Damian Lewis as Gear Head

Damian Lewis, Top Gear
source: BBC

Boys and their cars. And girls too, for that matter. There’s something about being behind the wheel of a nice automobile, pressing the gas, shooting ahead with the force of however many horses, and letting a machine take you where your feet can’t. Damian made his second appearance on Top Gear this week and got to drive around a bit: recklessly, dangerously, at the sort of speeds humans probably weren’t ever designed to go, at least not unaided. Yes, no doubt, there’s a rush there, the burst of power and the addictive lurching feeling of hairpin turns at top speed, the balance between control and utter abandon. One small explosion in a combustion chamber to get things moving, then the lingering burn of the fuel made from our fossils, and we’re off to the races, quite literally. And for those few seconds of sheer joy, you sorta want to forget that these are the very machines that have summarily sent our planet on a not-so-slow burn. Alas, let’s keep this post about joy, and the joy of watching Damian play with cars. Read on!

In his first appearance on Top Gear in 2013, Damian tanked royally. He was crowned the inauspicious distinction of worst lap time ever around the Top Gear track. He said of that experience:

I do remember being out here in the snow and the ice the last time, and..just losing control of a car when you’re not going to hit anything, is, um, quietly addictive.

Given he had snow and ice to deal with that day, Damian couldn’t possibly let a record like that stand. So here he is on the reality show again and here are the fun bits we get from this go around on Top Gear.

1) Damian’s first car was a Subaru Impreza, which he drove while on vacay in South Africa. The Top Gear folk did a cute photoshop of Damian from back then in front of a silver Impreza. He cringed a bit seeing his younger self and noted this was his “Hamlet hair”.

Damian Lewis, Top Gear
source: BBC America

They imagined silver but a bit of research shows us this first may have been during the break Damian took between Eton and Guildhall, so, maybe 1998 (ETA: Oops, like I often do for my own age, I unconsciously subtracted nine years from Damian’s life…this was supposed to be 1989 ;)) which would mean this blue beauty just may have been Damian’s first ride (ETA: So, this would be our imagined version of the 1989 ImPRETza that was his “first”, not the 98 model I had up here before:  slick profile!)


When sharing this fun fact, Damian did that English thing of taking non-English words and pronouncing them like they’re English (The English did that a lot in the colonial days, and, thanks to that adorable propensity, English now has words like cummerband (literally a “closing for the stomach” in Hindi/Persian) , kowtow (closing heads in Cantonese) and Dad (from Welsh equivalent Tad)). Damian pronounced Impreza like it was an English word and then quickly went all adorably self-effacing and gave us a bit of Italian pronunciation, clipped here. (albeit it’s a Japanese car so it’s any non-Japanese speaker’s guess on how it’s supposed to be pronounced!)


2) We learn that Damian’s favorite ride these days is his mini convertible. Sure, he’s got a deal with Audi of which he’s said:

I’m sponsored by Audi, so I have this rather lovely rather arrangement where they just insist that I’m always in the latest model.

But apparently the Audi has to have some rest time, so the mini is his go-to for making the school run with the kids in the back and the puppy leashed safely to the handbrake. That is, in case Petra wants to make a run for it, stop goes the car, and everyone stays safe. BTW, yours truly had a chance to drive a friend’s Audi recently on a long stretch of I-90, and darned if I had to press the gas more than once or twice. The car takes YOU on the ride and it’s a beauty, both up and down mountains. That said, everytime I see a mini, especially a convertible, I just want to give it a hug. Oh, the cute.

Damian’s huggable current ride:



3) Next Damian got into a mini and rode the track, fast and hard, clearing puddles, getting some air over a hill, much to his delight. SPOILER ALERT: Damian beat Gordon Ramsay’s time and made a place for himself at the top of the board. Gear head redeemed!

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4) We learned after the fact that he also took a laundry-change-inducing 150mph turn in the McLaren they showed at the start of the episode. Regrettably they didn’t have the camera on Damian inside that ride, but once outside, we got the jist. He was floored. (Fun fact: I had a McLaren too….ur, a MacLaren I should say…stroller. Must have clocked at least 2mph trying to get my girl to take a nap during our strolls :))


Damian Lewis, Top Gear, McLaren
source: BBC America

And there you have it, Damian Lewis making a fast and furious appearance in the very believable guise of gear head extraordinaire.

10 thoughts on “Damian Lewis as Gear Head”

  1. Really enjoyed this Top Gear episode – don’t know why! Do we know what kind of puppy Damian has? Is she called Petra? That’s a cool name for a dog. I must say that as it’s my dogs name too. Keep up the good work with the posts – they make my day.

  2. I love to drive, and drive fast, but the police hold me
    ! Damian seems to be a good pilot, as he is a good footballer and a great actor! I’m glad he has a dog, I fight for, unhappy, abused animals , and the fact, that damian had a dog, I really like!
    Really, I love Damian increasingly, everything I like about him, although perfection does not exist for me,He is perfect!!

  3. Love this! Both my dad and his father were racers, so I have always felt like I have racing somewhere in my blood- a need for speed! Watching our fella have such a wonderful day of indulging in fast cars sure is fun. Thanks for the fun post!

  4. Thank you so much for bringing this FUN day Damian had on Top Gear to life on the blog!

    Damian playing with cars. Damian taking a selfie with his head gear. Damian crawling out of the MacLaren and announcing he had to change his underwear after THAT ride. What’s not to like? He even makes me, someone that has no interest whatsoever in cars, get interested!

    Funny we were at a Homeland event last night and Claire Danes confessed she was a very bad driver. Apparently the crew gets a bit scared whenever she needs to drive in the show. And she added: “This is not a joke.” Well, I am not a bad driver but last time I had snow and ice on the ground like Damian did in his last Top Gear, you, my dear partner, know what happened: I killed my car!!! So I prefer to live without a car even though it’s not possible in the suburban world of America. I guess subway is one of the major reasons why I love NY so much 🙂

    Even though I don’t have kids, I know that MacLaren is the number one choice for urban parents thanks to being light and speedy! It’s so cool if MacLaren is making both the cars and the strollers! Is it so? And if it is so, do you think kids in MacLaren learn to walk sooner than their peers to get rid of the speedy rides? Haha! 🙂

    Finally… My husband has always said I would be very happy with a Mini. Well… maybe it’s time to go back to that discussion 🙂 The image of Petra being tied to the handbrake is just priceless! Thanks again for this wonderful post!

    1. Claire is a born and bred New Yorker, so it’s easy to understand that she’s not a car person at all. So lucky to not have to drive everywhere!
      Don’t even get me started on the zone of red over our little stretch of suburbia. (there’s a visual display at the Pacific Science Center of areas of Seattle in terms of how “green” they are…ie where the basic amenities are within walking distance….my suburb, even though it’s been ranked a great place to live, is decidedly NOT green…and it makes me a bit angry sometimes that mass transit is so hard to get approved and constructed, in some part thanks to the automobile lobby)
      McLaren is the “a British automotive manufacturer of luxury, high-performance sports cars”, MacLaren is “a manufacturer of baby buggies, strollers and carriers based in England.” Very cute and funny they have such similar names, but, no, not the same company. 😀 The strollers are fantastic for a smooth ride and stability while turning corners, just like the cars, I’m guessing. 😀
      I’ve got a speedy little mazda now, but have been eyeing the Leaf as my next car. I need to take more responsibility for my carbon footprint!

  5. I am in love with that introduction. Seriously great build up, Jania Jania, and what to say about Damian? Selfies, changing under wear, tying the leash to the hand break, driving the kids to School in a mini! Having a right good time and a laugh…good for us gives us a lot to talk about on fan fun.

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