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Top Gear USA: Snow Show

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  Top Gear
Opinions expressed by Bill Crittenden are not official policies or positions of The Crittenden Automotive Library. You can read more about the Library's goals, mission, policies, and operations on the About Us page.

Top Gear USA: Snow Show

Bill Crittenden
July 5, 2014

Season 5, Episode 4
Episode aired June 24, 2014

I really love the episodes of Top Gear, in any version, that seek to create a cheap version of something by cutting up a broken-down version of something else.

This episode was to show what could be done by taking a school bus and turning it into a 4x4 snowplow.

Before the new vehicle could be unveiled, the guys had to play in the snow in the name of "research."  This was a fun segment showcasing a variety of snow moving machines on a snowed-over oval racetrack in Maine.

Then, they got down to business.  Or so it seemed.  They pulled a GMC short bus into a garage and came out with a modified short bus created off of a Chevrolet of a different body style.  Hey, it's like watching professional wrestling.  You know it's not 100% real, right?

Eh, who cares, it's funny.  Just a note to the producers: car guys DO notice these details!

The new bus had a bagged suspension, 44" tires on 20" rims, side-exit exhaust (nice touch), a fully articulating plow, and a cheap spreader tied to the back end.

Now, if one were to really create a snow plow out of a school bus and not have any budget restrictions, a full-size salt spreader will balance out the weight of the plow on the front.

It worked pretty well, and as far as Top Gear inventions go, this is one that could be useful.  I doubt that southern school districts could fit these into their budgets, especially with promoting creationism and revisionist history being such greater priorities (bad textbooks cost as much as good ones!).

Cheap shot?  You betcha, but it wouldn't be necessary if it weren't an issue these days.

Anyway, this bus has potential not as a school bus but perhaps as a rescue vehicle for snow emergencies.

In those truly epic snowstorms that bury towns and shut people in their homes for days on end, a bus that can not only break through the mess but also transport food, supplies, or more than a handful of people at a time seems like it'd be more useful to the fire department than a school district, seeing as how the schools can just declare a snow day.  A police or fire commander's SUV can only hold so much or so many people, you know?

However, should that rare instance occur when a group of kids is stuck at school due to a freak surprise blizzard...call a fire department that has a 4x4 bus!

Oh, but the suspension and plow weren't all of the modifications.  Adam got to play with a flamethrower (not an efficient way to melt snow, it seems), and some kind of device that throws a detonation cord out to clear a path for the bus.  Neither one was very effective, but were fun to watch.

Tanner also only seemed to hit one mailbox, which makes him a much better plow driver than the guy in Woodstock that took out five out of nine in one stretch on Route 47 this winter.  If his new Global Rallycross thing doesn't work out, I can suggest a job...

Episode rating:
Best Driver/Host: Tanner, for drifting the bus.
Vehicle Rating: 9/10, it just needed a "real" salt spreader!
Episode Rating: 8/10.  Not quite epic, but I was kinda mad that my wife deleted it.

Oh, speaking of my wife, she was still giggling over Rut's line about "the short bus" an hour after the show.  I won't spoil it, though, go watch it!

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