The Top 10 Must-Watch Automotive YouTube Channels
As much as we’d love to see a new truly gearhead-centric TV channel in the mold of the original Speedvision launch and thrive here in the U.S., we realize that the chances of that happening are incredibly remote. We’ll just have to be content with whatever “automotive programming” the Nielsen Research bootlickers in charge of the media content and delivery hydras deem us worthy of (“Coming up on HisTLCovery, an all new episode of Shouting Meathead Bondo-Sculptors…”) and that’s that, right?
WRONG! The 800-million pound gorilla of the online video hosting enclosure, YouTube, is positively dripping with channels devoted to the Church of Internal Combustion. Some are super straight-laced and serious, and some will cause you to laugh so hard you’ll need a change of undergarments, but all deserve to be checked out at least once. However, we can think of at least 10 automotive YouTube channels to which you ought to be subscribed (assuming you aren’t already).
Although the channel is named for a magazine that focuses on new car tests and reviews, the Motor Trend channel is anything but a one-trick Nyan Cat. In addition to shows like “Ignition” and “Head 2 Head” and once-a-year specials like “Best Driver’s Car,” the channel is also home to the off-roading fun of “Dirt Every Day,” the muscle car modding how-to of “Hot Rod Garage” and, of course, the can’t-miss vehicular tomfoolery that is “Roadkill.” We would go so far as saying it’s a channel with something for everyone, but it comes damn close.
Much like Motor Trend’s channel, Drive serves up programming that caters to a variety of automotive interests. Love the rumble of a hairy-chested American V8? There’s “Big Muscle” with Mike Musto. Modified super sedans and sports cars? Check out Matt Farah’s show, “Tuned.” Throw in the various multi-part seasonal features, new car tests, car cleaning and detailing tips, and discussion of automotive news and trends with prominent people within the hobby and you have a damn fine place to spend your time on the Tubes of You. And if you prefer to get your Drive the old fashioned way, you can find it on NBCSN in half-hour doses.
If you’re going through severe British motoring show withdrawals now that Top Gear as we all knew and loved it is no mas and the three goofballs that used to host it are probably half a year or more away from debuting their new program on Amazon Prime, you might want to take XCar for a test drive. Granted, they don’t have a tame racing driver, a camping trailer destruction fetish (not a public one, anyway…) or a gazillion pound production budget, but they do have a talented production team, a cadre of capable hosts, and a firm grasp of what their audience likes: Coolcars new and old.
Regular Car Reviews
You wouldn’t think run-of-the-mill vehicles you’d find on a used car lot and references to pop culture, classical literature and life in central Pennsylvania mixed with random bathroom and/or sexual humor delivered in mental-patient-y voices would be a recipe for great not-TV. Alas, you would be very, very wrong, because Regular Car Reviews is all that and more, yet it works brilliantly. Helmed by the nameless, faceless narrator Mr. Regular and his equally-anonymous co-producer/balladeer/sidekick The Roman, the good ship RCR delivers each and every Monday a video review of, in many instances, a car or truck (and the occasional motorcycle) to which most of us wouldn’t give a second glance.
Of course, the manner in which RCR reviews cars is far different from how MotorWeek goes about it, or even Top Gear. Nowhere else will you see a smooth tracking shot of a vehicle driving along while the narrator talks about what music was popular the year it was built abruptly cut to a dimly-lit basement with audio of the same narrator mumbling a nursery rhyme in a guttural, gravelly voice as he contemplates various sharp objects. It’s certainly not for everybody, but once you meet Mr. Regular and his various alter egos like Honda devotee Harold Slovinsky and 98.3 The Beer Belly’s own DJ Double Lunch, we think you’ll get along just fine.
Car magazines made in Great Britain are routinely regarded as some of the best in the world, and Evo is among the cream of that high-quality crop. No, you won’t find any diesel hatchback reviews or mini-minivan comparison tests between its front and back covers, but you will find a cornucopia of spectacular photography and engaging prose pertaining to cars that concentrate on the fun of driving. Thus, it shouldn’t come as a huge shock that the mag’s channel is pretty much the same thing, except the pictures are moving and the words (along with the glorious music of internal combustion) can be heard.
Chris Harris on Cars
Hooning the latest and greatest supercars on the planet in front of cameras sounds like a dream job, and Chris Harris certainly makes it look like one. But as he will likely tell you, he and usual producer/cameraman Neil Carey put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into each episode of Chris Harris on Cars.But the results are oh-so-worth-it, namely because Chris almost never fails to address the question on everyone’s lips regarding a new high performance car: Will it drift?
Jay Leno’s Garage
Of the current crop of celebrities, Jay Leno likely has more car guy cred than all the rest put together. That’s been rather common knowledge for a long time, but the general public didn’t really get to see that side of the silver-maned mirth merchant on a regular basis…until he and longtime employer NBC established a YouTube channel called Jay Leno’s Garage. Most of the videos feature Leno giving viewers a tour of and taking test drives of cars and motorcycles in his collection (or vehicles belonging to manufacturers or friends and acquaintances), while there are some neat videos highlighting stuff like tools, old industrial machinery, and “Jay’s Book Club,” where the Great Chinned One invites the author of a gearhead-centric tome to stop by and talk about his or her latest work. Hopefully the rate of new content additions will stay about the same even after Jay’s CNBC show of the same name debuts on October 7th.
When the tagline for your website is “Drive Tastefully,” can the videos you produce be anything other than gorgeous? Not if you want to be taken seriously they can’t, so it’s a good thing that the audiovisual productions of Petrolicious are unfailingly fantastic. Whether the subject is a café racer cobbled together in a home garage, a vintage race car valued at eight figures or something else that looks cool and makes great noise, count on Petrolicious to cover that vehicle (and its caretaker) in an artfully informative fashion.
Although the automotive world has two great chuckle-conjuring satirical websites in Sniff Petrol and Autoblopnik (and a few others, at least on certain days of the year) to call its own, it doesn’t really have an internet outlet for tongue-in-cheek car videos…until January of this year. That was when Car Bros first hit the web, and while these guys have only uploaded four videos thus far, each one is a hoot, with wildly exaggerated and erroneous info delivered in deadpan worthy of ONN. We can’t wait to see what these lampoon-happy hoons roll out next.
MotorWeek has had astonishing staying power. While similar TV programs branded as and staffed by buff books like AutoWeek, Motor Trend and Car and Driver have come and gone, the Maryland-based show – which used to be only shown on various PBS affiliates across the country but has since been viewable on various cable outlets (presently Velocity) – has kept going strong for coming up on 34 years with its generally straightforward, just-the-facts-ma’am approach to doling out car reviews, news, feature stories and maintenance advice. It’s a real testament to the dedication and focus that creator/producer/host John Davis and his team possess.
However, if you aren’t following the show’s YouTube channel, you’re missing out big time. No, there isn’t a plethora of new content that you won’t see on the telly up there, but there are about umpteen butt-tons of archived vehicle reviews and other segments up there stretching all the way back to the pilot episode. From the optimism surrounding the latest wares from brands that have since exited the U.S. (or gone belly-up altogether), to the excitement surrounding a V8 producing a shade over 200 horsepower and all sorts of other fun nuggets in between, you could easily spend hours (if not days) going through MotorWeek’s back catalog.