Features: Middle East Special: (BMW Z3 • Mazda MX-5 • Fiat Barchetta)
Original air date: December 26, 2010
Seeking to re-enact the Three Wise Men’s journey to Bethlehem, the presenters head to their starting point in northern Iraq, with each bringing with them a second-hand two-seater convertible, bought from Georgia on a budget of £3,500 – Clarkson picks a Mazda MX-5, Hammond chooses a Fiat Barchetta and May goes for a BMW Z3. Landing at Arbil International Airport in Iraqi Kurdistan by cargo plane, the presenters face an extensive array of barriers and so find themselves trying to find a safe route to their final destination. Along the way, the trio try to cross into Iran with little success, find themselves driving fast for safety after mistakenly entering the region of Şırnak in Turkey during Kurdish insurgents’ attempts to claim it, modify their cars to cross the deserts of Syria, find gifts for the “baby Jesus” in Damascus, head into Jordan and stop at a two-thousand-year-old Roman circus in Jerash to invent the sport of “Old Testament NASCAR”, visit the Sea of Galilee in Israel, and stop off at the Mount of Olives to look over Jerusalem and decide who had brought the best car on their journey, with all of them concluding that Hammond’s Fiat is the best. Their trip ends with them guided to a nativity scene, where they bring their gifts to the baby Jesus, only to make an unexpected discovery.