Top Gear America Returns With New Hosts. Here’s Their Backstory

The newest season of Top Gear is 2 episodes old, I have to admit I am rather enjoying it. Chris Harris, Matt Le Blanc and Rory Reid are coming into their own as presenters. They no longer have the whatever he was in the form of Chris Evans holding them back and its starting to show. They aren’t there yet but given enough time I think this trio could be something quite entertaining.

But what do I know, I thought the same thing about Top Gear America’s cast. I sincerely thought Tanner Faust, Rutledge Wood and Adam Ferrara had found their way, their own spin on Top Gear. Unfortunately for me and anyone else who enjoyed that show, it wasn’t enough as History Channel canceled the series.

Upon cancellation the 3 Americans left their future together open-ended like they would return in some form. So when sifting through the news today I came across a headline reading “Top Gear America To Return Later This Year” I got a little stoaked. I think Tanner, Rutledge and Adam had some unfinished business to attend to and I was interested to see how they were going to get their chance.

Sadly as I read on it would not be those three who would be carrying the American flag for Top Gear but rather 3 new hosts. 1 of whom isn’t even American. I guess since one of us invaded their little British show they saw it fit to allow one of theirs to invade our show. That said Tom Ford does have experience in the business. He hosted Fifth Gear from 2007-2010.

Having experience helps but it is not the be all end all to Top Gear success. The Readheaded one had plenty of broadcast experience and he was absolutely dreadful. Having said that having watched Ford on Fifth Gear I think he is a good fit. I think he is capable of melding with multiple personalities in order to have a good on scree rapport.

The second new presenter is Top Fuel ace Antron Brown. Brown who most importantly is a native of my fair state of New Jersey has a highly impressive drag racing resume. He currently races at the highest level in the NHRA campagining a Toyota Top Fuel Dragster. Previously he raced Pro Stock Motorcycles which, if you haven’t seen it, requires weapons grade man parts.

The last of the new presenters is actor William Fichtner. He has starred in way too many movies and TV shows to mention. I always remember him for his role in the Longest Yard Remake as Captain Knauer. Despite that glitch on his resume Fichtner is a full-blown gearhead. He has won the Toyota Grand Prix Celebrity Race, which is like the Indy 500 of Celebrity racing.

All told the new cast does show some potential. My question is Why replace the old one? Yes they weren’t the last word in Top Gear greatness, nobody will ever reach the pantheon of Clarkson, Hammond and May. We need to stop comparing every new automotive show to those guys. I know this may be tough to swallow and I mean no disrespect, but a show about cars can be entertaining with out those dudes.

Top Gear America just needed a second chance, maybe a format reboot getting back in touch with its roots. A new cast complicates matters. As we saw with the British version of Top Gear it only takes one bad presenter to ruin the show. The BBC wanted to change the cast? They should have thrown buckets of money at Jay Leno, Tim Allen and Jerry Seinfeld. Told them here is the layout, go nuts.

Yet, despite my reservations about the new Top Gear America I will still watch. I’m a sucker for these shows. Give me 3 people having fun in or around cars and I’ll give the show a chance. It’s in my nature. I’m always of the mindset if 1 decent car show is good, 2 is great and 3 is outstanding. These new guys don’t have to be great, they just have to be good enough to be worth watching while waiting for the new season of The Grand Tour. Top Gear America will debut later this year.

Written by Chad Kennedy

Chad burst from the womb wearing a racing suit and a helmet. Chad's passion for cars is in his very DNA. His father was a gear head and passed on the tradition through owning such classics as a '66 Mustang and a '59 Corvette all while taking him to various race tracks in the area. Chad likes to wrench on his rides whenever possible, forgoing the stealership. Chad is an avid motorsports fan with particular interest in endurance/sports car racing. When not online writing for Shifting Lanes, you can find him working at the local golf course teaching people how to swing or hooning a golf cart at impossible speeds.


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