Team captains: Chris Barrie and Richard Hammond
Scarlet Television and On The Box for BBC Two, 12 February to 19 March 2006 (6 episodes in 1 series)
A comedy motoring quiz, and you can probably guess the rest from that description alone. The games include an initial question-and-answer round based on video clips, an identify-the-car-from-tiny-little-details round, a blindfold parallel parking game, identify the wacky road sign from somewhere in the world, and at least one other game which varies from week to week (in the first edition, it was an obstacle course to be tackled on granny scooters, in the second it was "Play Your Cars Right", guessing whether the next car in a sequence would be priced higher or lower than the one before it). There's also a lot of rather obviously rehearsed banter, and a bit of (more entertaining) spontaneous banter.
The show actually seems to dispense with a scoring system altogether. There are graphics depicting two cars progressing along a stretch of road, which are supposed to represent how well the two teams are doing, but it would appear that actually the winner is decided purely on the final round, in which the object is to predict the outcome of a filmed stunt.
So, a nice little runner? Well, it gets us from A to B (where A is about 10pm on a Sunday, and B is about 28 minutes later) without breaking down, but we can't help feeling it could be done so much better. We like Chris Barrie. We like Richard Hammond. We don't dislike Neil Morrissey particularly. But somehow the three of them just don't have that spark. Plugging the show beforehand, the BBC were keen to push it as They Think it's All Over meets Top Gear, so they've only got themselves to blame when people like us point out that Petrolheads isn't as much fun as either of them. Even the big end stunt doesn't live up to Top Gear's standards, and we suspect they'll exhaust their stack of ideas pretty quickly. A Have I Got Cars For You format could be good, but what we actually see Honda show seems calculated to perp-Lexus. If they don't do a Kwikfix* on this format, it could soon become tyresome and the axle fall. Wheel see.
* As we realised some months later, it's actually Kwikfit, not Kwikfix, but we don't think anyone noticed. We could have said "tune-up" or "rebuild" instead, but you can't just slip a metaphor in between two puns or who knows where it'll all end? We do have certain standards to maintain, as you can see.
Sports writer Norman Giller