The Cool Wall, introduced in the sixth episode of series one, was a wall on which Clarkson and Hammond decided which cars were cool and which were not by placing photographs of them on to various sections of the wall. The categories were, from left to right; "Seriously Uncool", "Uncool", "Cool", and "Sub Zero". According to Jeremy, an important part of each car's coolness factor rested on the extent to which he believed they would impress the actress Kristin Scott Thomas. Later, BBC newsreader Fiona Bruce had also been used as a notional judge. Both had since been the celebrity guest for the Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car feature, with disastrous results for Jeremy's pride. When Scott Thomas appeared on the show in series nine, many of her own judgments on which vehicles were "cool" and "uncool" were the opposite to the show's verdicts (her own set of wheels being a Honda Civic, previously dubbed "uncool"). Later, when Bruce came on in series 11, her preferred choice of transport - a Citroen Picasso - visibly horrified Clarkson who described it as a "hateful car". Hammond sarcastically suggested that the next notional judge could be another BBC newsreader, Sophie Raworth.
In the first episode of series four, a separate fridge section, on a table to the right of the board, was introduced after Jeremy declared that the Aston Martin DB9 was too cool even to be classified as "Sub-Zero". It initially contained just the DB9, but was eventually joined by the Aston Martin V8 Vantage in the seventh series. At the other end of the scale, James May's car - the Fiat Panda - was placed several meters to the left of the "uncool" side, on a banner at the back of the hangar.
This was partly due to an acknowledged rule by the presenters that cars owned by themselves cannot be considered cool. In series nine, Clarkson was forced to place the Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder in the Uncool section because he had just bought one. He then revealed that he had sold his Ford GT, allowing him to move the car back into the Sub-Zero section.
On Series 8 Episode 3, the Koenigsegg CCX was the first supercar to be deemed "Cool", because of its scariness and danger factor. The Lotus Exige S was declared "Uncool" because of a man in shorts liking it; the Proton Savvy was also deemed "Uncool" due to its name. The Nissan Micra C+C was deemed almost too uncool for the wall (it was hanging off the edge of the "Seriously Uncool" section). The Jaguar XK was also deemed "Uncool" because of the game of golf, which influenced the car's performance (in Clarkson's view). Clarkson afterwards said: "It's also pissing off our director, who's just bought one!"
There were some rules to the Cool Wall, although all seemed to be flexible:
Motorcycles were not allowed in, as demonstrated on February 18, 2007 when Richard Hammond, a lifelong fan of bikes, added a picture of a Ducati 1098 to the cool section. Jeremy Clarkson responded by using a chainsaw to remove not only the picture, but also the section of wall where it had been.
Supercars were automatically uncool or seriously uncool, as there are few cool people who can actually afford them. An exception was the Koenigsegg CCX which was cool on account of its scariness. Two other supercars, the Bugatti Veyron and the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren were also classed as cool (both of which had been driven by Clarkson in races against other forms of transport).
Diesel-powered cars were never cool as, regardless of how good they are, their only purpose is to save money.
Cars owned by any of the Top Gear presenters weren't cool. This applied for uncool celebrities and footballers, as well.
Small European cars, such as the Peugeot 206 and Citroen C3, were generally cool.
People carriers were never cool, because they're not cars people want to have; they're cars people need to have. Jeremy Clarkson had always described them as for "people who have given up".
Everything with a Skoda badge on it was considered to be seriously uncool; the picture of the Skoda Fabia represents all Skodas.
Hybrids were seriously uncool; the Toyota Prius was hanging off the end, but was updated to cool in a later episode due to the fact that it would seem an attractive prospect to environmentalist women to see a man "caring for the environment".
BMWs were generally uncool and Audis bar the TT were generally cool. From Series 1 this was made clear despite Hammond trying to put the BMW M3 E46 in cool. When Clarkson tried to put the BMW M6 in the sub zero section, there was a fight when Hammond said that you can't put a BMW as cool. However, as of series 11 onwards, BMWs had been moved to Cool with some exceptions (BMW 5 Series GT and X6) being Super Cool and all Audis had been moved to Uncool.
American cars were generally uncool or less, with rare exception.
The humour of this section often lay in Clarkson and Hammond disagreeing over which section a car should be placed in, with Clarkson nearly always winning the argument — sometimes by placing the car at the very top of the wall, preventing the much shorter Hammond from being able to reach it. Hammond occasionally got his revenge, such as when he ate the card on which a BMW M6 was featured, preventing it from being used, or during series six, after Clarkson had slipped two intervertebral discs and was unable to bend down, Hammond ended an argument by placing the car in question at the bottom of the board.
Due to an arson fire that destroyed most of Top Gear's props that happened between series 9 and 10, for which Clarkson blames Fifth Gear, the cool wall was lost. On the first episode of the 10th series Clarkson and Hammond look at the burned and ruined stickers but ultimately abandon the cool wall.
This segment was oddly edited out of the Netflix episode for unknown reasons, as was the news segment talking about the fire. Some belive that this is a possible cover-up attempt on Netflix's part, but no real evidence had been found to accuse the company.