Two years after the number plate controversy aired, the then host of Top Gear told the Argentine group that tried to track him down to sod off. Jeremy Clarkson’s Christmas Day tweet from 2016 read: “Happy Christmas to everyone. Except the Tierra Del Fuego people of Argentina. You lot can sod off.” When Clarkson and his Top Gear colleagues Richard Hammond and James May visited the country in 2013, they travelled across Chile and Argentina during the two-part Patagonia Special.
The three co-stars of the famous show started their journey in Argentina, with May in a Lotus Esprit, Hammond in a Ford Mustang and Clarkson in a Porsche 928.
They would drive all the way to the southernmost city in Argentina, Ushuaia, where a distinct feature on Mr Clarkson’s car would spark fury from Argentine locals.
Mr Clarkson’s Porsche, while described as “boring” by his colleagues, boasted a ‘H982 FKL’ number plate, appearing to be a reference to Britain’s victory in the 1982 conflict.
As the three stars prepared to arrive in Ushuaia, word was sent that protests were being readied by furious locals.
When Mr Clarkson, Mr Hammond, Mr May and their crew checked in at a nearby hotel in Tierra del Fuego, Argentine Falklands veterans had arrived with a van decorated in nationalist themes.
“Las Malvinas son Argentinas!” (“The Falklands are Argentinian!”) was written across the side of the vehicle.
The demonstrators threatened the BBC crew, stating that if they continued to film, they would be forced to cause trouble.
While some protestors even claimed the number plate was fake, the show’s producers attempted to negotiate with Argentinian officials, saying that the number plate was not fake, which the officials claimed it was, and that it would be removed before a game of car football would commence.
However, attempts to please the officials were unsuccessful. Afterward, Mr Clarkson received word that they must leave the Tierra del Fuego area immediately.
The crew eventually made a swift departure, while Clarkson, Hammond and May remained in the hotel.
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The Telegraph reported after the incident that the BBC knew about the offending number plate before the vehicle had even been purchased.
The BBC claimed that no one on Top Gear had any idea about the offending number plate until it rolled off the shipping container, describing it as an “unfortunate coincidence”.
Despite the traumatic affair, Mr Clarkson remained in a jovial mood about the incident.
In 2016, he said: “If I ever go back there again the number plate will be W3 WON, we won. I’ve got no time for it.”