If you watched the 13th episode of The Grand Tour’s third season, you know that it was probably the best since Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond started the Amazon Prime Video-hosted show.
For their Mongolia road trip, the three hosts were faced with the difficult challenge of assembling a vehicle they would then have to drive across some of the most difficult and beautiful terrains our planet has to offer.
For the job, they assembled a vehicle chassis using parts from various sources, including a Land Rover Defender. Then they fitted it with a makeshift bodywork that Clarkson, May, and Hammond had to build themselves using wood planks from the boxes in which the chassis parts came. As it turned out, the vehicle was a good choice as it soldiered on until the end of the road trip with only one minor problem, a blown fuse — earning the affectionate nickname of “John” in the process.
The start of the episode that aired on April 5 has to be one of the most captivating so far: a helicopter dropped the car parts in boxes to the unsuspecting hosts who were waiting in the middle of nowhere to be handed over the challenge set by Andy Wilman, the show’s executive producer.
Partisan Motors’ founder claims he gave The Grand Tour the idea
There might be some controversy over the Mongolia special, though, as a man claims he was actually the one who came up with the idea for the episode. Juri Postnikov, the founder of Germany-based Partisan Motors, says he was approached in December 2017 by Gavin Whitehead, the director of The Grand Tour, with a proposal for cooperation. Mr. Whitehead “showed genuine interest in the possibilities of using the car developed and built by us in his media project,” Partisan Motors’ founder alleges in an email sent to Carscoops.
That car he’s talking about is the Partisan One electric off-roader prototype. Mr. Postnikov says he developed a script for the show revolving around the fact that the Partisan One car can be delivered to the customer in a box for independent assembly.
He states that he handed over a script proposal to the producers of The Grand Tour in which the Partisan One, which was supposed to be on the show, was dropped from a helicopter in disassembled form for the hosts to build in a tent camp. He also claims he sent sketches to the producers, which he also forwarded to us and you can see in the gallery below.
A lawsuit against the show is coming up
Juri Postnikov claims Gavin Whitehead “enthusiastically agreed” to the idea and the two sides started work correspondence to sort out all the details. However, after a while, the exchanges stopped. When he asked the director what was wrong, he was told that the show didn’t have sufficient funding and had to freeze all projects.
Partisan Motors’ founder says he was surprised to see his ideas used in the Mongolia special. That is why he plans to sue the show, demanding that the episode is retaped.
“We will demand through court that the 13th episode of the 3rd season of The Grand Tour, shot in our script, be reshot with the participation of the car Partisan created and that all copyright issues be settled with us, and only then can it be shown to a wide audience,” Mr. Postnikov says in the email sent to us.
Executive producer rejects any wrongdoing
Since all of the above are very serious accusations, we reached out to The Grand Tour to hear their side of the story and were contacted by Andy Wilman, the show’s executive producer, who completely denied Mr. Postnikov’s allegations.
“He did not come up with the idea of the three guys being dropped in the middle of nowhere and assemble the vehicle to reach civilization. We had that idea ourselves already, which is why we were looking around in the early stages of the story for ways in which to make that story happen,” Mr. Wilman told us over the phone.
He admitted to having talked to Partisan Motors’ founder early on but said the talks didn’t materialize in any way. “We had discussions with him in the early stages of development, but when we contacted him we already knew what our story was going to be,” Andy Wilman added. “I think the point is we would never contact anybody unless we already had the idea, we knew what we wanted to do,” he stressed.
Partisan One was indeed among the cars The Grand Tour considered for the Mongolia special – but it wasn’t the only one. “In the early planning stages, we looked at vehicles that already existed such as his vehicle [Partisan One] and the OX, which is a British vehicle that can be assembled on the ground. But in the end, we decided to build our own vehicle which was a hybrid of components,” the show’s mastermind explained.
So, why did they decide to build their own car instead of going with the Partisan One? “It was last year, so I have no memory of why we didn’t go with his vehicle. I can’t remember why we never used his particular car.”
As for Mr. Postnikov’s threats to file a lawsuit against The Grand Tour, Andy Wilman said: “He’s not contacted us, so we have no idea what he’s saying. We’ve no comments on that because we’ve got no contact from him.”
We contacted Partisan Motors’ founder via email yesterday and we relayed to him what The Grand Tour’s executive producer had to say about the allegations. We haven’t heard back from Mr. Postnikov yet.
Obviously, we’re not in a position to say who’s telling the truth. However, these are some very serious allegations, so if Mr. Postnikov goes ahead with his lawsuit, one of two things can happen: provided that he can back his claims with solid proof, he might get what he wants or, at the very least, a compensation. If not, then he could very well be countersued for defamation and anything else the show’s attorneys may come up with.