Top Gear set it up to be a battle of Youth versus Tradition via a hill climb. Hill climbs in themselves are the preferred motorsport of middle-class dead wood. Get the Sprite cruising and see how many heads it turns (that is if the stodgey tweed covered driver doesn’t get stabbed by some chavs). The ‘measure’ of the competition needs to be ‘measured’ itself.
Now the offensive thing about this clip is that the Austin Healey club represents the children of the middle-class, white British car owners of the 1960s (or those that aspired to become such people). The 1960s date is important, because after this the flood of non-British, and especially non-European cars took over. Not only is there a class difference between the two groups that the automotive technology is meant to represent (something that isn’t quite there in Australian car culture, because the working classes in Australia could and wanted to access cars before the ‘flood’), but there is a difference of ethnicity, too. The foreign looking car is a reified commodity and technological abstraction of the ‘foreigness’ of class, ethnic, and social age differences.
Of course it is framed as a technological battle between the ‘modern obsession with horsepower’ versus a ‘light, well sorted classic’, but this is code for an excessive baroque non-british automotive technology and correlative schizo-irrational cultural obsession versus a minimalist, masculinist piece of straighforward British ingenuity and paranoid-rationalist cultural obsession respectively.
I am not sure why they didn’t race the R34 Skyline doing donuts at the start of the clip or the Mitsubishi Evo that can be seen in the background towards the end of the clip? lol! No offence, but the show is ‘top gear’ and the Skyline or the Evo would eat both the other cars…
Top Gear. Tossers.