James May

James May

Column archive

James’s fizzy logic - February 2010
‘The existence of the fizz gland explains why certain cars possess us in an inexplicable way’

Gone with the wind - January 2010
“A recent guff I did was a product of at least two countries and was delivered in a third, which must be causing an imbalance of some sort”

James vs the fashion industry - Awards 2009
At last, a reason to put Trinny and Susannah behind bars. You see, their obsession with fashion is forcing us to throw away perfectly good cars

James rounds on the Benz - December 2009
Like supporting both Arsenal and Manchester United, it’s deemed bad form to cheer for both BMW and Mercedes. But James’ loyalties are being tested

James goes commando - November 2009
Expect the worst, says James, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised when something good (or even average) happens. Only thing is, it could make you paranoid in the end

To whom it May concern - October 2009
We are sleepwalking into a world of hi-vis misery, as health and safety policies strangle the life out of any pursuit that might actually be fun. Time for action!

James on urban cars - September 2009
If you want to make small, efficient, urban cars more attractive, at least give them looks that reflect the big bad city destined to become their stomping ground

James on the Porsche 911 - August 2009
Despite driving some of the most virile and exclusive supercars in production, James’ eye still turns longingly to a Gekko-esque classic from the Eighties

James on Ferrari - July 2009
Ferraris really are special, but it’s got nothing to do with the logos and the colour scheme, it's down to mechanical wizardry. Now even Captain Slow wants one

James and the Fireblade - June 2009
Oh how we laughed at the idea of James May writing a column about supercars. But it seems we have created a monster... we’ve just had to prise him off a superbike

James and the DBS - May 2009
The DBS is a totally different car to the DB9 – we know this because Aston has told us so, quite clearly. But, asks James, is it the car the DB9 should have been all along?

James and the Caterham R500 - April 2009
In the fifth of his supercar tests, Captain Slow tries out the Caterham R500. It might be impossible to get in and out of, he says, but it’s also ridiculous fun

James and the Porsche 911 - March 2009
When buying a Porsche, don’t drink and spec; you could end up with a car so thoroughly pimped, you'll need to buy a leopard-spotted jump suit to keep up

James and the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti - February 2009
The 612 Scaglietti is Ferrari at its most restrained, the furthest the company gets from vulgar merchandising and chest wigs. So the perfect car for James, then

James and the Gallardo Spider  - January 2009
Lamborghinis might make poster icons that induce nocturnal emissions in callow youths, but James is more worried that he might look like a berk

Bull game - December 2008
We all know that Lamborghinis are over the top, but these days they're at risk of going from the eccentric and the exotic to the totally irrelevant, says James

Rain of terror - December 2008
The image of biking in the rain might be hairy-chested and Thor-like, but the reality involves waterproof clothing that doesn’t keep out water. James explains

No turning back - November 2008
James has been a back-seat driver this month. It's taught him that he’s about as effective at controlling the car from back there as the person in front of him

Out of control - October 2008
The War on Terror’s only real result has been to give Brit tourists an excuse to be smelly and have overlong finger-nails. Death to the Axis of Cleanville!

Stuff and nonsense - September 2008
Stick two fingers up at the ad men and say ‘No more!’ to all the crap you don’t actually need. That way, you’ll have more money to spend on fuel, says James

The whole truth - August 2008
As the credit crunch sees estate agents filling the job centre, Clarkson might be tempted to curb his car excesses. He should do just the opposite, says James

The old masters - July 2008
Who wants automative engineering perfection? Not James – ever contrary, he gets more pleasure in clapped-out lemons than in bedroom poster classics

Yuppy love - May 2008
Once the preserve of chinless goons and stock-market barrow boys, the early Eighties Porsche now strikes a different presence on the road

Mr niche guy - April 2008
In these days of micro-niching, James has discovered a gap in the market. Wipe-down comfort is something that is longed for not just by the doggers out there

James and confused - March 2008
There are a lot of genuinely great cars out there; Jaguars, Ferraris, Renaults – even Daihatsus. So why is James having such a hard time deciding what he wants?

Off the handle - February 2008
Handling, opposite lock, tread shuffle... my God, it's all so unfeasibly dull. And more than that, says James, does it make driving more fun?

Boxing stupid - January 2008
James paid good money for his Boxster, and then, a year on, Porsche brought out a ‘new’ version. Why, he asks, wasn’t it right the first time round?

The wheel thing - December 2007
Are we breeding a new generation of mutants who view life as a computer game, asks James

The great big fib - December 2007
The current obsession with carbon fibre is reaching absurd proportions

Lock, stock and barrel - November 2007
Whether it's a fascination with fine wines or fast cars, it's worth remembering that one man's enthusiasms can be another man's tragically sad obsessions

My winning formula - October 2007
A 1275cc engine and a willingness to get your hands dirty are all you need to create a motorsport that’s open to all, full of old-fashioned skill and genuinely exciting

Cold comfort - September 2007
The North Pole is virtually untouched by humans. And James May would rather it had stayed that way. Especially when travelling there means sharing a Toyota Hilux with Clarkson

Bad air day - September 2007
A collection of vintage vehicles is one thing, getting them to work, quite another. Which poses other problems when you’re waving goodbye to terra firma

On the mend - August 2007
Problems with your car? Won’t start? Rattles at idle? Smokes under acceleration? James has the answer. Go to the National Motor Museum and talk to the experts

Ruling glass - July 2007
It’s about time advocates of the vintage motorcar removed the rose-tinted glasses, says James. Except when it comes to using all that glass

Mean streets - June 2007
A new Government initiative on street design asks for consolidation, facilitation and quantitative thresholds. James, in response, asks simply for some plain English

Future tense - May 2007
Road tax hikes, road pricing... who cares? When flying spheres eventually usurp the car’s place as commuter vessel, driving will become pure pleasure

May’s Britain - April 2007
James has a theory on how to speed up the progress of roadworks in the UK. And for once it’ll be the council who’ll be suffering, not the poor motorist

Hire education - March 2007
As basic as a car may be, it’s still an unparalleled method of exploring the world, says James. Even if the car in question is a low-spec airport hire car

Social climber - February 2007
Driving’s just too easy, says James, it’s become so run-of-the-mill. Wouldn’t it be better if it was a bit more like flying, with all its procedures and protocols?

The demon seed - January 2007
James is fuelled up for an argument. He reckons biodiesel is destroying England and as a form of protest he’s bought himself a secret weapon...

Chain reaction - December 2006
Inspired by the automotive industry’s just-in-time approach to building cars, James has a foolproof plan for that most frustrating of ventures – shopping

Trouble in store - November 2006
A leaky switch, a dodgy wing mirror and a shunt up the jacksie... James’s latest classic car may not be running any more, but it’s answered a few questions

Lamb' to the slaughter - October 2006
Friends. What are they for if it isn’t to try to humiliate them at any opportunity? Especially if the friend in question is a certain JC, who’s about to buy a Lamborghini

Nobody’s fuel - September 2006
Diesel, a wonder fuel? Pah, says James. It’s a filthy, dirty excuse for something to burn and no one should use it ever again. Not that he feels strongly about it...

You're doing my head din - August 2006
It seems we’re becoming a nation of Victor Meldrews, complaining about the most ridiculous things... but especially about the noise James is making. Hooligan

Baby, I'm bored - July 2006
Have child; need a large car. Apparently. Not for the baby, you understand, but for the huge amount of gubbins bought from Mothercare. James explains...

Fare game - June 2006
Public transport is all well and good, says James, but it still has a long way to go before it matches the pure and simple convenience of getting into your own car

Every little hurts - May 2006
Why exactly are car drivers always the bad guys in environmental debates? There are many, far worse perpetrators says James, starting with supermarkets

Blast from the past - April 2006
We need to discard our rose-tinted view of the past and embrace the future, says James. Otherwise our generation will just be remembered for being ‘retro’

Smokers of the world, ignite - March 2006
James is getting withdrawal symptoms at the mere prospect of an in-car smoking ban. Time to relish the experience before it’s too late. Er, got a light?

Wise guys - February 2006
The F430 and 911 are serious cars – and these days surprisingly cool, says James, who has discussed it with many highly informed people he hardly knows

Help the aged - January 2006
Old cars offer a certain something to the motoring enthusiast – apart from skinned knuckles – the deep and special pleasure of getting to know all their foibles

Reverting to type - December 2005
Try as he might, James will never make a very good bigot. He likes people too much. But he does enjoy the odd national stereotype or two

Game on - November 2005
Oh dear. In some sort of BBC-induced mid-life crisis, James has reverted to playing with toys... just like those design-type folks at Volvo used to

Added extras - October 2005
Speccing up a new car is a nightmare at the best of times, but when James is asked to pay for standard kit, the only option left is to stand up and be counted

Chip off the old block - September 2005
The internal combustion engine wastes so much energy it’s a miracle it’s still in existence. But, says TG presenter James, we should be thankful it is

Crashing bore - August 2005
Gentlemen don’t do sideways cornering antics, and when they do, it’s not a pretty sight. James explains why a car’s handling limits should be left unexplored

Chop and change - July 2005
There comes a time when a man has to open up, says James. But if you’re planning on purchasing a convertible, make sure you buy something fitting

Stars in their eyes - June 2005
Celebrities are the product of a superior gene pool; a sort of gene jacuzzi... And if you buy that, you might be fool enough to buy one of their cars, too

The rise of the machines - May 2005
The Top Gear TV presenter might just have sliced his thumb open with a knife, but he still insists we humans have the best computer there is – a brain

The Mo' the merrier - April 2005
James hates Morgans. They’re so pointless. And old-fashioned. And made of wood. And accelerate like stink. And have a nice interior. And drive wonderfully. And he wants one...

Bum steer - March 2005
James is concerned about his bottom. And rightly so, as motor manufacturers seem to have developed an unhealthy desire to heat, massage and pummel his rear end. It’s downright cheeky

Mod almighty - January 2005
It used to be coffee, now it’s ‘double decaf skinny latte’ – and replacements for car parts are following suit. James despairs at the self-absorbed excess of the craze for customising cars

Raising the baa - December 2004
James would have had a great time this month if it wasn’t for every road this side of Llanfair-pwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch being crammed with dumb ol’ sheep

May Day protests - November 2004
In a rare burst of political insight, James ponders the fact that winning wars is one thing; winning the peace is another. And, it seems, that’s where the humble motor car can help

Roll with it - August 2004
There’s only one way Rolls-Royce’s image can be saved from all the media fatheads and Johnny-come-latelys. It’s radical and ruthless but the time has come for drastic measures

And our survey says... - July 2004
James says ignore the stats, car design should be left to the experts

So little time - June 2004
James May foresees the future of the car. Dodgems versus anti-gravity? Dodgems surely...

Toeing the party line - May 2004
Shoe connoisseur James May ditches his bench-made brogues for some ballet boots...

Calling Hammond's bluff - April 2004
All bets are off as James takes Richard Hammond on in a game of Car Poker

Come what May - March 2004
James May has his head in the clouds, picturing personal transportation for the future...

Leap frog - February 2004
James loves the food and the lifestyle of France, but behind the wheel he fears for his life...

Defending the Defender - January 2004
The magnificent Defender will soon go out of production, James has a plan to save it, and England from ruin...

On your bike - December 2003
'The real problem with scooters is deep down, and no matter how much we try and convince ourselves that they’re acceptable, we hold them in contempt'

A crude awakening - November 2003
'Petrol and diesel are, in turn, better than coal and water and, all things being equal, they have done us less harm. So the world is not going to pot after all'

More fuel you - October 2003
'Finally, the other day, it suddenly occurred to me that I didn’t have a disposable income. It’s just an expression invented by people who are trying to sell you rubbish'

Local hero - September 2003
'The sale of petrol was a mere front – the true function of the 24-hour garage was as a place a chap might satisfy his sudden and inexplicable craving for a pork pie'


James May

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