We’re usually out creating our own features instead of commenting on other people’s work, but yesterday we were collecting a Phantom for a forthcoming feature on the history of the land speed record when the man at RR casually mentioned TopGear has “had the chop”. But has it? What will we do with our Sunday afternoons now? How will Dave survive without old TopGear to recycle in between endless adverts? Why are rhetorical questions so annoying? TopGear seemingly appeals to two audiences; Proper car fans like you and I and those who want a light entertainment show about old men and tomfoolery. That audience won’t be reading this, they’ll be watching Last of the Summer Wine, so for fellow MotorPunks let’s look at the online alternatives to TopGear- there are six at your fingertips;

Jay Leno’s garage.

Only one motoring presenter has a worse wardrobe than Clarkson; Jay Leno. It’s impossible not to enjoy the work of Jay Leno, he’s a real gearhead (as Yanks call Petrolheads) and is that rare thing, someone who can talk about cars authoritatively without lapsing into tedious detail, even if he does overdo the denim a tad. Take a look at his lovely feature on Steve McQueen’s Jaguar XKSS, for example.


Chris Harris on cars.

If you like skids and supercars, served up by someone who can really drive, then you’ve probably already found Chris Harris on Cars. OK, some of the features are a bit lengthy, but for the latest supercar knowledge then Harris really is the monkey of the moment. His recent Mercedes C63 AMG bi-turbo review is classic Harris.


TopGear gags without the BBC censor? Here’s the website of the man who writes the scripts. There’s no video, sadly, but there is plenty of thoroughly amusing car related drivel from the man, Richard Porter. He also does some entertaining podcasts with Gareth Jones (aka Gaz Top) and his F1 coverage on Twitter always makes us smile. We’re big Sniff fans – keep up the good work, Sir!


Harry’s garage

Harry Metcalfe is the man who founded Evo magazine (magazines, remember them?) , a farmer who is a classic car enthusiast with a great collection at home. His videos are charming and often feature his own fleet in a slghtly home-made and engaging fashion. There hasn’t been one for a little while, he has a new job at JLR, we’d love to see more like his Classic Land Rover video review.



OK, there’s some bias here, we’ve done about a dozen videos with the chaps from XCAR and there’s more to come as mentioned in the first paragraph of this article. XCAR cover all the best new car releases and also have some great features on classic motors, all done in a style we like. Our favourite XCAR film is the story of Roy James, a great train robber, racing driver and Jaguar fanatic. I mentioned bias. We wrote and presented it. You can watch it online here or subscribe to XCARs ‘for the love of cars’ films here.


Over a quarter of a million people subscribe to Petrolicious which regularly puts out 5-10 minute videos with a wide mix of cool motoring content. These are often interviews with owners and interesting people from the industry. This feature on Nirvana and the Citroen DS is a great example of what they do best.

So. There you have six interesting, advert-free online alternatives to TopGear, but I don’t think the show has gone for good. I’ll explain; TopGear has a delicate relationship with the BBC. The Beeb needs the revenue, it’s a massive money spinner internationally, yet it also knows that it can’t be seen to be condoning mild racism or boorish public schoolboy behavior on which Clarkson has built the show (and TG = JC). In return Producer Wilman and Clarkson know that the BBC is the best outlet for their work and has been a great cash cow for them personally. So there is now this odd stand-off. The BBC and JC need each other yet antagonise each other, in equal amounts. There has been a very careful choice of words from both sides. Clarkson hasn’t been fired, he has been “suspended”. The series hasn’t been cancelled, it has been “halted”. Both sides know that a bit of controversy is great for viewing figures and they both need a new series in the autumn.

We should also remember that there are quite a few ‘behind the scenes’ jobs at stakes too, we hope all is resolved amicably for those involved. Our guess is that TopGear will be on air again this autumn, as usual, this time with Clarkson promising not to punch anyone (to polite studio laughter) before the show goes on with everyone tuned in, as always. If not, there is plenty of other good stuff online for the likes of you and I.

Thanks for reading, feel free to leave us a comment.

About The Author

Rich Duisberg

Rich's drivel regularly appears in Practical Performance Car and GT Porsche magazines. He has also written for Classic & Sportscar, MogMag, Classic Performance and Retro, Banzai, Evo, and Modern Mini. He also did a book no-one bought. His hungover fizzog also often appears on CBS’s Carfection channel enthusing about historic motoring. Le Mans winner Derek Bell once refused to get in Rich's Morgan Three Wheeler with him at the wheel. Currently amongst the detritus in his garage is a 1972 Fiat 500 Abarth, a fat BMW and a Lotus Elise. Previous machinery includes a Porsche 968, an Alfa GTV V6 and a dreadful Sinclair C5. He also owns a vintage Royal Enfield pushbike.

2 Responses

  1. James Walker

    You hit nail right on the head there chaps. I don’t thing we have seen the last of TG but if we do have an idle hour for the next couple of Sundays then it ain’t the end of the world with so much great ad free fodder for petrolhead online as you explain. Loved the Roy James video BTW 😉


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.