"This is a very rare chance to buy a piece of British television motoring history."
Remember when the Top Gear Challenges were fresh and didn't seem too forced? Cheap car challenges became a popular segment in the early days of the rebooted series, spawning memorable scenes where the presenters had to buy a used car on an obscenely tight budget. Inevitably, the battered cars they bought would break down. A lot. It's practically routine now in both Top Gear and The Grand Tour, but back then it was genuinely inventive.
One of the most popular challenges was the Cheap Porsche Challenge way back in 2004 when the presenters were thinner and a bit less grey. The trio had to buy a Porsche of their choice for 1,500 GBP (around $1800 in today's money). Hammond opted for a 1980 model Porsche 924, which is going up for auction at Coys without a reserve on January 14. Challenges the 924 endured include a trip from London to Brighton and being lapped around the test track by the Stig. It has all the original mods Hammond fitted to it for the show, which explains the flame design adorning the side, numbered stickers and the matte black bonnet.
It also had its seats and carpets removed to shed weight, along with new tires and shocks. Even the 'inches tall' remark Clarkson wrote on the number 54 sticker in pen is still intact to mock Hammond's height. The luxury sports car was produced by Porsche from 1976 to 1988 as a replacement for the entry-level 914. Uniquely, it was the first Porsche to be powered by a water-cooled, front-mounted engine – while this is a normal setup for most manufacturers, it is of course unusual for a Porsch which primarily use mid or rear-mounted engines. It was also the first Porsche to be offered with a fully automatic transmission.
The 924 was later sold privately after its appearance on Top Gear and has competed in several Sprint events in England. As the auction listing describes it, "this is a very rare chance to buy a piece of British television motoring history." Did we mention it also has pop-up headlights? Everyone likes pop-up headlights. Originally, the used 924 was bought for just 750 GBP - that's around $900. How much do you think it will fetch for when it goes under the hammer?