2024 Update: Unveiling Top Gear Presenter James May's Car Collection Over The Years

By Simon Boseman

Published June 23, 2024

2024 Update: Unveiling Top Gear Presenter James May's Car Collection Over The Years

James May is a television presenter and journalist who is well known for his role in the television program Top Gear and also in The Grand Tour television series as a co-presenter alongside Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond. 

James May was the first person to travel up to the magnetic North Pole in a car (1996 position of the pole). But his encyclopedic knowledge of cars and exuberant work has landed him with an unbelievable garage, so let's have a look at James May's car collection.

Cars That A Still A Part Of His Collection:

6. Volkswagon Beach Buggy

James May Beach BuggySource: YouTube (DRIVETRIBE)

Arguably, the most unique and talked about car in James May's car collection is his converted VW Beetle - a Beach Buggy with a shell design called "Prowler". The car had a long history of coming to reality and dates back to James's TV show "The Grand Tour". Back in 2016, May did several episodes in Namibia where the Beach Buggy was first seen. According to James, the Beach Buggy is one of the worst vehicles of all time, and that triggered James to modify his Buggy.

VW Beach BuggySpecs
Price$15,000 (est.)
Engine1.8L Flat-4
Horsepower100 hp
Transmission4-speed manual
Exterior ColorCandy Red

James built and modified the Beach Buggy in the UK by Kingfisher Kustoms and the vehicle is based on the classic Meyers Manx dune buggies. In his video on YouTube (DRIVETRIBE), he said, "It’s a testimony to the triumph that good will ultimately achieve over evil. A wonderful coda, really, to the most incredible car story in history...".

5. 2014 BMW i3

James May BMW i3Source: YouTube

The 2014 BMW i3 is the cheapest car he still owns. This car had an MSRP of £40,000 in 2014, but James paid only £35,000 for it. The remaining £5,000 were paid for by the government, as an incentive for buying an electric car. Considering the average exchange rate for 2014, the car cost $54,208 in the United States.

2016 BMW i3Specs
EngineElectric motor
Horsepower170 hp
Torque184 lb-ft
Exterior ColorWhite

The car also featured on the Grand Tour where Jeremy Clarkson compared it to his Volkswagen Golf GTi. The BMW i3 was bought as a replacement for the Fiat Panda that broke down in 2014. The i3 serves as May’s daily driver. It has a 22 kWh battery pack that offers a driving range of 81 miles as per EPA estimates.

4. 2018 Alpine A110

James May Alpine A110Source: YouTube (DRIVETRIBE)

The 2018 Alpine A110 was bought by James May for a price of £50,805, which is about $67,820 in the United States. This car is not sold in the U.S. May’s car is finished in a blue exterior theme, and he calls his car a “downsized supercar”. Alpine is a French car maker founded by rally driver Jean Rédélé.

2018 Alpine A110Specs
EngineTurbocharged 1.8L I-4
Horsepower252 hp
Torque236 lb-ft
Transmission7-speed dual-clutch automatic
Exterior ColorBlue

James May, before buying this car reviewed it on The Grand Tour and went on to pronounce it as ‘Apleen’. He was so impressed by this model, he also said that this was “his car of the year”. The Alpine A110 has a 0-60 mph sprint time of 4.5 seconds and it tops out at 155 mph. As the car does not have a backup camera and side airbags, it was never sold in the North American market.

3. 2021 Toyota Mirai

James May 2021 Toyota MiraiSource: YouTube (DRIVETRIBE)

James May purchased a 2021 Toyota Mirai finished in all black and unveiled it on the YouTube channel DRIVETRIBE. The car cost him £64,995 ($66,000 in the North American market). Before this, he had a 2015 Mirai as well, but he sold it within a few days of buying it due to the lack of hydrogen filling stations in the United Kingdom.

2021 Toyota MiraiSpecs
EngineFuel-cell stack+electric motor
Horsepower182 hp
Torque221 lb-ft
Exterior ColorBlack

May said the new model was ‘firmer’ than the previous one he owned. The car has a claimed top speed of 108 mph and sprints from 0-62 in 9 seconds. Toyota claims a total driving range of 400 miles on the Mirai. James May also owns a Tesla Model S, and he compared the Mirai with that one in a video, mostly as an ownership review.

2. 2019 Tesla Model S 100D

James May Tesla Model S 100DSource: YouTube (DRIVETRIBE)

The 2019 Tesla Model S 100D is another environmentally-friendly car in May’s collection. The D in the name stands for Dual-motor, the setup the car uses. May purchased the car for £71,700 or $81,190 in dollar-equivalent money. In a video, May was impressed by the car’s range, performance, and handling, but he expressed dissatisfaction with the car’s look and the huge central screen.

2019 Tesla Model S 100DSpecs
EngineDual AC electric motors
Exterior ColorBlue

The journalist had a thought process behind buying a Tesla. According to him, even though the future of automobiles was not certain, he believed that they would be powered by electric motors one way or the other. The Tesla Model S 100D has an EPA estimated range of 335 miles and can sprint from 0-60 mph in 4.1 seconds. The top speed is rated at 155 mph.

1. 2015 Ferrari 458 Speciale

James May Ferrari 458 SpecialeSource: Carscoops

The most expensive car that is still a part of his collection is the 2015 Ferrari 458 Speciale. It is said to have cost him around $291,774, just under the $300,000 mark. May’s car features the number plate “RJ15 ZDA” and is finished in a Rosso Dino, a not very popular color. It also gets golden-colored wheels, and the stripes that run down the roof and the bonnet are finished in Gray and Blue. May also said that “the stripes cost as much as a new Dacia Sandero."

2015 Ferrari 458 SpecialeSpecs
Engine4.5L V8
Horsepower597 hp
Torque398 lb-ft
Transmission7-speed dual-clutch automatic
Exterior ColorFerrari Orange

The 458 Speciale was revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2013. This car has an upgraded engine that gives it a 0-60 mph time of 3.0 seconds and a top speed of 202 mph. A total of 3,000 units of the 458 Speciale were made. Over the standard Italia model, this car got a vented bonnet, forged wheels, a larger rear spoiler, and also featured redesigned bumpers. Later on, Ferrari also revealed the 458 Speciale A, a convertible variant of the 458 Speciale.

Cars That Were Once A Part Of His Collection:

2005 Fiat Panda

James May's Fiat Panda

You might not believe it but James previously owned a 2005 Fiat Panda and more surprisingly, he drove the car as his daily drive. The car stayed with him until 2014 when the Panda broke down and James had to sell it in order to buy his BMW i3 later. The car even appeared in his travel show - "James May: Our Man In Italy".

2005 Fiat PandaSpecs
Price$3,740 (M.V)
Engine1.2L Flat-4
Horsepower60 hp
Torque75 lb-ft
Transmission5-speed manual
Exterior ColorBlue

In an interview with Top Gear back in 2014, James talked about his Panda stating, "...the Fiat Panda is going and I'm trading it in for an electric BMW i3, so expect some pontification about being a part of the experiment blah blah blah. That's in a few weeks' time, so now I feel I should pay my respects to the Panda, properly..."

5. 1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche

James May Rolls-Royce CornicheSource: The James May Board

We now mention some of the best cars owned by him, starting with the 1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche. This Corniche was purchased by James in 2007 for £25,000. He had the car for 10 years and sold it in 2017 through an auction, overseen by Bonhams. At the auction, the car fetched a price of £41,400 or $50,358. The car was also seen in a Top Gear show when it was pitted against Jeremy’s Mercedes 600 Grosser.

1972 Rolls-Royce CornicheSpecs
Price$50,358 (auction price)
EngineTwin-turbocharged 6.75L V8
Horsepower218 hp
Torque325 lb-ft
Transmission3-speed automatic
Exterior ColorRed

“Frankly, if you have £25,000 to spend on a luxury classic and you don’t buy one of these, you’re an imbecile.” These were the words used by him to describe the worthiness of the car in the same video. The Corniche featured coachwork done by HJ Mulliner Park Ward and its number plate read out “DBD 999K”. The chassis number was CRH12347. This car was one of the 780 Series I models built.

4. 2005 Porsche Boxster S

James May Porsche Boxter SSource: Reddit

James May had once been to get the lightbulb for his Porsche 911 when he first took a test drive of the car. He also paid a downpayment of 10% on the car, which was priced at $53,100 in the U.S. back then. The car was, later on, sold by him to an unknown buyer. This is the first of the three Porsche models that May bought and sold, and we’ve covered the other two as well. James’s car was finished in silver exterior paint.

2005 Porsche Boxster SSpecs
Engine3.2L Flat-6
Horsepower280 hp
Torque236 lb-ft
Transmission6-speed manual
Exterior ColorSilver

The 2005 Boxster S was updated for 2005 with more power and also got a restyled exterior look. The car added a new manual transmission and an improved braking system as well. There were adjustments to the suspension setup, and also, Porsche’s stability management system was added as standard. Third-party testing gave this car a 0-60 mph time of 5.1 seconds and a top speed of 167 mph.

3. 1984 Porsche 911 Carrera

James May 1984 Porsche 911 CarreraSource: Motor Authority

Another Porsche sold by James May is the 1984 Porsche 911. The car was a part of his collection from 2007 to 2015. In 2015, he sold the car at the Goodwood Festival of Speed Sale for £51,750 or $62,948. The car had run a total of 55,000 miles and was featured in the Top Gear online film, “James Drives to Work”. Apparently, the journalist used this 1984 Porsche 911 as a hobby car.

1984 Porsche 911 CarreraSpecs
Price$62,948 (auction price)
Engine3.2L Flat-6
Horsepower231 hp
Transmission5-speed manual
Exterior ColorGuards Red

The car’s chassis and engine numbers were WPOZZZ91ZES102350 and 63E04283, respectively. The 1984 911 Carrera 3.2 was the replacement for the SC series, and this bought the Carrera name back after 1977. It used a larger 3.2L engine, which, as per Porsche, was 80% new. This 1984 model had a 0-60 time of 5.3 seconds and recorded a top speed of 152 mph.

2. 1980 Bentley T2

James May Bentley T2Source: DailyMotion

The Bentley T2 was another vintage car in James May’s car collection. The car had an MSRP of $85,000 when it was new, and James bought it in its original paint finish. He purchased the car for £14,000. The car had done 80,000 miles before he finally sold it in 2007. Also, this T2 was featured on the set of Top Gear as well, for a video in which he explained how it was better to buy a classic car than a used Ford Mondeo.

1980 Bentley T2Specs
Price$85,000 (original price)
Engine6.7L V8
Horsepower221 hp
Transmission4-speed automatic
Exterior ColorBlue

James’s car had the registration number “TOY 102W” and was finished in a light blue exterior color. The Bentley T2 was a successor to the Bentley T, but underneath all the Bentley badging, it was just another Rolls-Royce car. The car came out in 1977, and over the T, got a better air conditioning system, a front air dam with a new front end, and also added rack and pinion steering.

1. 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera S

James May Porsche 911 Carrera SSource: YouTube (DRIVETRIBE)

The most expensive car that was ever owned by James May was the 2009 Porsche 911 Carrera S facelift model. This car cost $86,200 in the United States brand new, or about £70,360 in the United Kingdom back in 2009. May’s car was finished with a white exterior and was featured on the “Unpimp My Ride” show. The car is a 997-second generation model with the number plate “LD60 YRK”.

2009 Porsche 911 Carrera S FaceliftSpecs
Engine3.8-Liter Flat-6
Horsepower380 hp
Torque310 lb-ft
Transmission7-speed dual-clutch automatic
Exterior ColorWhite

This facelift added a revised exterior look, which featured LED daytime running lights and standard turn signals in the same light housing. The changes to the interior were minimal, in the form of a revised layout that got fewer buttons. The infotainment system was a touchscreen unit supplied by Harman Becker. The Carrera S facelift was more powerful than before, and it accelerated from 0-60 mph in 4.3 seconds and recorded a top speed of 188 mph.

This is it for what James May's car collection has to offer. If you want to check out other personalities car collection, be sure to click the links below -

Also Read:


What car did James May drive in the Grand Tour Scandi Flick?

During the Grand Tour Scandi Flick special, James May was behind the wheel of a rare 1984 Lancia Beta Coupé Zagato. This particular model was a limited production version of Lancia's compact executive car, which was manufactured from 1972 to 1984.

What was James May's first car?

James May's first car was a 1978 Fiat 124 Sport Spider, which he bought second-hand in the early 1980s. James May has spoken fondly about his first car, and he even featured it on an episode of his show "James May's Cars of the People."

What is James May's most expensive car?

James May's most expensive car is the limited-edition Ferrari 458 Speciale Aperta with a price tag of $291K.

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