Jeremy Clarkson feared he would die when a drug-crazed gang member held a machine gun to his head.
The star, 58, was ambushed in Detroit in 1997 and returned to the scene in the new series of The Grand Tour.
He said: “Somebody held a gun against my head in Detroit. It’s a long, complicated story but we were trying to do some filming and some people thought we were trespassing on their turf.
“It was pretty nasty. And this time, 100 yards from where that happened, I was having dumplings in a goose broth.”
A source said the experience left the crew at the time terrified.
Clarkson went through the ordeal in 1997
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The insider said: “Jeremy was filming in a ruined railway station but was warned by cops not to go inside as there were warring gang factions operating. But he ignored the advice and was surrounded by gangs. Thankfully, he talked himself out of the situation.”
Clarkson was back in Detroit to film a feature on American muscle cars with Richard Hammond and James May.
He said the city had changed beyond recognition. “I’m sure if you actually lived there you wouldn’t call it interesting, you’d call it dangerous,” he said.
“But the chrome shoots of rejuvenation are growing again so you can actually eat quite well there, you can stay in a nice hotel, you can go short distances from A to B without being shot.”
The trio drive a Ford Mustang RTR Spec 3, a Dodge Challenger SRT Demon and a Hennessey Exorcist Camaro in the opening episode of the third series.
Jeremy with James May and Richard Hammond in Detroit
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After staging a drag race on deserted streets and performing a noise test in an old theatre, they find an abandoned car factory and turn it into a race track.
The hosts also visit locations including China and Mongolia as part of the Amazon Prime series.
Clarkson sparked controversy this week after saying male presenters should accept they have no chance of winning BBC jobs ahead of female rivals and instead go “down the bar”.
He also blamed his recent weight gain on having given up tobacco for an e-cigarette. He said: “I eat quite well but I’m just getting fatter and fatter. I didn’t want to quit. No good comes of quitting.”
The Grand Tour airs on Amazon Prime Video on January 18.
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