We all have dreams of doing something extraordinary. Unfortunately, most of our realities are extra ordinary. However, there are a lucky few who not only live out their dreams and childhood fantasies, but knowingly do it for the rest of us. One such man is comedian and actor, Adam Ferrara. This native New Yorker is probably best known as one of the luckiest gearheads alive; because he’s a presenter on History Channel’s Top Gear. It’s the sometimes notorious, but always outrageous spin off of Top Gear UK. They just completed their third season and have now begun filming the fourth.
I’ve been a fan of his stand-up comedy for many years, but was genuinely surprised to see him in the Top Gear cast. This is because Ferrara’s not a professional car guy like Tanner Foust and Rutledge Wood, and what makes their trio unique to the franchise. Ferrara fills the everyman role that probably best describes most car guys and gals. Honestly, he doesn’t always know what he’s going behind the steering wheel, and definitely doesn’t know what’s going on under the hood. However, he throws himself into every challenge (no matter how wacky) with courage and enthusiasm, for the rest of us who wish that we could.
Recently, Adam agreed to give My Life at Speed some insight into his life at speed on Top Gear and what it’s like to be The Wrecker. Thanks a lot, Adam! We wish you all the best for the next season of Top Gear, and in all your endeavours.
ML@S: You’ve had some cool cars for your daily drivers, like the Camaro ZL1 and Nissan GTR. What are you driving this week?
Adam: I was in New York and Nissan gave me an Infiniti M56 for a few days. I drove it to my gig in Vermont. Made it from Vermont into the Midtown tunnel in 4 hours and 15 minutes. It’s a fun car. My thanks to Steve Oldham.
ML@S: Top Gear filmed in Iceland. What kind of experience was that for you?
Adam: We ate a lot of fish and butter, drove on a glacier with an overdue volcano under it. We slept in fishing huts, dove into hot springs, crossed a rushing river at night, saw the Northern Lights; and, on more than one occasion drank some fine, single malt Scotch to keep warm.
ML@S: You’ve done some pretty wild stuff on Top Gear. Have they ever suggested a challenge that you’ve refused?
Adam: Not yet, but looking back maybe I should have reconsidered having a ton of manure dumped into the back of my Maverick; which I converted into a pick-up truck and drove down the streets of San Antonio. It took me about three showers to get the smell off of me.
ML@S: You crack a lot of jokes with and about the other guys on camera. Do you also have input on the script for the episodes’ narration?
Adam: As far as narration in the studio, if a line doesn’t feel right we will collaborate with our executive producer, John Hesling to find one that we are all happy with. In regards to shooting, some of the funniest moments never make the show; primarily due to language, occasionally due to content, but overwhelmingly because of extraordinary stupidity.
ML@S: You got to drive the Le Mans winning Ford GT40, one of the greatest race cars ever made. What was that like? Racers will be reading this, so don’t spare us any details.
Adam: I wish I could give you a detailed account of flogging one of the most significant cars in American automotive history, but I only drove it eight feet. Not just me, anybody can only drive it eight feet, maybe nine if you’re Tanner Foust; but because of depreciation, that is the limit the car can be driven. That’s what they told me anyway. I suspect they saw me jump a Cadillac in our moonshine episode and made that rule up.
ML@S: Feel free to lobby here: what are some of the other cars on your bucket list?
Adam: Here is a quick list, in no specific order and by no means final:
- I always start with a ‘57 Star Fire Olds 98 convertible with the J2 and a continental kit. That was the car my father rebuilt. It was his baby and the stuff of family legend. He sold it when I was born to pay the bills. My dad died a few years ago and someday I’ll get that car. I want to see what it’s like.
- ‘68 Mustang GT 390 Fastback (Highland green, of course)
- ‘63 Stingray (Split Window)
- Ford GT40 (More than 8 feet)
- Ferrari 250 GTO
- The new LaFerrari
- ’59 Caddy Cyclone Concept
- Pagoni Zonda F Roadster
- Pagani Huayra
- ‘68 Charger (With 440 Magnum)
- Lamborghini Veneno
- ‘68 Lamborghini Miura P400s
- ‘61 E-Type Jag
- McLaren F1
- Aston Martin DB5
- ‘49 BMW Veritas
- BMW E9
- Alfa 8C
- Lancia Stratos
- Porsche 918 spider
- Porsche 550 spider
- Citroen GT
- Buick Grand National GNX
- The Original Bat Mobile (Not a fiberglass copy, the one Barris made)
- Lamborghini Countach
- Maserati Bora
- 427 AC Cobra (original not a kit)
- ‘70 Ford Torino Cobra (with the Magnum 500 wheels)
ML@S: Rutledge Wood has been racing in the Toyota Pro Celebrity Race, and you got the chance to try racing a SuperLite truck. Have you ever considered getting into motorsports?
Adam: I believe it’s best for all involved if I don’t.
ML@S: Do you have a lot of buddies that are into cars? If so, do they watch the show?
Adam: Yes, and they give me sh*t all the time.
ML@S: What do you get recognised for more: Top Gear, Rescue Me or your stand-up comedy?
Adam: Fortunately I get people who know me from both shows, when I’m out doing my stand-up; but when I’m just walking around sometimes, I see people squint at me trying to place where they know me from. One guy thought I was a cousin that owed him money.
ML@S: Boris Said asked Rutledge about you during an episode of Trackside on SPEED Channel. Have you had any experiences of your Top Gear world colliding with others?
Adam: Boris is a great guy and helped me shave my lap time down by almost 11 seconds; but to answer your question, yes, it happens quite a bit. The most recent encounter was at Madison Square Garden. I was doing stand up at the Garden of Dreams charity event. I was in the greenroom and heard this deep voice behind me say, “How do I get your job?” I turn around and it’s Justin Tuck from the NY Giants. He is a car guy, specifically a muscle car guy, so we ended up talking the rest of the night.
ML@S: “Funny As Hell” perfectly describes your last comedy DVD. Will there be a new one coming soon?
Adam: Thank you. I have a new one in the works as we speak. Stay tuned.
ML@S: Besides Tuesday nights at 9pm (EST) on History Channel, where else can we see you?
Adam: I will be in the new season of Nurse Jackie. It premiered Sunday night April 14th, 9:00 pm on Showtime. I play a cop who gets a crush on Jackie. The show is so well done and I am very excited to be a part of it.