These days there is something for everyone on TV. But in particular, for automotive fans, there are some really good TV shows that focus on cars. Here is a rundown on some of the most popular ones...
Top Gear on BBC
The current format of Top Gear is a BAFTA and Emmy Award-winning BBC television series about motor vehicles, mainly cars. The programme is estimated to have over 350 million viewers worldwide, up to 8 million of whom watch the programme each week in the UK on BBC Two. Top Gear is presented by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, James May and The Stig, an anonymous test driver. This well loved show takes a look at new cars, reviews them, and is a hot favorite among viewers. The show is presented humorously and appeals to a wide audience, in addition to the car fans.
YouTube video: Bugatti Veyron Vs Plane on BBC Top Gear
Fifth Gear on Five
Fifth Gear (formerly 5th Gear) is a motoring magazine show on British television channel Five. The programme began its eleventh season on 30 April 2007. Fifth Gear first aired in 2002 as a replacement to the original incarnation of the BBC show Top Gear, which was cancelled in 2001 due to low ratings. Five originally wanted to carry on using the Top Gear name, however the BBC refused. Several of Top Gear's ex-presenters, including Quentin Willson, Tiff Needell and Vicki Butler-Henderson were hired by Five to present Fifth Gear. After the completion of Fifth Gear's first series, the BBC relaunched Top Gear in a new hour-long format presented by Jeremy Clarkson.
YouTube video: Fifth Gear - Ferrari Enzo vs McLaren F1
FutureCar on The Discovery Channel
This program is loved by car geeks. Each episode focuses on the future of the car – or the car of the future. What is exciting is a set of engineers a look at all sorts of possibilities in the automobile. For instance, they talk about cars being able to run on compressed air, doing away with the trip to the gas station. FutureCar was aired in four parts and is likely to be repeated by popular demand.
My Classic Car on TNN/Speed TV
This program is a favorite of those who are mechanically inclined in terms of restoring written off cars. The program shows towed in cars being transformed into shiny new cars. This used to be aired on TNN but is currently being shown on Speed TV. It is a terrific program for the do it yourselfer and also talks about how to value your car. This program is produced by Bradley-David Productions, the same people who made Ride On and Texas Hardtails. Dennis Gage is the program host and he is well known as a car collector. Brian Jackson who was Gage’s on camera co-host on Ride on is the off camera narrator here on My Classic Car.
YouTube video: Jay Leno's Tank Car segment from the My classic Car
Pimp My Ride on MTV
Pimp My Ride has a huge fan following for the way it is presented. The makers of this program convey that no car is totally useless no matter how battered. For Pimp My Ride, every ride can be pimped. In each episode a written-off car is taken up for restoration. The American host, Xzibit who also has a wide fan base along with the crew at Wet Coast Customs shows how you can correct any vehicle problem and zoom off into the sunset, riding happily ever after. This show airs on MTV and MTV2 and is currently on Season Three. The series begins with a twenty-year-old 1985 Ford Econoline car, which is ready to be scrapped, being taken up for pimping. The team adds custom rims, red velvet couches, a side post exhaust and a hot tub. Other cars being pimped are Chevies, Caprice, Honda Civic, etc. Guess what, if West Coast Customs are unable to pimp your ride, Xzibit gifts the customer a brand new car.
Some of the episodes from this program were aired in the UK with DJ Tim Westwood as the host with UK cars being customized. Pimp My Ride International shows European cars being pimped – and features hot hip-hop artists like Fat Joe and Lil’Jon.
Trick My Truck on CMT/MTV2
Trick My Truck on Country Music Television and MTV2 is similar to Pimp My Ride, working on semi-trailer trucks. On the show we see drivers with rigs who are invited and surprised. The company that modifies semi trailer trucks for this program are Chrome Shop Mafia with their distinctive stylized Tommygun logo. They visit the truck shop and surprise them, and while “tricking’ their truck, provide the truck shop with a spare truck from Ryder.
Two Guys Garage on Speed TV
Sam Memmolo of the Shadetree Mechanic and Crank & Chrome fame on TNN in the 90's has teamed up with Dave McBride on the automotive show Two Guys Garage. They look at hi tech automotive problems. This show covers things like painting, pistons, welding, wheel balancing, dyno and track testing and in fact, everything involved in customizing and coming out with a performance car. They show fabrication techniques and tips including how to drill a hole, tap a thread, welding and machining.
In addition to the practical tips, the hosts also visit popular shops in the auto industry and get experts as guests on the show, to add to the technical tips. They have friends come over with their cars to help them address interesting issues that viewers like to see. In its sixth season on Speed TV, this show will air twenty-six original episodes.
Trucks! on TV.com
This show is aimed at gearheads addicted to trucks.
Monster Garage on Channel 4, Discovery Channel
This program shows teams of mechanics convert ordinary vehicles into fantasy cars. Cookie, the host, drives a different team each week to turn the everyday car into a crazy lawnmower or muck spreader. Monster Garage indulges the human urge to innovate and modify engines within a tight time frame. The show also shows the viewers what happens behind the scenes.
YouTube video: Monster Garage on Discovery Channel
Car Torque, Top Car and Laat Wiel on SABC3, South Africa
Viewers have rated Car Torque as the most popular motoring show on TV in South Africa. Other Motoring shows in South Africa are Top Car and Laat Wiel.
The past episodes of most of the favorite automotive shows can be viewed on youtube.com or on the TV show’s official websites. Some of them even allow you to download them for extended viewing pleasure.