20 years of Clarkson: two decades of wit and wisdom

Jeremy Clarkson wit and wisdom

Some of the best bits of Clarkson’s reviews are nothing to do with the car on test. Here is a selection of his finest putdowns — look out, Peugeot drivers

…motoring journalism

I began to read car magazines, all of which were useless. They told me how big the boot was and the precise dimensions of the rear seat, but all I wanted to know was whether, if I bought a Scirocco, it’d cause me to have more sex than if I bought a Golf. I decided that one day I’d write about cars in a new way.
September 21, 2008

…British cars
I’ve always felt that a British car is “traditional”. Everything from the Bristol to the Allegro Vanden Plas looked like a Spitfire from the outside and a Harvester pub on the inside. Lots of dark colours, lots of heavy wood and very little natural light. Given half a chance, the British car designer would fit an open fire instead of a heater, and some horse brasses.
April 18, 2004

…white van man
White van man drives fast because his boss will pay for repairs when he crashes. That’s why he never changes gear until the valves are coming through the bonnet.
January 17, 1999

…Peugeot drivers
Peugeots are invariably driven by someone who finds every single motoring event a complete surprise. “Oh my God, look. Those lights have  just gone RED!” “Holy cow. There’s another CAR!”
August 5, 2012

…Perodua Kelisa
Has a top speed of 88mph but takes so long to reach it that no one has ever lived long enough to verify the claim. Only three cylinders, the inside is tackier than Anthea Turner’s wedding and you don’t want to think what would happen if it bumped into a lamppost. Also, its name sounds like a disease
February 2, 2008

You remember that the last set of cupboards you made fell down, taking the area’s power supply with them, but you can’t for the life of you remember what it felt like or why. And so, many years later, with the court case settled and the village rebuilt, you think you ought to give it a go once more.
March 2, 2003

You may think the reason people spit at 4x4s these days has something to do with Greenland’s blanket of ice. It isn’t. It’s because you’re well off. And that’s not allowed.
February 12, 2006

I try not to look at pretty girls on bicycles because it is probably annoying to have half the population looking up your skirt and praying for a gust of wind. But it is not possible. I have just about trained my head to stay still but my eyes are controlled by testosterone, and as often as not I don’t see the lights turn green because they’ve swung around so far, I’m actually looking at my own frontal lobes.
August 12, 2012

…unsuitable cars
James May drives around in a Ferrari and I’m sorry but that’s as hysterical as the notion of Prince Philip turning up to open a community centre in a Mazda MX-5. With Jay-Z on the stereo.
October 14, 2012

…men in convertibles
If a grown man drives around with the top down, he looks like the central character in an advertisement for Viagra.
June 29, 2012

the EU
Why can’t we Europeans live together in peace and harmony? We have a common bond, so why can’t we have a common aim? I’d love to see the Portuguese and Irish and Swiss and Poles join up with the Scandinavians and the bigger powers like us and the Germans. And kick America’s head in.
June 10, 2001

I mean, who cares if your children’s nanny keeps setting fire to the house and leaving hypodermic needles in the bath? Just as long as she’s easy on the eye.
June 5, 2005

…Mini Clubman
About as desirable as a packet of dung or a can of worms. Truthfully? I’d rather have a goat.
December 23, 2007