Streaming services have taken everyone’s interest into account, including car enthusiasts. As the number of car repair and restoration shows available increases, viewers may be wondering what the creme de la creme is.
While learning about the intricate machines at work, many car enthusiasts can see the interiors of dream cars that may number in the dozens or, on the other hand, find a quick way to fix their daily commute; that’s why car shows have become so common. Whether repairing, restoring or completely renovating: each of these programs stands out as one of the best available.
Jay Leno’s Garage
Peacock, Hulu, YouTube TV
From late-night TV megastar to legendary car collector, Jay Leno has produced and starred in Jay Leno’s Garage for almost a decade. The web and TV series won the 2016 Primetime Emmy Award for “Outstanding Special Class – Short-Format Nonfiction Program” and has 6 seasons (the last one aired on December 8, 2021).
Leno often brings along famous friends as he reviews iconic cars from the past decade, including several classic and vintage cars, a few supercars (like the McLaren P1) as well as restored gems. For the 6 seasons of Jay Leno’s Garage, Leno based production out of his own garage: Jay Leno’s Big Dog Garage, located in Burbank, California. Expect a witty Leno to break down each of these vehicles with detailed analysis. He is a classic car purist at heart, owning dozens of rare automobiles.
Discovery Channel, Discovery+
Hosted by Jesse James, Garage Monster is an American television series that first aired on the Discovery Channel. The long-running show has been so successful that it has produced video games and several books. After its initial conclusion on June 12, 2006, Garage Monster paused for almost 15 years. The series had an early streaming resumption which launched on Discovery+ later on January 4, 2021.
The premise of this show is extremely unique, as two teams are tasked with transforming an ordinary vehicle into a “monster machine”. After receiving a budget, teams must complete the vehicle in seven days: the first for design, the next five for construction, and the last for testing the “monster”. Viewers are in for a treat as Jesse James steals the show with his bold and daring animation style, often mingling with crews and almost always creating his own “monster” in the process.
YouTube TV, Amazon Prime Video
One of the oldest series, MotorWeek has been reviewing automobiles since its inception on October 15, 1981. The PBS program has been hosted by John Davis since its inception and has aired 41 seasons, making it a classic watch for car enthusiasts.
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MotorWeek is the most conservative of the programs. While some shows veer towards comedy, MotorWeek keeps the focus solely on the cars (and viewers can expect thoughtful vehicle analysis). For the majority of their seasons, MotorWeek has also remained consistent in its format: a test drive is conducted, followed by a comparison test, and finally, a segment which may include a preview of new vehicles or previous vehicles they have covered, called “Retro Review” .
In pursuit of classic cars
Hulu, Youtube TV, Sling TV, Amazon Prime Video
A series made for vintage car enthusiasts. In pursuit of classic cars is an American documentary series presented by Wayne Carini of F-40 Motorsports. Premiering in 2008, the series has 16 seasons and over 190 episodes in its run. While new models receive all the limelight, In pursuit of classic cars does exactly what the title says.
The series looks at classic cars from all eras. Whether American or European, Carini’s drive and ambition to turn any rust bucket back to its former glory is mesmerizing to watch. Each vehicle is studied beforehand, restored, and sometimes sold with a good return. Any classic car lover will love this series, because the passion that Wayne Carini exudes is welcome.
Hulu, YouTube TV, Sling TV, Amazon Prime Video
Revision premiered in 2004, launching 9 successful seasons, and is hosted by automotive designer Chip Foose and his co-host Chris Jacobs. It had the same principle Pimp my ride in that there was an unconscious “mark” that is designated by friends to be “revised”. Their car is often damaged and acquired by the team by trickery.
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fans of Pimp my ride who felt the show was a bit too extravagant will love this series because it has all the imagination, without the extra “excess” Pimp my ride came with. Once the team has the marque’s car in Overhaulin’s garage, it begins its transformation using parts donated through its various sponsors. When finished, the show ends with the “brand” being surprised by their “revised” vehicle, often with overwhelmingly positive responses.
Car Masters – From Rust to Riches
The 2018 American reality series was produced by Netflix. Mark Towle leads this team where they support projects from Gotham Garage, which has built a wide selection of props for movie studios and TV shows over the years (those props are sometimes very obvious).
car masters takes a similar approach to other TV shows. Mark Towle, Constance Nunes and the rest of the crew find a classic car and attempt to restore it for a profit. The general theme of car masters takes a look at Hot Rods and Lowriders, showcasing Temecula’s Californian culture and beauty. What is also great news for fans is that it is available to stream on many platforms.
fast and strong
Hulu, YouTube TV, Amazon Prime Video, Sling TV
fast and strong featured Richard Rawlings and his team at the Dallas-based Gas Monkey Garage. The reality-style show was a hit on the Discovery Channel, where it ran for 16 seasons.
fast and strong featured a similar premise to its contemporaries, where the team at Gas Monkey Garage sought out tired, run-down cars which they restored and turned into a profit. Rawlings has genuine star appeal and makes an excellent performer, while also producing quality projects. As the show’s spinoff began and Rawlings began to pursue other projects, he confirmed that the show ended in its 16th season.
Top of the line
HBO Max, Amazon Prime
Perhaps the most famous motor show of all time, Top of the line is a British car program that was conceived as a revived version of the 1977 show. Originally hosted by Jeremy Clarkson, the series premiered in 2002. With 31 seasons to date, the series has become famous for its mix of comedy bits and his detailed analysis of the latest models. After Clarkson’s departure in the mid-2010s, the show went through several presenters until permanent hosts Andrew Flintoff and Paddy McGuiness were announced in 2019.
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The show focuses on examining a series of cars, where it compares related models on a track and various obstacle courses, but it’s much more than that. Each show’s hosts eventually develop a bond, and the on-screen chemistry makes it one of the greatest shows to air. Top of the line is renowned for its production sets, as the crew travels the world, often for breathtaking views.
The Grand Tour
A sort of sequel to Top of the linethis Amazon Prime series features the former host of Top of the line, Jeremy Clarkson. The Grand Tour stars Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May and first premiered in November 2016.
Similar to Top of the line, The Grand Tour is divided into segments. A series of cars are selected where they compete in several automotive challenges, with talking segments featuring celebrities in between. The trio hosts deliver truly magnetic performances, wit, humor and a deep passion for automobiles are showcased in every episode. In recent seasons, The Grand Tour moved on to specials, where the trio would be sent on expeditions around the world, only with the bare minimum and select vehicles capable of (sometimes) handling extremes, often to the humor of the audience.
The British television series is one of the longest running and most successful automotive series. Hosted by former dealer Mike Brewer, Wheeler Dealers has over 250 episodes and led to a spin-off series titled Wheeler dealers swap.
The show’s premise has all the do-it-yourselfers in mind, costs, labor, and profits are analyzed after Brewer purchases the vehicle and his mechanics get to work. While Brewer does a fantastic job with the vehicles, his mind often comes up with great innovations to common problems around the auto shop that really showcase his team’s genius.
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