If you want an insight into just how bad the original Top Gear was before Clarkson made his influence felt, take a gander at this clip, it offends in just about every possible way. One of the reasons it's so bad of course, is it's tailored to the brief, that is: do a humorous piece on the Trabant. Integrity flies out the window and hides in the neighbour's coal bunker when journalists do that, things like facts and reality become awkward and suborned to the brief.
The other thing that sticks out, is that the journalist (I can't be bothered to look up his name) really sticks his foot in his mouth early on in the piece. He talks about "lifting off" into a corner and complains about the free wheel facility when he tries this in the Trabant. Right okay--so he doesn't know how to drive safely, a good deal of the cars on the road in 89 were rear wheel drive and lifting off in say, a 3 series BMW sans traction control while going into a corner, is gonna see your tail floating past your ear pretty quick. What's worse, is that this howler makes it to the cut, which means the editor and probably the producer don't know any better than their journo--flip's sake.