"The Grand Tour" is the U.S.-based Amazon reboot of the British Top Gear show with the original trio of car guys who, let's face it, made the original show what it was. There was and perhaps still is a U.S. version of Top Gear which, to tell the truth, put me to sleep. The cast lacked the energy and sheer fun of the clarkson-Hammond-May (CHM) trio who seem to genuinely like each other in a frat boy sort of man love and genuinely love cars - in American idiom they are the essential gear heads.

'The Grand Tour', a fellow gear head's thoughts

Being a review I need to set the stage a bit with some of my own car autobiography so you can judge my credibility.

In college I saw that I could either work hard and buy expensive cars I wouldn't have time to play with, or I could start an exotic car garage and get paid to play with other people's cars. I picked the latter, although it didn't stop me from owning two Mercedes 190 SL convertibles, a Mark VIII Jag and several other Jaguars, a Sunbeam Tiger and more. I also pit crewed for a mother and son Tiger racing team and was friends with an F1 enthusiast George Weaver who owned Thompson (CT) racetrack and had two broken F1 Maserati's in his barn. For those in the UK who don't know, the Tiger was an enhanced Sunbeam Alpine with a Ford 260/289 V8, barely steerable, hard to stop, but a blast to drive and I think possibly illegal in the UK - I finally sold mine last year after a girlfriend had bought it for me in 1973 but I still have my 455 Trans AM and Maserati Bi-turbo.

The Grand Tour, hot or not

So, my brief credentials in place, what did I think of the Amazon American-based reboot of the Clarkson-Hammond-May fun and games? In brief, I found it not as good as the old "Top Gear" version. Not as good, but much, much better. "The Grand Tour " is funnier, looser due to the less restrictive standards of an Internet show, but with the high concept and apparently unlimited budget of the world's largest retailer.

What do I mean by looser? Did you ever hear a NASCAR driver say of a car "it couldn't pull a greased string out of a dog's A$$? Fear not, the world's hottest cars are still part of the show.

"The Grand Tour" has the same playful overgrown boys playing pranks on each other, making fun of cars, Americans, and everything in sight, including themselves.

Think Monty Python + Benny Hill meets testosterone and nitro infused gasoline, but with a definite European bent.

Of course as with every new venture on its shakedown episode there were a few minor problems with guest star drivers, and a minor disagreement with the audience, along with what the team calls (and rightly so) the world's most dangerous racetrack. But the three hybrid supercars they played with were spectacular, the humor was around every corner, and just enough of Top Gear was retained while still keeping this a new show.

'The Grand Tour' - a fan's view

I'm a fan and because I am a fan I am straining to keep from including any spoilers in this review. I'm also a big fan of Amazon Prime which, in the U.S.

is THE way to shop online with vast inventories and lots of free things including movies and TV shows as well as Amazon original productions such as "The Grand Tour".

"The Grand Tour" was Amazon's most viewed premier and I look forward to next Monday's release of the second episode which is supposed to be from South Africa, but even the first episode which was hosted from a western U.S. desert location, hopped back and forth from the U.S. to Portugal and England.

'The Grand Tour' is definitely the pits

Considering the bold-faced (self deprecating, not to mention funny) lies in the biographical notes at the start of the show where the hosts introduced each other, I hesitate to repeat any of their statements about future episodes but from the previews they look like great fun and I for one am very glad to see those clown princes of the gear leaver (stick shift) Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May back in the pits.