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In a revamped, refreshed and expanded edition, Motorworld appears in paperback for the first time.

From Iceland to Australia, Clarkson travels the world exploring car culture. This is comic travel writing at its laugh-out-loud funniest.

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In a revamped, refreshed and expanded edition, Motorworld appears in paperback for the first time.

From Iceland to Australia, Clarkson travels the world exploring car culture. This is comic travel writing at its laugh-out-loud funniest.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780141017877
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/30/2006
  • Edition description: New
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 1,442,233
  • Product dimensions: 5.06 (w) x 7.76 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Fly Down to Reno

The P-51 Mustang was America’s answer to the Japanese

Zero. Powered by a US-built Rolls-Royce Merlin

engine, it delivered  1500 horsepower and a knockout blow

to the flying machines of the Pacific Rim.

However, the P-51 in which I flew was churning out

3000  horsepower and could deliver a knockout blow to

my central nervous system – which was very nervous


You see, if a 1940s’ car breaks down, and let’s face it

they do, a lot, you coast to the side of the road and await

the AA. But if a 1940s’ plane breaks down it doesn’t so

much as coast but plummet.

And that’s a normal plane. But the one in which I went

for a ride had been tuned and fettled to turn it from war

plane into a 1990s’ racer. The cockpit canopy had been

lopped off each of the wings to reduce drag, and the engine

had been tweaked to the point where it was a bomb. And

the clock was ticking.

In the back, it was noisy and hot and as the thermals

rose to buffet our undersides, there were moments of

queasiness, though thankfully they stopped short of

becoming the spectacular outpourings that occurred in

the F-15.

There wasn’t time to be sick anyhow. You see, an F-15

struts its stuff in the stratosphere, but the Mustang was

designed for low-level performance. So I now know what

it’s like to do 500 mph 50 feet from the deck.

It’s bloody good fun right up to the moment when

the pilot decides to turn. This of course means you stay

50 feet up but one of the wings does not. From where I

was sitting, it seemed like the tip was actually pruning the


The pilots need to be familiar with ultra-low flight

because in a race they may need to get among the weeds

to overtake. But we weren’t in a race. So there was no

need to be down there so pleeeeease Mr Pilot, can we go

back up again. Pretty please? With bows on?

The answer was no, and for an hour we charged about

in the undergrowth, flicking left and right to avoid small

mounds and molehills.

Death, had it come, would have been mercifully swift

and I knew the organisers had a standby act to keep

the crowd amused while they hosed me down a drain


Last year, after a fatal accident, a wing walker was

despatched to keep everyone occupied but that went

wrong too. As a finale, the pilot flipped his plane upside

down so his wing-walking passenger was dangling underneath.

However, he misjudged it a bit and took the guy’s

head off.

Air racing is under threat in America because its

dangerous – and over there, dangerous is a dirtier word

than ****.

However, even before the legislators move in, there’s a

very real possibility that the supply of old planes will dry

up and that will be it.

I’m just glad that I got to have a go before they face the

final curtain.

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Customer Reviews

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    Posted February 25, 2010

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    Posted April 16, 2010

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    Posted September 7, 2010

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