It is a gripping sequence of life drizzled with a homemade car, hardship, and a simple success of epic proportions

Called Survival of the Fattest, the latest episode of The Grand Tour takes us to sparsely populated Mongolia where our heroes embark on a long journey over perilous mountains, mighty rivers, and endless Gobi dunes in a homemade car. The mission is to reach the town called the Moron. They had to do it in seven days, only with British army rations as a diet, and a car delivered disassembled to them by a Russian Mil Mi-8 helicopter.

It is one more The Grand Tour special - largely unscripted, emotional, funny, and just perfect.

Survival Of The Fattest Is Not A Car Show, But It Can Do More For Cars Than Any Other

Warning: not many spoilers ahead

Don’t think for a second that this is yet another car show because it is not. Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson, and James May almost did not mention anything about cars or the car industry in this episode. They did not even say what they were driving (because they probably did not know). Yet, regardless of the comedic quality of it, and lack of any serious car talk, the Survival of the Fattest easily did what all other car shows struggle to do. It charged me about cars, and off-roaders so much that right after Clarkson said goodbye at the end, I went searching for an off-roader.

It got my blood pumping so much that I instantly wanted to do a similar adventure in my off-roader whether it is a Wrangler, Fiat Panda, or the Polaris XP.

I don’t have any of them, but I googled them, so that’s close.

What Car Did May, Hammond, and Clarkson Drove In The Grand Tour Episode Survival of the Fattest?

The Latest Grand Tour Filmed In Mongolia Is The Best Episode Trio Ever Made
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Sometimes looking like a Mars Opportunity rover ambling over Mars rocks, the John, an aptly named homemade AWD vehicle Hammond and May assembled in the desert, was the main star of the latest Grand Tour episode. By the end of the episode, John showed me why horsepower, looks, or even the build quality does not really matter. It taught me what the car is all about.

It is about freedom, about adventure, and voyages of epic proportions.
Yet, I was curious to find out who the John really is.

After the parts for it landed in a crate on the desert floor (like in a PUBG video game), James May figured out right away that the engine is a 2.5-liter, TDi from a Land Rover.

Powered by a 300TDi engine with 111 horsepower from the Defender, the John also had Land Rover Discovery, R380 gearbox (I recognized LR gearbox watching the show actually), and LT230 transfer box with permanent four-wheel drive. A few years back, I remember that British Autoexpress inferred that this might be the best transfer box in the world. Just right for the occasion then.

The Latest Grand Tour Filmed In Mongolia Is The Best Episode Trio Ever Made
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Now, TGT did not provide any details about the chassis but said it is of a bespoke ladder frame design. I did find out, however, that TGT team sometime works with the Howard Marshall Engineering from the U.K. on their projects that are related to some crazy body on frame projects. It could very well be that HME managed to adopt a chassis of some of its farming vehicles for this occasion. Or, they’ve built it from the ground up.

Whatever they did, May and Hammond manage to assemble a whole car with a small crate of tools, and (I believe) a bit of help from the filming crew.

As a final touch, they fitted wooden panels instead of the standard bodywork. It is a hideous creation, but the one that did the job just right. And the one that likes to hop a lot (you have to watch to figure this out).

The Latest Grand Tour Filmed In Mongolia Is The Best Episode Trio Ever Made
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Unlike other standard off-roaders, the John is mid-engined. As trivia page from the Amazon Prime says, the engineers did it for several reasons:

"ground clearance, weight distribution, and better comfort for the occupants."

Disclosure: I have reached out to HME in the hope of getting confirmation about the John’s origins, and I will update this article when (and if) HME officials respond.

How To buy The John Car From The Grand Tour’s Survival Of The Fattest?

Unfortunately, after Hammond, May, and Clarkson reached the town of Moron, and when they had concluded the mission, the team scrapped John. Complicated export paperwork was too much for the team.
So, to answer the question.
You can’t buy it. Call HME; it may hook you up.

What Did The Grand Tour Presenters Do If Not Talk About Cars?

The Latest Grand Tour Filmed In Mongolia Is The Best Episode Trio Ever Made
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  • Jeremy Crackson Talked About Genghis Khan
  • James May Talked About Alcohol
  • Richard Hammond Talked About Arrows

The last episode of The Grand Tour - Survival of the Fattest - is an epic 90-minute adventure you have to watch. It will make you buy an off-roader.

Further reading

GQ Talks Shop With The Boys From The Grand Tour: Video
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Read more The Grand Tour news.

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