It's no surprise to see most big television networks today hosting more car shows as a great way to engage their viewers with quality content. Thus, many car enthusiasts never get disappointed, as more car TV shows pop up by the day, bringing new and exciting content that keeps the viewers glued to their sets while they are being aired.
We have seen a ton of great car TV shows over the years. Many of them have created an indelible mark on the heart of their audience, by both informing and entertaining their fans. Some even go as far as creating a platform online for their viewers to give their comments and reviews about the show. For instance, Top Gear, the motoring show aired on BBC UK, was first anchored by Richard Hammond, James May and Jeremy Clarkson, until Jeremy had an issue with BBC and left the set. Of course, Richard Hammond and James May followed suit, considering the fact that they were loyal to their costar and had bonded over time. This drama, however, sparked up a lot of controversies online amongst their viewers, revealing just how much a lot of car enthusiasts passionately follow with these shows.
However, there have been a few bad eggs in the automotive TV show business that haven’t done justice to their viewers, as they seem to have no clue of what they’re doing. Thus, we will be sharing a list showing 12 of these clueless car TV shows and 13 that have made us proud.
25 Messes Up: Desert Car Kings
This show ranks as one of the most unsuccessful cars shows ever aired on Discovery Channel. The McClure family unsuccessfully hosted it. What was their mission? To save classic domestic cars by restoring them back to their original look, as a way of preserving important pieces of this country's history.
Apparently, the McClure family wasn’t able to save enough of their classic American cars before the show was canceled by Discovery after the first season. It’s funny how the family strived to save classic cars and yet could not save their show from being canceled.
24 Messes Up: Counting Cars
This is the perfect car TV show to watch if you’re finding it hard to sleep because of your insomnia. Counting Cars is a sequel of the broad-reaching reality TV show Pawn Stars. That’s why it’s shot in a pawn shop, somewhere in Las Vegas. Danny Koker is the founder of Count’s Kustoms, the car customization and restoration company that is the subject for Counting Cars. Danny Koker made a lot of appearances in the Pawn Stars, so he probably felt it was a great idea to start up his own show. Unfortunately, the series focuses more on the crew than the cars, and if you watch hoping to learn something new, you’ll be disappointed.
23 Messes Up: Restoration Garage
From the name of the show, the first thing that comes to mind is obviously “car restoration.” Well, the name “Restoration” is actually an overhype, because all they do is talk, talk, talk. It’s painful when you see people spend their quality time watching a show, but they end up getting in a lot of talking instead. It would have been better if the Restoration Garage was a radio talk show, maybe we would have pardoned them. They claim to have put many millions into the show, and well, we just don’t see it.
22 Messes Up: Graveyard Carz
The perfect name for the show isn't Graveyard Carz, it should be called the Graveyard Show. After Mark Worman appeared on the show in 2012, the motto “It’s Mopar or No Car” arose. The motto emphasizes how limited and boring the show can be. Even though there are a good number of Mopar lovers watching the show, it’s still not enough to only focus on Mopars, without showing a variety of other cars. To make matters worse, Mark Worman and his crew are totally clueless about other cars. I think they should have just called the show Graveyard Mopars. Sounds better, right?
21 Messes Up: Pimp My Ride
It would have better for MTV to stick more strictly to the music and entertainment industry than diverting into the automotive industry, because this show was an absolute failure. It failed before it started, failed when it was airing, and it failed even after it ended because we are still talking about its failure now.
It was hosted by Xzibit, the American rapper, who by that time was not doing so well with his music career.
Entering the automotive industry was somehow a better option for him. The show was not thorough; rather, they aimed at adding stereos, changing paint jobs and doing all sorts of things to a car to soup it up, without improving on what makes a car a car.
20 Messes Up: Motor Week
Since the “5-mph bumper,” the Motor Week TV show is the worst thing that has ever happened to automotive enthusiasts. If there was a better word for boring, we would have used it.
Motor Week showcases irrelevant driving footage that is merged with car TV hosts that are miserably out of touch, and even though they try to be funny, they are not.
The actions will make you wonder if they ever actually review their production after they finish shooting. However, if you just need something to play in the background, you just might find it interesting.
19 Messes Up: Unique Whips
If you were a regular viewer of the redundant Fox-sponsored Speed channel that closed down 5 years ago, then you might have once watched Unique Whips, a car TV show that aired for 3 years between 2005 and 2008. The show was aimed at customizing the vehicles of top American celebrities. The cars of celebrities like Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Tom Wolfe, Marcus Camby, Fat Joe, P. Diddy, Jeff Gordon, DJ Pauly D, Tony Stewart, Pam Anderson, Patti LaBelle, and 50 Cent, were featured on the show. However, the concept behind the show was lame, because there was little difference between it and Pimp My Ride.
18 Messes Up: Trick My Truck
On February 3, 2006, this reality TV show premiered on the Country Music Television channel. Varuna Entertainment is the company in charge of production for Trick My Truck.
The show features a group of people calling themselves the Chrome Shop Mafia and renovating worn out trucks owned by deserving drivers.
These drivers are chosen from a list of requests provided by their friends and family. It’s a good thing to know they are helping deserving drivers get their trucks back to life. However, it would have been better if they showed viewers the process of the makeover.
17 Messes Up: 2 Guys Garage
It’s obvious that the two guys, Willie B and Kevin Byrd, handling the “2 Guys Garage” automotive show, have no clue of what it takes to run a successful car show. Perhaps they should seek the help of successful TV shows like Top Gear or Fast N' Loud. It’s one thing to be an automotive junkie and it’s another thing to present what you have properly for others to buy into it. That’s where these two guys are lacking. They may be good mechanics or even petrol-heads, but they need to understand how to present their show for their audience not to fall asleep.
16 Messes Up: American Chopper
Just like Danny Koker’s Counting Cars, American Chopper was another automotive show that focused on its stars rather than its cars. American Chopper was basically about a group of people based in Orange County, New York. The leader of the pack is Paul Teutul Sr, who is supported by his son Paul Teutul Jr, responsible for making the custom chopper bikes.
However, the rasping father and son are always at loggerheads, as they can hardly agree to anything. Their usual controversies cause many projects to remain uncompleted. The best thing that happened to the show yet was the separation of Paul Sr and the Paul Jr.
15 Messes Up: Extreme 4X4
In January 2005, Extreme 4X4 was first aired on Spike TV as part of the network's weekend program line up. This car TV show was once hosted by Jessi Combs and Ian Johnson, and posed at remodeling and building cars in order to convert them into off-road machines. Periodically, they show different forms of off-road racing competitions across different states in the US with events comprising of desert racing, mud racing, trail riding adventures, sand drags, and rock crawling. Apparently, they have little followers, because of the show’s disorganization. When one hears extreme, you expect more, rather, it’s a different ball game. Thus, the name is deceptive.
14 Messes Up: Texas Car Wars
It’s obvious that the makers of the Texas car wars show didn’t have any clue of what their actual purpose was, even though they claimed that the show was aimed at restoring junk cars to make a better profit.
The show didn’t last more than eight episodes on air before Discovery Channel closed it down.
The annoying thing about the show, even if it didn’t last long, was the way they auctioned the finished products of the car without letting their audience see the makeover process of the various cars auctioned. This made it hard for both viewers and buyers to believe them.
13 Gets It Right: Chasing Classic Cars
Chasing Classic Cars is an interesting car TV show that shows the host traveling all across this country to find vintage and rare classic cars. Most of the cars have been lost for decades, and the team buys these classic cars, revamps them, and sells them hoping to make a profit–although it doesn’t always work as planned. This car TV show premiered on Discovery Channel in 2008 and it was hosted by Wayne Carini, who is a classic car dealer in Oregon. When it comes to selecting vintage cars, Wayne is quite knowledgeable, and it’s awesome to see him convert rust buckets to their previous glory.
12 Gets It Right: Wheeler Dealers
You might think that this country invented Chasing Classic Cars, but the Brits actually came up with this concept first when they created the TV show Wheeler Dealers. In this show, the presenter Mike Brewer travels around the entire world in search of classic cars that have been neglected. When he gets them, he fixes them up and sells them off to a new owner. This show was screened on Discovery Channel until it was moved to the cable network Velocity in 2016. This show is trusted because they take viewers through the process of collecting cars and selling them off.
11 Gets It Right: Fast ‘N Loud
This TV show is nothing short of its name. It’s an energetic US-based reality show that makes Jersey Shore look like a BBC documentary. Each episode that airs shows how the presenters go in search of automobile jewels that have been subjected to rot at the back of a barn.
The presenters Richard Rawlings and Aaron Kaufman buy the cars for pocket change and fix them up in exaggerated garage sequences.
Once the car is ready, they sell it off to a millionaire at a very high price. This show has helped classic car fans even though they usually miss the point—that it’s character-driven entertainment.
10 Gets It Right: Overhaulin’
Overhaulin’ is a TV show that has been on Velocity and airs on Discovery sometimes. No doubt, this show is a reigning champ. Also, Overhaulin’ holds the distinction of being a part of the forerunner for shows like American Chopper, Monster Garage, and American Hot Rod. This show doesn’t employ a timeline but it’s not tied to something thoughtless. If you’re familiar with this show, you’d assume that Chip Foose is a jerk in person but in the real sense, he isn’t. Chip is the anchor of this show and he seems to be genuine.
9 Gets It Right: Top Gear (UK)
Top Gear is one of the most original and best motoring show of them all. This TV show first aired between 1977 and 2001 before it started up again in 2002. In 2003, the show featured the trio of Hammond, May, and Clarkson.
This show is loved because their chemistry on-screen, as well as their antics, are as entertaining as the cars themselves.
At some point, Clarkson was sacked but BBC went ahead to make Top Gear with new presenters like Formula One boss Eddie Jordan, actor Matt Le Blanc, and racing driver Sabine Schmitz.
8 Gets It Right: Motorz
This is an American television series that features nationwide on Biz Television, iTunes, the Auto Channel, Wild TV, Youtoo America, Amazon Fire TV, Rev’n, Roku, and globally on YouTube and Untamed Sports TV. This TV series was created by Chris Duke and each episode shows step-by-step “Do It Yourself” installation help for new products, vehicle maintenance tips, automotive products, and a letters segment. The show started out as Truckblog TV but all that changed in 2008 when the name of the series became Motorz. This was done to attract a larger audience and separate the show from Truckblog itself.
7 Gets It Right: Misfit Garage
This is a Discovery Channel reality television show that was spun off from Fast N’ Loud. The Misfit Garage features two mechanics that were fired from the Gas Monkey Garage, Jordan Butler and Tom Smith, alongside Scot McMillan and Thomas Weeks. In 2014, the series premiered, having been produced by Pilgrim Studios.
The executive producers of this show are Eddie Rohwedder, Craig Piligan, and Richard Rawlings.
Given the fact that Richard is an executive producer of this show, there’s doubt about his firing being genuine or just an elaborate plot contrivance.
6 Gets It Right: Monster Garage
This TV show is a car makeover show that has some twists to it. In 2002, it made its debut on Discovery Channel. It was able to run for five seasons until 2006. The show features Jesse James, who is a uniquely creative car mechanic. The episodes of this series showcased teams competing over the course of one week in order to create the most remarkable build, changing regular vehicles into monstrous machines. It’s an interesting car show for anybody that loves to get their hands dirty, even though you may not be able to copy any of the builds on the show.
5 Gets It Right: Jay Leno’s Garage
If you’re a fan of Jay Leno, then you’d know that he is famous for his huge collection of cars. Hence, his TV show was bound to come into existence for him to show off some of the jewels in his massive garage.
In 2015, the show was aired for the first time on TV and in each episode, Jay is seen with new cars and classic ones.
He made it a point of duty to take the cars for a drive, usually along the California coastline, and watching this show gives you reliable things to say about motoring.
4 Gets It Right: The Grand Tour
The Grand Tour came into play when the former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson was sacked by BBC for verbally and physically attacking a producer. When this happened, his fellow presenters decided to leave as well to make a new show for Amazon Prime's streaming service. When you watch the Grand Tour, you can tell that it picked up from where Top Gear left off. The only difference is that they focus more on challenges and crazy stunts with the trio competing to win crazy races in rare vehicles.
3 Gets It Right: Iron Resurrection
The name of this show says it all because they make sure they give new life to any struggling vehicle. The mechanical master is Joe Martin and he works with his best friend Jayson Arrington, popularly known as Shag, his wife Amanda, and their team at Martin Bros Customs.
They have no limitations at all because they deal with different shapes, sizes and kinds of vehicles.
The episodes of the show find Amanda and Shag in the Texas countryside in search of hidden and unpolished mechanical gems. When they find one, they take it to the shop for Joe and his crew to handle. With Amanda’s mysterious knowledge of car lots and backwoods sheds in the state, and Shag’s gift for marketing that lands them the best deals, the show keeps rolling.
2 Gets It Right: Fifth Gear
When Top Gear in the UK became a success, a lot of copycat programs resulted, but none of the programs were truly able to live up to the original. The only show that was close to the original was Fifth Gear, which aired in the UK on Channel Five.
The presenters that feature on the show are motoring names that are established like a Former Le Mans winner, Jason Plato, Tiff Needell, and the Touring Car Champion, Tom Ford, who decided to join the Top Gear America Team that was launched in 2017. Fifth Gear turned out to be popular for its legit race comparisons between comparable cars.
1 Gets It Right: Top Gear USA
I can’t help but say that the Top Gear (UK) has a serious impact on the TV world and this doesn’t exclude the US because the huge success of the show led to US television bosses screening Top Gear USA.
Top Gear USA was aired on History Channel from 2012 to 2016, after which they launched the show again on BBC America the following year.
The show features wacky stunts, celebrity guests, and vehicle reviews just like the original show. The presenters include champion drag racer Antron Brown, actor William Fichtner, and the motoring journalist Tom Ford.