Rover james

Rover James at the elderly care centre

The Rover James was a modified Fiat Multipla designed and built by Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond specifically for elderly people. It was featured in the fifth episode of Top Gear's nineteeth series as part of a film in which Hammond and Clarkson attempt to build the perfect car for old people. Because of this the duo made numerous changes to original Fiat Multipla. 


  • The dashboard was simplified by Jeremy who ripped out the original dashboard and it replaced it with one of his own. The new dashboard has a hot and cold button for the air-conditioning and three light switches to toggle the wipers, lights, and radio (which has only one station) on and off. He also added a rear fog light switch which "does absolutely nothing". Clarkson also installed a simplified sat-nav system (which is a modified iPad) which has only the options: home, bingo, post office, Peggy's house. A big magnifying glass was also installed in the front.
  • While Jeremy was smashing the dashboard,Richard suggested that,since "elderly people are fragile and tend to sit quite far forward",the driver and passenger SRS airbags should be removed. However,after Clarkson opened the the passenger airbag compartment,they found that it was attached to two wires(beige and blue),and presumed that cutting the wrong one would result in the airbag detonating.After a very tense moment,Jeremy clipped the blue wire,which caused nothing to happen,to their relief. Presumably,the airbag was placed in the rear bumper as part of Richard's backup system.
  • Jeremy also modified the speedometer for the car in an attempt to speed old people up when driving. He replaced the traditional speedometer with the ones that only read 32 km/h, as opposed to 210 km/h in the old speedo.
  • Richard painted the Fiat beige, one that matches the colour of a hearing aid.

The Rover James.

  • Richard also implemented new 'old people' specific safety features. First, he changed the front bumper of the car so that it was now much larger and made of very thick foam. He installed external airbags onto the rear so that they would detonate if the old person was about to back into an object (much to Jeremy's disappointment when this system was tested). He also put a squeaky ball under the brake pedal.
  • Hammond also softened the suspension of the Fiat.
  • A Rover grille was incorporated on the front of the design, as opposed to the original facade.
  • Clarkson replaced the foreign Fiat badges with a 'more appropriate' Rover badge and bolted a pet cage to the roof of the car.
  • Since elderly people are unable to lift their luggage into the boot, the presenters added a "lift-knob", which allowed luggage to be attached to it, and dragged along the way.
  • Both presenters also made modifications to the seats of the cars changing the standard Fiat rear seats to soft lounge chairs from - Shackletons (thanks to an old advert Jeremy found on YouTube). The front seats were also made waterproof, thanks to Hammond who managed to found the appropriate waterproof cloth for the seats. They also attached a new car locating system to the Rover James in which a rocket and a balloon are used to determine the location of the car in a parking lot.
  • As a final modification Jeremy installed a self destruct mechanism to the car which would detonate should an eldery person begin travelling down the wrong way on a slip road.


Tg self destruct

The Rover James' self destruct feature

To test the Rover James, Clarkson and Hammond drove around the town of Christchurch before inviting three eldery pensioners for a day trip around town: Mirian, Betty, and Barbara. During their testing the presenters discovered numerous flaws with their creation; firstly, the Rover James leaked in the rain (Caused by the holles drilled on the roof) and got one of the elderly passengers wet. Secondly, the pet cage on the roof was not safe enough and resulted in the death of Tiddles the cat. Finally, the radio, which they nicknamed the irresistable clapping machine, was dangerous to the driver of the car and the Shackleton chairs were extremely difficult to get in and out of. Lastly, the self destruct feature Jeremy installed rendered the car useless and unable to go anywhere, infuriating Richard.