Hooniverse Asks- What's Your Favorite Car-Related TV Show?

You can’t fulfill all your automotive entertainment needs on Hooniverse alone, or even the vast intergalactic wasteland that is the Internet. No, sometimes you’ve got to plop down in front of the TV and get some good wrench-turning, tire smoking, auction blocking goodness.

Across even basic cable there’s plenty of racing, ride-pimping and tweedy English beratement of all-things not British. And, while you might not find that everything on the tube floats your boat, you surely have one or two shows that spark your plugs.

So, do you get blue when Pinks isn’t on? Does the hacked-up editions of last year’s Top Gear on BBC America give you the warm and fuzzies? How about panoply of perfect performers that pass the stage during Speed’s comprehensive B&J Auction coverage?

If you have a TV, and your reading this, in all likelihood you’ve sen one or more of these shows. One of my favorites used to be a PBS show called Shade Tree Mechanic, with a cheerful rolly-polly guy who would do everything from changing the brakes on an F150 to building a Cobra kit car, but that’s just me.

So, let us know what your favorite passive pastime is, and let’s keep it to the stuff that’s actually on TV, and not the clandestine downloads of shows from other counties. And now for a few words from our sponsors. . .

Image sources: [Speed TV, MotorworldHype.com]

52 Comments

  1. Once upon a time ago I used to watch Trucks! with Stacey David, then followed him to Gearz… until it became a PITA to keep figuring out when an episode was to air. Tried others, but nothing really floated my boat, most were bolt on fests with annoying hosts. I may have to track down the Shade Tree Mechanic though.
    Top Gear is an easy choice, though I get my episodes fresh from the UK via methods…

  2. I have an odd affection for Wheeler Dealers and Autotrader. In fact, just about all of the Discovery/HD Theater auto shows are interesting- they just don't seem to have enough episodes to pull from.

    1. I don't understand the appeal of Wheeler Dealers. One guy buys car, another spends a couple of days (probably 10-20 man hours) fixing it up. Guy sells car for slight profit (not enough to even cover a fraction of the labor).
      Can anyone explain this to me? Or is it just about the mechanic doing his work (which is cool).

      1. It's the mechanic work, and the fact that they usually feature some quirky vehicles. The premise of the "flip" is clearly fake, but who doesn't want to watch a tall, graying Brit replace the trim on a 1st Gen GTI?
        Yeah, ok, point taken.

  3. Ahhh, yes – Shade Tree Mechanic what a great show that was. back when Spike was still TNN. Miss that sometimes, less MMA more cool stuff (Dukes of Hazzard reruns!)

  4. Since I do not own a teevee, I am going to drop TV from you question.
    I like Car Talk. It is very funny and informative. Does it made my blood boil with racing excitement? No, but every time I listen, I feel entertained and satisfied.

  5. Since I have no teevee, I am dropping it from the question.
    I like Car Talk. It is very, very funny and informative. Listening to Tom and Ray puts a smile on my face. Sure, my blood doesn't boil with racing excitement, but every time I listen, I feel entertained and informed, not as though I wasted an hour.

  6. Since I subscribe to the cheapest cable package available, I don't receive Spike, Speed or Discovery HD. The only automotive show broadcast is Motorweek, weekend mornings at 10am on PBS.
    Although now I am able to stream TopGear Season 10 from Netflix, so I've got that going for me.

  7. I've only got basic cable, so I don't get all the real nifty channels. They had the Speed Channel on the TV at a bar I was imbibing in last night, and we were watching Pinks, the drag racing show. That was fun. I don't get to see that show very often. Hell, there was a '59 Mercedes drag car, a Gremlin, and a V8 Vega. What's not to like about that?
    I was looking forward to Motor city Garage on Discovery Channel, but on the first episode they completely raped a running, driving, complete Model T into a hacked-up gasser. Shit like that really pisses me off. That show sucks, it's all been done before.

    1. Not to mention that Motor City Motors is a complete rip-off of Monster Garage (of course, MCM doesn't have the game, nor the badass factor that Monster Garage had). IMHO, that show turned out to be more drama than anything else. I don't even know if it made it past the sixth episode before getting yanked, or at least I haven't seen anymore hype about it.

  8. Top Gear (and use the interweb to stay current) is my top favorite. My wife even laughed at the Morris Minor joke. I like the Shade Tree Mechanic and any of those Trucks!-type shows with the country boy who does a lot of body work. I never know when any of those are on but when I see them, I like them. That Factories show on NatGeo is pretty good. I think I even have that one set to record on the downstairs DVR. Goodwood, when it is on, is fun for me to watch.
    Of course the best TV show is live (or recently recorded) racing.

  9. I miss the days when Spike used to be TNN. They used to have a good block of shows on Saturday or Sunday morning (can't remember) that I loved watching as a kid. Plenty of cool racing programs with swamp buggies, mud racing, etc, etc. Who can forget "Diamond P Motorsports presents 'And They Walked Away 32!'" at the end of their shows?
    Nowadays, HD Theater has some good stuff. Wheeler Dealer is right up my alley. Buy junker "modern classics" cheap and fix them up to their former glory.

    1. I remember that "Motor Block" on TNN… One season they had Danica Patrick do the introductions between shows. And Car & Driver TV led the block, hosted by Larry Webster (who did a good job of hostin it, in my opinion).

  10. I never remember to watch anything on TV, Top Gear when I do remember – Chalk me up as another semi-regular Car Talk listener on the radio, though recently I've been listening more to the local AM station car show. Yes, it's about 90% about pickup trucks but the info is good in any case.

  11. I loved to watch the documentary series "Automobiles" when it would run on PBS. Each episode would cover a marque (Packard, Lincoln, Pontiac, etc.), model (Thunderbird, GTO, Mustang, Corvette, etc.), or a type (ambulance, fire engine, concept cars, etc.) The narrator was a Brit whose voice reminded me of Patrick Stewart.

  12. A lot of good ones have already been pointed out. I used to love Trucks! with Stacy David, and I torrent Top Gear religiously, but the picture up top reminded me of a show that lately I've only been able to see in clips on Speed's Engine Block podcast on iTunes: Victory By Design, the show the New York Times called "car pornography."

  13. Still like watching Trucks! but I miss Stacey. Gearz is decent if you can ever find it. Otherwise, have started watchin Wheeler Dealer and it is pretty decent. Top gear of course.
    Better quesion, what show do you HATE the most. My vote goes to Chop Cut Rebuild. Talk about a show were nothing happens!

  14. I’m assuming you’re excluding the obvious answer of Top Gear, because there really is no other correct answer.
    Other than that, it’s guilty pleasure confession time: I actually like BullRun. Quite a lot. I know, I’m ashamed, but I do. I love it, it’s great stuff. It’s just the right amount of camp, and cheese and actual action and actual intrigue to keep everything interesting. I can’t help it, I just enjoy the hell out of it, and have spent the last two years planning how I’d like to build up the Corrado to enter it.

  15. I enjoy watching Motorweek reruns on youtube. They're so optimistic about everything. From watching them, you'd think the 1991 Buick Park Avenue was revolutionary.

    1. I love how they're all uploaded by one guy – I'm assuming he's got an epic VHS collection, and I salute him for it. I'll end up spending hours going through them.

    2. Thank you! Have you ever seen a negative review of anything on Motorweek?
      The most I can recall is John Davis saying, during the review of the 1st-gen Buick Lacrossluserne, "so.. this car is for people who don't want to bother with people coming up to you asking, 'Wow, what is that?' and 'Where can I buy one?'"
      Otherwise– nothing. Every car is equally amazing.

  16. My wife and I watch Top Gear every Sunday night while it's new. Of course I watch them randomly whenever I get a whim. Rapidshare is the best. I've got it ready to go on the PS3 when people are complaining about how long it's taking on the Jalopnik posts.
    I listen to Car Talk on my iPhone (podcast) at the beginning of each week.

  17. Top Gear is my favorite. It is the only one that I make a point to watch when it comes on. I'll watch the Spike Power Block or whatever it is if I happen to be up and in front of a TV on Saturday mornings.
    I usually watch Top Gear on BBC America, sometimes on HD theater. I know I could watch it sooner on the web, but it just isn't the same as on the much bigger screen. Besides the recliner is more comfortable than the desk chair.

  18. Before the mediocrity that is the Speed Channel – back when it used to be called SpeedVision they had a show called "Autoworld" or something like that. There was a part of the intro with a red Porsche 911 drifting around a switchback in the rain. One of the most beautiful scenes I've ever seen. I believe it was British, but that show was pretty good.
    Of course, Top Gear. I was secretly hoping that the US version was good, and now I guess we may see it yet (recent History Channel Deal)?

  19. There was a BBC show on the Science Channel (I think) called "To Build A Sports Car" (I think) that followed the restoration of a Jaguar E-Type. The same host did other shows about restoring a WWII-era Harley Davidson and building (and flying) a kit airplane. I haven't been able to find anything about it online though.

  20. I like all the above when I can see them. which isnt often as I have only basic cable. However our break room at work gets most everything including the Military Channel, which has a program that airs occasionally called, appropriately, Tank Overhaul. Sort of like Monster Garage and Autoworld on massive amounts of steroids. This week it was restoring a British Centurion, probably the longest lived in service tank in history. Gawd, what a brute! Took them a month of weekends to just remove the transmission so they could begin to tear it down!

  21. Of course Top Gear is an obvious answer. But back in the Speedvision days, I enjoyed the old Car & Track reruns, with Bud Lindermann. Between showcasing the days when NASCAR didn't suck, and the road tests on cool older cars, it was pretty neat. And tell me the way this 442 is flung sideways isn't pants tightening.
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  22. "Trucks!" with Stacy David was pretty good. "Horsepower TV" is occasionally interesting. My wife likes watching the Mecum auctions so that's the one I see most often.

  23. I think it was Sean who said there's all kinds of cool cars in that new show, "Caprica". While I've only caught a few episodes, there's all sorts of retro-everything in it. Pretty neat.

  24. I used to really enjoy "Victory by Design" on Speed. I haven't seen it aired in some time but you can buy the DVDs on the Speed site. The host would take these ultra rare gabillion dollar vintage racers out and really drive them. Excellent information, footage and audio. Mics were strategically placed in the cockpit and engine bay for a pretty darn good soundtrack.

  25. motoring '88-present on TSN & top gear whenever I can. I didnt know motorweek was still aired, ill have to see if we still get it up here. I used to watch that back in the 90s then it just disapeared.

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