The actual TGV12 ‘sports train’ from the latest series of the popular TV motoring programme has just pulled into the World of Top Gear Exhibition at Beaulieu. The ‘sports train’ was driven by Jeremy during Top Gear’s valiant attempt to reduce the cost of railway travel using innovative car-based rolling stock. The ‘locomotive’ is really little more than an old jag convertible with some different wheels and the ‘carriage’ is actually an old caravan with the top sawn off, some racing seats bolted to the floor and a massive spoiler on the back!
Yet, this simplicity is also the very genius of Clarkson’s creation and might explain why the TGV12 successfully completed a journey from very near Leicester all the way to the outskirts of Loughborough and, unlike the train created by Hammond and May, did so without catching fire or getting clobbered by a real train along the way. Strangely, none of the major rail networks have shown any interest in this innovative design which is why it’s at Beaulieu instead.
The World of Top Gear features a collection of cars, created by the presenters, for some of their most ambitious challenges on the TV show over the years. Exhibition highlights include the Top Gear ‘Enormodrome’ which recreates the feel of the Top Gear studio, where the TV show is filmed in front of a live audience.
Regular features from the programme including the Cool Wall and the Celebrity ‘Lap Times’ boards are kept up to date in line with the show. Visitors can also watch behind-the-scenes footage of the Top Gear production zone and clips of some of the best Top Gear moments.
World of Top Gear can be viewed as part of a visit to the whole Beaulieu attraction including the National Motor Museum with its collection of over 250 vehicles, the James Bond exhibition with genuine vehicles and memorabilia from the films, Palace House, home of the Montagu family since 1538 and the 13th century Beaulieu Abbey.
Beaulieu is open every day, except Christmas Day, from 10am. For more information telephone 01590 612345 or visit Treasure Houses of England