For car-lovers, the only thing more satisfying than getting an up-close and personal tour of an awesome ride is getting to drive one. Unfortunately, most of us don’t have unlimited access to the world’s coolest autos, which is why we’re so grateful for the car TV shows that take us along for the ride. From useful shows about restoration and car maintenance to fully indulgent in-depth looks at the most expensive cars in the world, there’s no shortage of car-centric stuff to watch on TV. Here are some of our favorites.
- Jay Leno’s Garage (CNBC) – If you’re a certified gearhead, you already know that Jay Leno has one of the most impressive celebrity car collections ever. After retiring from late night, the car-loving comic began starring in and producing his namesake show to review some of the most unique and noteworthy cars in his garage and elsewhere, including the classic, vintage, and restored as well as the high-performance, rare, and hot-rodded. With five seasons under its belt, there’s an episode of this show that’s sure to get your gears spinning. It features some of the best cars and the best car covers to match, we hope, for classic car guys and those who are all about performance.
- Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee (Netflix) – Directed and hosted by Porsche aficionado Jerry Seinfeld, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee offers 80-plus episodes of pure gold for lovers of great comedy and cool cars. Each episode features Seinfeld introducing and highlighting a specific car selected in honor of the episode’s guest comedian. Along the casual cruise and relaxed interview, hilarity tends to ensue. Some of the spectacular motors showcased in the series include a 1949 Porsche 356/2 (Jay Leno), a 1966 Jaguar E-Type Roadster (Jerry Lewis), a 1964 Aston Martin DB5 (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), a 1963 Corvette Stingray (President Barack Obama), and a 1969 Lamborghini P400S Miura (Chris Rock).
- Top Gear (BBC) – Since 2002, Top Gear has been putting out fast-paced, stunt-filled episodes testing and reviewing the finest cars in the world. Created by the British motoring magazine of the same name, Top Gear offers in-depth car reviews, celebrity guests, and motoring challenges, as well as power laps that put vehicles to the test on the show’s test track. The original BBC version has over 200 episodes and 28 seasons, so it’s a great show for gearheads to binge watch. In 2010, the History channel began airing an American version of the show with hosts Adam Ferrara, Tanner Foust, Rutledge Wood, and The Stig. Discovery’s MotorTrend TV network recently announced a Top Gear America revival, which will feature hosts Dax Shepard, Rob Corddry, and Jethro Bovingdon.
- The Grand Tour (Amazon Prime) – Amazon Prime’s British motoring hit The Grand Tour is presented by Top Gear alums Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, Andy Wilman, and James May. Originally, the show was meant to follow a similar format as Top Gear, offering detailed car reviews and speed tests filmed in different locales throughout the world. After following this format for the first season, the show shifted to focus on feature-length specials from a set location within the scenic Cotswolds region of England. Each episode is filled with action-packed tours and laps featuring some of the fastest, most high-performance cars in the world.
- Inside West Coast Customs (MotorTrend) – If you’re big on reality TV and love modded-out vehicles, you’re definitely going to want to check out Inside West Coast Customs, a show centered around car customizer Ryan Friedlinghaus and his staff at West Coast Customs in Burbank, California. The premise of the show is to take ordinary vehicles and trick them out into fully custom rides, Many of the cars are owned by celebrity guests looking for the wildest and most outrageous mods possible. Some cool cars to appear on West Coast Customs were whips brought in by Shaquille O’Neal, Justin Bieber, and will.i.am.
- Pimp My Ride (MTV) – You can’t talk about car modding shows without mentioning MTV’s legendary Pimp My Ride, hosted by rapper and car-lover Xzhibit. This entertaining and borderline ridiculous show takes bonafide beaters to the pros at West Coast Customs—and, later, Galpin Auto Sports (GAS)—to transform them into super-custom cars with some pretty unbelievable features. The show aired for six seasons, with 73 episodes of tricking out crappy daily drivers, from old Honda Civics to wrecked Land Cruisers. The show even inspired a spinoff on CMT called Trick My Truck.
- Fastest Car (Netflix) – Airing in 2018, this Netflix reality show pits the world’s most exotic supercars against high-performance sleeper cars in a quarter-mile drag race, and the results tend to be pretty surprising. Because who doesn’t want to see a tricked-out Dodge Ram crush a Lamborghini in a matchup? Yes, that happened. At the end of each season, a championship is held to see which ride gets to claim the title of Fastest Car. This show is great for fans of the world’s speediest sportscars and also for hobbyists who are all about modding daily drivers. There are currently only two seasons of Fastest Car, and it is currently unknown whether or not Netflix will bring the series back for a third.
- Car Masters: Rust to Riches (Netflix) – Another relatively new car-centric Netflix reality show, Car Masters: Rust to Riches takes viewers into Mark Towle’s Gotham Garage, where he and his crew give old-school autos modern makeovers to turn them into high-priced collectibles. For example, the first season involves hot-rodding an old Volkswagen Bug and transforming a 1956 Chevy truck into a cool creation that can be flipped for big bucks. Car Masters has two seasons with 16 total episodes, all of which are streaming on Netflix.
Lifelong car enthusiasts know that there’s an unbelievable amount of information out there about their desired make or model. From old-school manuals to YouTube channels that go deep, you can take a cruise through every era of motoring you desire these days. But nothing immerses us in the automotive world quite like the tube, so be sure to add these amazing TV shows to your queue!