Hooniverse Asks – Is MotorWeek Your Automotive News Program?

With all the attention this week going to all things Top Gear – what with season 16 of the original kicking off just as season 1 of the American edition comes to a close – it’s easy to forget that an even more venerated automotive TV show is celebrating its 30th year on the air. Or perhaps MotorWeek is just that easy to forget.
With his jovial nature and impeccable diction, John Davis has been driving the MotorWeek bus since its inception, and while he has had to move the seat back to make room for his expanding girth, Davis shows no less enthusiasm today than he did thirty years ago. Upon their 20th anniversary, they noted that to keep up with modern ADD they had increased the number of cuts in a typical road test something like 20-fold. That, along with extraneous zooms and Davis’ breathless commentary seem to have been enough to keep the show relevant with today’s ever changing PBS demographic.
But what about you, do you find Goss’ Garage to be more than just a thinly veiled product placement? Do you watch the news and wonder if Jessica Choksey is in fact paralyzed from the neck down? What about all those barrels of oil they keep bringing up in their road tests, do you even know what that’s all about?
That’s the question here, because if you were nodding appreciatively at that last bit, you know more about MotorWeek than you likely let on. So what do you say, is MotorWeek a guilty pleasure? Does John Davis’ unique enunciation and the show’s commercial-free socialistic nature resonate with you? In some ways it’s so hokey that it could be considered equally driven or drivel, but aside from being the antithesis of cool, they do seem to know what they’re talking about. In fact, truth be told, when they do their annual best of the year awards episode, there’s not much you could argue with regarding their decisions.
So, what do you say, is MotorWeek really your automotive news program?
Come on, tell the truth.
Image source: [mpt.org]
BTW, I forgot to give proper props to SSurfer321 for suggesting yesterday’s topic. You go, man.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 64 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here

  1. Maxichamp Avatar

    Motorweek is like the other PBS mainstay– America's Test Kitchen. You love to hate it because it's so poorly produced and cheesy, but it's got lots of great consumer information.
    P.S. Bring back Lisa Barrow, the only competent (and least annoying) reporter on that show.
    One last thing, try to read the above post in Davis's voice.

  2. BlackfootFlash Avatar

    In the early 90's, I watched it religiously – simply because it was the only thing available. As the web exploded, I drifted away from it. Some months ago, it showed up as a Tivo suggestion, so I gave it another try.
    Absolutely unwatchable – so I'm back to getting my auto fix from my RSS feed.

    1. jerjozwik Avatar

      oh right, tivo. i forgot i have one. ill give motor week another shot.

  3. Maymar Avatar

    Thanks to Youtube's Bajabusta, it's my best source for 17-year old automotive content. Little to no interest in watching the recent stuff though.

    1. Maxichamp Avatar

      Yeah, that is truly a labor of love. I'm still waiting for him to upload MW's review of the 1st gen Isuzu Impulse.

      1. Maymar Avatar

        Cursed Nibbles, I banish thee with a rescue attempt

  4. LTDScott Avatar

    Isn't Motorweek moving to HD Theater?
    I haven't watched Motorweek in years. Until I saw an ad for it on HD Theater (which does have some good car programming), I had no idea where to find it on TV.

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      It is already there… and it's still boring.

      1. vwminispeedster Avatar

        but now it's boring in HIGH DEFINITION

    2. ErikT Avatar

      It's filmed and produced by MPT (Maryland Public Television), but it's shown on HD Theater and Speed…at least I'm pretty sure it's still on Speed. They probably sell the broadcast rights to help pay for the show.
      Back when I was growing up I watched it whenever I could…nowadays the only things I tend to find useful are the long-term fleet updates, and the occational test drive reveiw.

  5. Charles_Barrett Avatar

    I watch MotorWeek and America's Test Kitchen when I catch them; I don't plan my viewing schedule around them but I find them worth watching. I do miss Car & Driver TV, which I used to catch regularly on TNN/SpikeTV.

  6. P161911 Avatar

    I'm pretty sure My Classic Car is still going strong. It used to sometimes find its way into primetime on Speed in the off season, as little as a couple of months ago.
    Now I have to find an online source for that since I ditched satellite and cable.

  7. Justin Avatar

    Totally read the post in John Davis voice.

  8. engineerd Avatar

    MotorWeek is still on?
    Huh…I guess that sums it up nicely.

  9. tonyola Avatar

    I stopped watching Motorweek once they got on the "green" bandwagon. Nothing inherently wrong with being green, but lets face it, E85 news isn't entertaining and I can go to church if I want to be preached at.

    1. CJinSD Avatar

      Besides, ethanol is on the verge of making food a luxury good. Maybe there is something inherently wrong with being green. It is just poorly disguised misanthrope.

  10. Matt Avatar

    I have been watching Motorweek since they were doing 0-55 testing. I try to watch it weekly on PBS, but it seems as though my local branch of PBS doesn't have enough $$$ to keep it running on a weekly basis. Sometimes I'll tune in at 9:30 and there is some sort of "Personal Power" quasi-infomercial playing. But I digress…
    Goss's garage used to show neat tips and tricks on keeping your car on the road. Now the advice is so in-tune with the product placements that the advice that is given is neither pertinent or even good advice 90% of the time. His most recent adventure into "restoring" the old Cadillac made me cringe – he was laying down Bondo on the doors that had to be 3/4" thick.
    The "environmental success stories" are pointless filler – I don't care that such-and-such a city is using CNG for their snowplow fleet. I get it. There are things other than diesel for municipal fleets. Stop telling me about it, and quit pushing ethanol on me. It's a scam.
    Jennifer Choksey is best utilized voicing over video. Every Yolanda Vasquez (sp?) piece is also as pointless as the stupid things she is trying to sell.
    A couple of years ago, MW tested a Ferrari F430 Scuderia… in what looked like an extended driveway. I think that they might have topped 30 mph for a while. I also seem to remember that John Davis' pronunciation of "Scuderia" was repeatedoly incorrect as well. If you are not actually testing a car (acceleration/braking/handling, etc.), don't bother airing it.
    Otherwise, there is good information to take away, and it's nice to see the cars moving in HD vs. seeing them static in a magazine. I hope MW sticks around, especially on PBS.

  11. kah Avatar

    Nope Autoblog podcast and McElroy Autoline Daily are my news shows. Top Gears my entertainment. I also like Mike Brewer and Edd China's Wheeler Dealers but only if it is a show I haven't seen yet.
    Motorweek seems to love everything good or bad and John Davis always seems to be shouting. I watched on PBS as a young-in when it was the only US auto show and we only got 4 channels with the rabbit ears. Yes I liked it then. Ok confession, I still watch now and then but its not on my DVR's list os stuff to hunt for. Good luck to you Mr. Davis and congrads on 30 years. WTG

  12. K5ING Avatar

    I used to watch Motorweek back when it was the only game in town. The one thing I can't stand is Davis's over-the-top "radio voice". It smacks of someone hired to do the show because of his voice, not his auto expertise. It drives me nuts.
    The show also seems to be nothing more than advertising. Have they ever said "don't buy this car" during a review?

  13. joshuman Avatar

    "So, what do you say, is MotorWeek really your automotive news program?"
    No, the Hooniverse is.

    1. bzr Avatar

      No, the Hoonicast is!

      1. Black Steelies Avatar

        Better answer.

    2. ZomBee Racer Avatar

      Praised be to Murilee…

  14. SSurfer321 Avatar

    Thanks for the hat tip.
    I'll watch Motorweek if I am up early enough and remember its on my local PBS affiliate. It's better than the current cartoons or religious programming out there.

  15. Eggwich Avatar

    Motorweek is awesome. I don't watch it religiously, but I always enjoy it. I know everyone loves to slob Top Gear's knob, but I haven't seen an episode of it since I lost cable in 09 and I don't really feel like I missed anything. I mean I find the show entertaining, but I don't feel like I'm missing anything informative, just supercars, the super ego, and hearing about how most every car under 100K sucks.
    With Motorweek, I may not make it through the whole episode, but the parts I do see I can depend on to be informative and pretty accurate. I like seeing real world cars being reviewed, and compared to other real world cars.
    Reading others comments here, maybe I should start downloading the autoblog podcast and insideline daily one….

  16. hwyengr Avatar

    Motorweek is the one enterprise that truly stands to lose out with the paddle shifter craze. A road test without the rowing-the-gearbox scene isn't worth watching.

  17. RichardKopf Avatar

    I like watching old Motorweek for the reviews; the ones they did back in the `90s. Also, some of John Davis' pronunciations are off, which makes it funnier.

  18. From_a_Buick_6 Avatar

    Growing up, I used to watch it religiously on Saturday mornings from the late '80s to the mid-'90s. My dad always watched, along with This Old House, The New Yankee Workshop and all the other PBS how-to fare. I was all of about two at the time, so I just sat there with him and absorbed it all, as if John Davis enthusiastically reviewing a Chevy Corsica hatchback or Norm Abram using his router was the same as watching Mr. Rogers' talk about feelings while changing his shoes. This probably explains a lot about the person I've become today.
    Then around '96 or so it seemingly dropped off WTTW-Chicago's schedule. I've seen it only occasionally in the ensuing 15 years, and, with the advent of the internet, it just doesn't hold my interest anymore. It doesn't help that, save for some tweaked graphics and a somewhat grating acknowledgement of the green movement, it's the same low-production value show it was two decades ago. Same story with my magazine subscriptions…I used to eagerly await my latest issue of Motor Trend and read it front to back. Now, my freebie subscription to Car & Driver gets largely ignored.

    1. JayP Avatar

      Ok, as a teenager mad about cars in the 80's, there were 3 ways to get my car fix:
      Wait for monthly mags,
      Got to the dealers and get run off because we'd been there 10 times to look at the Dodge Stealth RT,
      or wait for Motorweek.
      And did we watch it. MW was the gospel according to us. We watched the Yugo get reviewed! Good God we were starved.
      21117, drawerings and these "safety glasses".
      No wonder we couldn't get laid.

  19. MattC Avatar

    Motorweek is like Ryan Seacrest's career, safe, boring, and unwatchable.

    1. Charles_Barrett Avatar

      So, did John Davis sleep with Merv Griffin to get his TV career, too…? 😉

      1. Black Steelies Avatar

        No but I bet he gets his tips frosted at the same place.

  20. packratmatt Avatar

    Motorweek is like crack. I don't care how well it's made; I just want more crack.

  21. ptschett Avatar

    Somewhere in my parents' basement is a VHS tape labeled "Motorweek '88". I was 7 years old and had mastered the VCR, so I taped it at random intervals for a while. I remember watching and re-watching a test of the Ford LTD Crown Victoria ad nauseum (not for me, but it had that effect on everyone else), and I remember being irritated that some darn gun maker was bothering Chevy about the name of a coupe.

  22. ZomBee Racer Avatar

    I'm amazed that show is still on. I honestly had no idea.

  23. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar

    OK, I know i'm late to comment, but does anyone here remember when at the beginning of the show the taillights that drove off behind the logo used to be that of a Mustang, but now they are an 80's Bonneville?

%d bloggers like this: