Strap in for some vehicle-based thrills with our pick of the best car programmes to watch over the next few months
With the colder nights starting to set in – and given that we don't have an abundance of places to go this winter due to the current global conditions – many people are turning towards the television for their main source of entertainment.
For motoring enthusiasts, there are only a couple of new TV shows to watch this year because of the pandemic, but there's also a wealth of older car-based programmes that can be binge-watched in order to get your autumn engine fix. Here are some of the best options out there…
The long-running BBC show is still going strong and now has a presenting line-up of Chris Harris, Freddie Flintoff and Paddy McGuinness. The new series has just started, so we'll have new episodes to enjoy right through to winter.
There are some changes this time around – the studio audience is now a drive-in audience, and the ‘star in a reasonably priced car’ segment has been dropped. While these changes were forced by the pandemic, it's been rumoured that they could both become permanent things. But everything else you know and love about the programme is back – even if the trips out of the studio are all confined to the UK this year.
Catch the latest episodes of Top Gear by clicking here. Thirteen previous seasons are available to watch through Netflix and Sky Go
The Grand Tour
As for the trio that used to present Top Gear – Messrs Clarkson, Hammond and May – they have a comfortable new home at Amazon now, and their motor show, The Grand Tour, has been running for four seasons – with more planned. You can watch all the episodes to date on Amazon Prime (in glorious 4K if you're blessed with an HDR TV).
There's also a brand-new episode coming towards the end of the year (date to be confirmed). The Madagascar Special was filmed before the pandemic and promises to be full of the usual hijinks that the three get up to when they're let loose abroad.
All four seasons of The Grand Tour are available to stream on Amazon Prime
Did you know that Fifth Gear is still a thing? Originally screened by Channel 5 before moving to Discovery and then History, the magazine show has now been picked up by the Quest Network, which has been airing it since 2018.
Here's a fun fact – Fifth Gear is essentially a continuation of the original version of Top Gear that started in 1977. As well as sticking to the format that show had, it's even been fronted by two of the same presenters in Tiff Needell and Adrian Simpson.
Seasons 12-18 of Fifth Gear are available to stream on Amazon Prime
Airing on Discovery, this UK-born show is all about saving old cars that are no longer in great condition. Finding a banger in need of some serious attention, the team work tirelessly to do it up before selling it on once the job is done.
Wheeler Dealers is currently into its 16th season and shows no signs of slowing down. As well as the main show, there has also been two spin-off’s- Wheeler Dealers: Trading Up and Wheeler Dealers: Dream Car- the latter of which debuted this year. While it is a UK show, it has been around the world and filmed in many other locations- such as Brazil, Sydney and Tokyo.
To find out when the latest episodes of Wheeler Dealers are showing on Discovery, click here. Six previous seasons of the show are available to stream on Now TV
Fast N’ Loud
Gas Monkey Garage in Dallas, Texas, is the setting for Fast N’ Loud, the auto show that sees a team, led by Richard Rawlings, set out to turn over a tidy profit by doing up run-down cars that have seen better days.
The reality show, which breaks the mould by including the odd skit in an episode, has been going strong since 2012, with its 16th season airing this year. The series has also spawned two spin-offs – Fast N' Loud: Demolition Theater and Misfits Garage – both of which have run for multiple seasons.
Six previous seasons of the show are available to stream on Now TV
My Classic Car with Dennis Gage
If you're into vintage vehicles then look no further than My Classic Car – hosted by the delightful Dennis Gage. First airing in 1997, the show was still running as recently as 2019. The smooth host with the handlebar moustache is the perfect person to explore these bygone beauties, and his signature sign-off at the end of each episode – “Honour the timeless classics” – never fails to raise a smile.
While it's an American show, Dennis has hosted it from other countries – including the UK – and has featured some of the biggest car collections the world has seen.
Seasons 16-23 of My Classic Car with Dennis Gage are available to stream on Amazon Prime
While you may have seen Car SOS on Channel 4, its main home is the National Geographic Channel, where it's been running for seven seasons. If you're a lover of vintage cars and doing them up, then Car SOS should be the perfect way to whittle away some hours.
Rather than doing up old cars for profit, the team do it for other people who've been nominated by friends or family because they're unable to carry out the restoration by themselves. As car shows go, this is one of the most feelgood out there.
Six seasons of Cars SOS are available to stream on Disney+. To see a preview of the eighth series, click here.
Planning to drive during the colder months? Read our essential winter driving tips.