If you’re a car enthusiast looking for great content to watch while you’re in isolation, read our list of shows that either feature or revolve around cars.
Better yet, you can find these on British TV channels or on-demand services. You’re just a few minutes away from kicking back and relaxing on the sofa with beautiful motors on screen.
An oldie but a goodie. This show has been running in its current format since 2002, but we aren’t all that surprised it’s been going for so long. With motoring challenges, celebrity test track races and road-testing new cars, this show has it all.
Following the big Top Gear controversy of 2015, Top Gear has made a reappearance with new hosts, the latest ensemble being Paddy McGuiness, Chris Harris, and Freddie Flintoff. Series 28 has just aired, meaning if you’ve missed it you have six whole episodes to binge on BBC iPlayer!
Maltese: The Mafia Detective
This is a great period drama with glimpses of stunning classics. Set in 1970s’ Sicily, police chief Maltese finds himself entangled in an investigation that will uncover the widespread influence of the Mafia. Its plot of intrigue and drama is only bested by the cars included in the show.
Alfa Romeos, Lancias, Minis and Beetles from the 70s all make appearances on the TV series. We’d recommend the Maltese if you want to see classic cars but you also want to get lost in a programme with a proper plot.
Episodes are available online on All 4.
Red Bull Soapbox Race
We’re taking the definition of “car” to a whole new level with this one. While the “vehicles” on the Red Bull Soapbox Race are unmotorised, we think this counts as a car show, since all the vehicles must be steerable and include brakes.
The aim of the game is basically to race to the bottom of a downhill road in a team-built vehicle. As you can guess, hilarity ensures.
Red Bull Soapbox Race is regularly aired on Dave, usually around 12pm on weekday afternoons. There are also a number of episodes available online if you prefer.
Car restoration programmes
There’s nothing more satisfying than watching an old scrap of heap get restored into a fully functioning, beautiful classic. If you’re a classic car enthusiast, this one’s for you. Car SOS is currently on air, meaning you can tune in on Thursday from 7pm to 9pm on the National Geographic channel.
Past cars include a rough-looking Daimler Dart, a 1974 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, and – more recently – a Porsche 356. View previous episodes here.
Like Car SOS, this programme is all about restoring old, unloved vehicles to their former glory – with a catch. For each car that is restored, a budget is set for the repairs and refurbishments. Once restored, the vehicle also has to be sold, preferably at a profit!
This is a great show for modders, especially if you’re trying to find cheap ways to upgrade your wheels. Wheeler Dealers is currently airing on the Discovery channel at 9pm every Monday evening.
If these car mod shows give you inspiration to get into restorations yourself, we offer modified car insurance. Now’s as good a time as any to start a new solo hobby!
Car-related science and tech shows
The tech in cars is changing at an unprecedented rate. If you’re looking for shows that will help keep your brain working while you’re off work or working from home, the shows in this list are ideal for you.
Looking for something a little more serious? If so, Click could be the answer. While this is a more general TV programme about the latest developments in tech, there are a number of car-related episodes in the latest series.
- Who is driving your car?: in this episode, it’s the US v China in the self-driving car arena.
- Electric cars: this episode explores the question ‘are electric cars a credible replacement for petrol and diesel vehicles?’
- Episode 44: a glimpse into the confusing and controversial world of e-scooter regulations.
- The self-driving revolution: a look at the self-driving cars in Arizona, as well as how the technology works – and fails.
- Behind the wheel: the team explore the tech behind Formula E.
- Episode 32: a showcase for some of the latest electric cars.
- Episode 16: the hosts talk to classic car owners who are turning their motors into electric vehicles.
On your lunch break and looking for a few minutes of entertainment? Focus’s three-minute episode on ‘why is Norway the land of electric cars?’ could be a great way of killing time while learning something new.
Need some nostalgia?
Nostalgic programmes are comforting, and that’s exactly what we all need right now.
Only Fools and Horses
If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably watched this show umpteen times, but did you notice the cars on the show too? We’re not just talking about Del Boy’s iconic three-wheeled yellow Reliant Regal, either.
Cars you might have missed include a: Jaguar E Type, Ford Capri Ghia, and a Rolls Royce Silver Spirit. Best of all, they each play roles in Rodney and Del Boy’s crazy antics. So that’s cars and entertainment rolled into one!
Luckily, there are plenty of episodes available on BritBox. Bonus drinking game for those over 18: take a shot every time one of the characters does something that wouldn’t fly today.
Bonus radio show – Women Talking About Cars
If you’re looking for something a little different, this radio show could be ideal for you.
Presenter and professional poker player Victoria Coren Mitchell is in the driver’s seat of this interview series. On the show, she’s speaks to a range of famous women about the cars they’ve known throughout their lives. The programme has 12 episodes available with great guests like Olivia Colman and Germaine Greer. The Dawn French interview in particular is considered a hit of the series.
Do you think we’ve left any great shows out? If so, let us know in the comments or on our social media channels. If the beautiful vehicles shown in the above programmes have convinced you to buy your own car, we offer cheap specialist car insurance policies from our Norfolk-based office.