The popular Top Gear programme concluded its latest series with a celebration of the the best of British automotive manufacturing, by assembling vehicles of all shapes and sizes that have been built in the UK, for a parade down Pall Mall in London one Sunday morning in June. Komatsu were approached to take part in the programme, as the company has a manufacturing base in Birtley, County Durham.
A British built Komatsu PC210LC-10 crawler excavator was selected for the event and arrangements were to transport it down from the North East to Central London. As the excavator was to be subsequently driven along Pall Mall it was equipped with special road liner shoes to protect the road surface, these are not commonly seen on a machine of this size.
Marubeni-Komatsu Marketing Manager Ed Prosser met up with Peter Barrett, our experienced demonstrator, in Slough before making their way together into Central London together, arriving in darkness at Constitution Hill at around 4am. The PC210LC-10 excavator was waiting on a low-loader – excellent timing. Once through security Peter unloaded our excavator and eventually, we were given the go ahead to track the machine up Constitution Hill, past Buckingham Palace, and into line on Pall Mall, with the dawn light now starting to come through. What Her Majesty thought of it all, well who knows?
The Excavator Outside Buckingham Palace
The sheer variety of vehicles; F1 racing cars, Aston Martins, a Routemaster bus, military and construction vehicles and even an ice cream van, to name but a few, made it quite a spectacle to see. Although there were other construction plant manufacturers in attendance the Komatsu was the only tracked vehicle to be included. There was plenty of opportunity to chat to the production team before the filming began and we did our best to convince them that as the PC210LC-10 was the only machine on display with tracks that they should make it a special feature!
Some of the other vehicles on show
We spent our time watching the film crew setting up and practicing their camera shots until we got a first glimpse of the three presenters – Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May – at about 6.00 am. As the sun started to rise the Mall got steadily busier with tourists – all of whom were wondering what on earth was going on. It was an excellent chance for them to see an eclectic mix of vehicles and machinery.
Jeremy Clarkson stops to check out the Komatsu Excavator
As filiming began the scene was further complimented by the arrival of the Household Cavalry and the Coldstream Guards. After many different shots were completed, including about a dozen different attempts at the same scene with all three presenters involved, the filming drew to a close at midday. All that was left to do was to track our Komatsu back down to Constitution Hill – avoiding the now thronging mass of tourists – and to load it back onto its transport. Driving out of London shortly afterward we were left hoping that the prestigious Komatsu brand gets some air time on BBC2.
The Three Top Gear Presenters Drive Down Pall Mall