One of the last Top Gear specials with the original three hosts—Clarkson, Hammond, and May—featured them driving through Africa in three old, cheap cars. Clarkson’s choice of car was an E39 BMW 5 Series Touring that went through hell but still managed to be one of the more reliable cars throughout the adventure. After most Top Gear specials, the production crew sells off the cars used and they’re lost to history. However, this specific E39 5 Series Touring was actually found by Reddit sleuth r/Background_Advance77.
The car is currently in Uganda, which is where the Africa special began. It’s also where Hammond’s Subaru is, so at least two of the cars are still together. The Reddit sleuth even looked into its registration history and found that it’s still being driven today, which is great to know. It would be a shame if a cool car like this one ended up in a crusher, given that it’s an African E39 5 Series Touring that was driven by Clarkson on the most beloved car show in history.
It also seems that the rear window was repaired, as it’s intact. If you remember, Clarkson tied a log to the rear of the car, so he could use it for traction when stuck in mud. However, while driving along the log bounced up and shattered his rear window. So it looks like a subsequent owner had it fixed. The giant cutout in the door was also replaced, as James May cut a section of sheetmetal out of the 5er’s door to use as a skid plate. And someone must have fixed most of it because it looks to be in surprisingly good shape, considering the battering it took with Clarkson at the wheel.
According to the Redditor that tracked this car down, it’s currently owned by a mechanic, who seems to be keeping it at their shop, so it isn’t accessible to the public. So if you’re in Uganda and thinking about swinging by to see Clarkson’s car, you’re out of luck.
Top Gear was genuinely special back in those days. Watching reruns of old Top Gear episodes helped form my love of cars, helped get me through rough times, and ultimately helped put me right where I am today. So seeing Clarkson’s E39 5 Series Touring alive and well, still in Uganda after all these years, gives me the warm and fuzzies inside and I’m sure I’m not alone.