Guy Martin transformed a Swedish icon – a Volvo – into a racing machine for Sweden’s competitive rallycross in the first episode of his new series on Channel 4.
Guy’s Garage was commissioned by North One TV and episode one aired on Channel 4 on Monday night (November 22) – watch the episode on demand here. It is a four-part series which will conclude will the final episode on December 13.
The motorcycle racer turned TV celebrity loves Volvos and already owns two, while he also previously did an apprenticeship at a Volvo truck garage. His best friend, who joins him on the journey, Cameron “Camy” Whitworth, says Guy would “marry a Volvo if he could”.
Guy’s choice of Volvo for the project is the 240 estate, which he has to buy, strip, tune and fitting the necessary safety equipment to, but not before Cammy initially buys the wrong car – a Volvo 240 saloon.
The first episode sees Guy tinker with a Volvo in his garage near Grimsby with mechanic Cammy. There are some slight spanners in the works along the way, such as getting a Volvo with a manual gearbox when Guy wants an automatic one instead.
At the start of the programme, Guy said: “I sort of got bored of racing unless I was building something, and that’s what this next lot of programmes is going to be about. We’re going to build all the daft stuff in the shed to go and do some daft races, that’s the plan.”
As well as plenty of hard work and tinkering in the garage, Guy also heads to the Pembrey rallycross circuit in Wales for some lessons from Mark Higgins, a three-times British rally champion. He pushes himself hard and spins round the track 21 times before “exam time in the form of a race” against four cars over four laps.
Guy and Cammy then travel to Sweden for the former motorcycle racer’s first ever folk race. He hits a problem in Sweden when he is told the vehicle is still not race ready. He overcomes it to finish fifth out of six in his debut race before more races follow.
Episode 2 – Ape – airing on November 29
This is described as Guy’s most left field challenge of the series as he creates a racing version of a Piaggio Ape – the odd little three-wheeled vehicles which are ubiquitous across Italy.
Guy discovers a brilliant racing series where competitors pimp their Apes with big motorcycle engines and upgraded suspension, and create what are known as Proto Apes.
Episode 3 – Landrover – airing on December 6
Guy gets to grips with one of the most iconic and successful British cars of all time – the Land Rover Defender. He wants to build a super fast off-road machine capable of racing at speeds of up to 100mph.
Helped by expert racing Land Rover builder Dave Billings, their rusting heap slowly transforms into something amazing. Guy also competes in an ‘impossibly challenging’ Land Rover trials event.
Episode 4 – Trabant – airing on December 13
Guy choses an East German Cold War icon – the slow, basic and underpowered Trabant – for this challenge. After buying just about the only Trabant they could find in Britain, Guy and Camy give it a punishing test around the former motorcycle racer’s garden.