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'A Plague Rat' And Other Jeremy Clarkson Rants on Russian Cars

A television network owned by Russia's Defense Ministry said Thursday that Jeremy Clarkson was considering its offer to front a Russian car show.

In a letter to the Top Gear presenter published on Zvezda television's website, the network expressed its "deep honor" to Clarkson, who was axed by the BBC this week for assaulting a member of the Top Gear production team.

But the honor might go only in one direction. Clarkson has been to Russia before, and has said some very disrespectful things about its cars.

The Lada Riva

"I don't know where the car I drove was made. Or who made it. But I suspect he was very angry about something because it was horrific. The steering column appeared to have been welded to the dashboard so that it wouldn't turn. The brakes caused the car to speed up a bit and turn left, violently, at the same time. The buttons on the dash appeared to have been put in place by Janet Ellis from Blue Peter, and the engine had plainly been lifted from a cement mixer that had spent the past 30 years chewing up rebel soldiers in southern Sudan."

"It's like a cockroach. It could survive a nuclear blast. It's amazingly tough. It can stand up to hammer blows but not water."

"The engine was designed to run on Russian petrol which had an octane rating of 76. That's not really petrol. That's spicy water."

The Russian Jeep UAZ-469

"The car has an engine but it's hard to say what sort … If it's a diesel, it is very rough indeed. If it's petrol, it should be taken outside and shot. No trial, no last breakfast and no flowers please. It's also fantastically badly equipped. You get a horn, which is fair enough because that is vital in Vietnam. But that is it."

"It's the worst car in the world, by miles … This car has no redeeming features."

"Avoid it like you would avoid a bubonic rat. Small wonder the Vietnamese were glad to see the back of the Russians if that was their idea of technological assistance."

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