winged its way over to me by the time I arrived home. The car would only be required in the City, not taken on a 'track' and Richard Hammond would be driving it with Jeremy Clarkson as passenger. I needed to be there on Saturday 3rd August for filming on Sunday and Monday morning. They would pay me expenses and supply accommodation and all meals for a co-driver and myself.

I agreed to prepare a quote for them and settled down to work out the logistics. Tow with Honda CRV, hire trailer, and arrange co-driver, ferry and Tag for the tolls that we expected all the way down. Working it out I realised that it would be a round trip, via Dover, (more ferries in case we missed one on our return) of 2000 miles.

My quote for expenses was accepted and on Friday the 2nd we set off with the ‘new/old' 1915 T in tow. Yes I had bought it - in a very rash moment!

Early hours of Saturday morning saw us (co-driver John Taylor) well on our way down. We tapped in to the Sat Nav, ‘Monte Carlo' but just North of Reims and it took us off the main road, thinking it was taking us around Reims and through some villages we calmly followed it into a Cemetery. .. yes, named ‘Monte Carlo'  After sorting that out and having a good laugh about it we carried on until we were south of Lyon where we came up behind a queue, probably as far as the coast!  YES - we had chosen Black Saturday, the worst day of the year in France when almost everyone goes on holiday on the same day. After waiting in a queue for three hours and only travelling six miles, we took the next available left turn and, after studying the map and the sat-nav, headed for the Central Massif above Nice. Anyone who knows this will remember it's a switchback ride!

We eventually arrived at the Hotel Novatel at 22.10 hours after an epic journey door to door of 28 hours. We were met by a Mr Fix it, Pascal, supplied by the production company, who could speak English and knew his way around.  He directed us to the Hotel Car park where we eventually parked the Car trailer and Model T five floors below street level. It was not without some problems like scraping the wall and damaging a barrier.

We slept till 8am, had a wonderful breakfast with the Film Crew and headed down to Hotel de Paris in Casino Square with the T.

Top Gear tem and Pete 

Meeting Richard and Jeremy was a pleasure. They are far friendlier than they appear to be on TV and make a good double act!
I spent twenty minutes driving around Monte Carlo with Richard as passenger, talking my way round as I drove the T.  When he felt ready we swapped over. We had an interesting fifteen minutes but, as you would expect, he mastered it very well.

The morning was taken up with filming in Casino Square and around the ‘race circuit' - remember it is in town and there was normal traffic about. Phew! Thank goodness - no high speed stuff!

Clarkson and HammondTop Gear filming John with Jeremy and Richard
By lunchtime they had finished filming for the day, we had a superb lunch which was provided. John and I then took the T on an afternoon of sightseeing around Monte Carlo including the Race Circuit itself. The City was full of Lamborghinis, Rolls Royces, Bugatties and anything else you care to think of - but all eyes were on the T with much waving and hooting and cameras flashing everywhere. The biggest problem was the temperature which was close to 40°, so by mid-afternoon, we were back in the Hotel catching up on some sleep.

In the evening we had to face up to the damage we had caused in the car park so, cap in hand and with the aid of our Mr Fix it who had been with us all the time, we moved the tow car and trailer to another car park near the Harbour side Tunnel (the one that features in the race).

We had an early start on Monday morning and had to place the T outside of the Hotel de Paris for a short sequence to be filmed.

Outside Hotel de Paris Clarkson and Hammond

At last we loaded the T on to the trailer, headed out to the motorway and drove to Calais at a steady 60, just making the 23.30 ferry. We eventually arrived home at 3.30 a.m. on Tuesday morning. All in all an interesting experience but the 2000 miles, ugh! Peter L Yeoman

 

Look out for the 'THE PERFECT ROAD TRIP'  Top Gear Christmas DVD( 2013) !!! watch the DVD below taken  at Monaco by persons unknown.in August 2013

View Jeremy Clarkson at Beaulieu with a Model T.     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOhlfIRvlvw

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