One lucky bidder now has the ultimate Top Gear souvenir, and a functional one to boot.
The BBC program’s most recent “Reasonably Priced Car” — a 2013 Vauxhall Astra Tech Line GT — has been sold on eBay for £17,800 ($26,364). The auction benefits the BEN Motor and Allied Trades Benevolent Fund, a U.K.-based automotive charity.
“Star in a Reasonably Priced Car” was always a popular segment on Top Gear, as it featured celebrities from the car world and beyond lapping the famous Dunsfold track in a lighthearted competition. Personalities like Will Smith, Benedict Cumberbatch, Margot Robbie, Hugh Jackman, and Ron Howard all took the Astra for a spin, and English singer-songwriter Olly Murs holds the lap record with a time of 1:44.6. Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul and actor Nicholas Hoult are tied for second at 1:44.7, and AC/DC vocalist Brian Johnson comes in third with a time of 1:45.1.
The Astra began its Top Gear tenure on Season 20, and since then, it has accumulated 2,908 tough miles. The show’s fourth Reasonably Priced Car after the Kia Cee’d, Chevrolet Lacetti, and Suzuki Liana, the car sold for more than double its estimated current value at auction. Experts estimate that, without the star-studded imprints in the front seat, an Astra of this vintage would sell for £7,775-£8,325 ($11,518-$12,333) today. Because of the roll cage, though, all the Vauxhall’s airbags have been disabled.
As Top Gear prepares for a resurgence next year, the value of memorabilia from the 2002 series is only going to increase. It is not known if the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car segment will continue with new host Chris Evans at the helm, but the program’s launch in May 2016 will be telling. As for the original trio? Clarkson, Hammond, and May’s new show on Amazon Prime is expected to debut later in the year.
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