Someone said the Alabama incident was staged, leading me to believe it probably was...but how the hell do you make up something like that?
"...nevertheless, we all felt that we would cause, at worst, a ripple of offence no deeper than that which might be generated among the residents of Cornwall by three visitors driving their cars through Truro with “Cream teas are rubbish” painted down the sides."
- It's a believable reaction. A Top Gear Magazine road test of muscle cars in the US mentions a Harley-Davidson rider confronting the writers in a layby and pulling a gun on them because they overtook him! It's a similar culture clash to the TV episode - in the UK the biker might curse at the car driver or stop and a try and pick a fight but in the southern US the biker grabs his handgun - in the article the British writers were admiring the unintentional irony of somebody waving a gun their face shouting "you tried to kill me!"
- Of course, the fact that (as far as I'm aware) no legal action occurred probably casts more than a bit of doubt on the issue. If it's not staged, there's video evidence of people committing some very serious crimes. Even if the Top Gear crew wasn't interested in pressing civil charges, the government would probably be less accommodating. I'm gonna go with fake.
- There is a Behind the Scenes Top Gear book that talks about the various challenge's and how they were set up, it states that this incident was very real and mentions some dangerous things that weren't shown on camera.