Top Gear

Top Gear’s Scariest Moments: The Bolivian Death Road

In honor of Halloween next week, over the next few days we’ll be honoring some of the best/worst times Clarkson, Hammond and May got the jeans scared off them. Up first is one of their closest brushes with imminent doom: the Bolivian “Death Road,” known for its sheer drops and astronomical number of accidents.

This was part of the Bolivian Special, marking the first time the presenters ventured into South America (though they sparked considerably less controversy this time around than their subsequent voyage through Argentina). Jeremy chose a classic Land Rover, Hammond a Toyota Land Cruiser, and James a Suzuki SJ413 (which was both flat-tired and the wrong color). The trip down the Death Road is fraught with peril, plagued by insane taxi drivers, buses, and trucks, which, according to Jeremy, come up behind you doing “3.5 times the speed of sound.” Several bump starts are needed, and traffic is held up for quite a while as the Land Cruiser gets winched out of a ditch.

All three cars do end up making it across Bolivia with significant modifications, with the exception of James, whose Suzuki simply needs to be mended. Hammond’s Land Cruiser meets a grisly end, however, as it unceremoniously tips over on its massive tires and rolls down a colossal sand dune. At least he wasn’t planning on shipping that one home.

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