Gearheads, motorheads, petrolheads, car nuts, grease monkeys, etc. are all nicknames for automobile enthusiasts. However, this group is as diverse as its many monikers. Race fans are not always classic car buffs. Some Formula 1 fans couldn’t care less about ALMS. Those who love restorations don’t always like customisation. It really is a matter of different strokes for different folks. By extension, a number of television channels try to capture that market but only two have dedicated their entire schedules to all things automotive: SPEED and Velocity. I’d like to tell you more about the latter. One may not ordinarily associate Discovery Channel with car culture. However in the mid-2000’s two shows captured the attention of those who claim to have petrol in their veins. It was the Tuesday night combination of Overhaulin’ and Rides. Now Velocity has a slew of shows including these two that should satiate any car lover’s appetite, except for World Poker Tour Season 8. I’m not too sure what that’s doing there but whatever. Here are some of the shows that I’ve seen, enjoyed and encourage you to check out.
I first learned about West Coast Customs and its intrepid founder, Ryan Friedlinghaus from MTV’s Pimp My Ride. The transformations were astounding even though I didn’t care for the excessive use of chrome. On this show, which is incarnated from TLC’s Street Customs, we see how the company has grown. This series focuses more on their corporate jobs and elite clients like Virgin, Nintendo and DC Shoes. In addition to some really jaw-dropping work, they’ve also eliminated a good deal of the drama that occupied too much time in the previous series. Every job has drama. Parts don’t always arrive on time. A contractor started or finished their task late. Power outages, equipment failure, a customer making last-minutes changes or requests all put the deadline in jeopardy. Nothing irritates me more than an episode that devotes up to ten minutes for two grown dudes screaming at each other over tools, paperwork or women. Most of that stuff seems staged and diminishes the show’s authenticity. Still, it’s the only problem I have with the show and I enjoy it in spite of that.
Hosted by Wayne Carini, viewers follow him as he buys, restores and sells classic cars at high-end auctions across the US for himself and private owners. Every episode chronicles the entire process and usually he walks away happy. Usually. Carini has an easy-going style that translates well to the screen although he’s clearly not a TV personality. He’s a shrewd businessman with great credibility in the classic car community. I didn’t really get classic cars until I saw some fully restored and preserved beauties at the Celebration Exotic Car Festival this year. Quite frankly, I could see myself behind the wheel of a 1967 Corvette. I also enjoy that he’s a no-nonsense kind of guy and his cars are of the highest quality. He talks about selling cars in the same way people talk about finding homes for rescued animals. When I’m ready to get my Vette, I’m calling him.
In this British series, quirky hosts Mike Brewer and Edd China flip cars. Mike who’s a bit of a caricature, which makes him a quintessential salesman, brings them in. Edd, on the other hand is more of a punky/arty/mad/brilliant chap, fixes them up for sale. I like that Edd explains what he does so it’s almost like a how-to for jalopy car owners. I haven’t watched a whole lot of this show but feel like every episode taught me something. They also have that British humour which I get and that’s always fun.
This is a show my Dad would absolutely love. He sold cars for forty years and is a master negotiator, which is a big part of this show. Ted Vernon and his statuesque wife Robin, buy, sell, trade and exchange classic cars. They have a small crew of mechanics who repair and maintain vehicles in addition to small tutorials for the viewers. The Vernons’ larger-than-life personalities fit their way of making a living, especially when it comes to bartering. This show is a lesson on the art of negotiation. Even if you’re not in the market for a classic car, this is a good show to give you a look at how used car dealers operate; and that will give viewers an edge in their own vehicular purchases.
Despite my well-document love of cars, I do have a growing fascination with motorcycles. There’s a 2012 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 on my Pinterest My Future Rides board. What? That’s responsible pinning, people. Anyway, I don’t always know too much about what’s happening on Café Racer but I watch it because I want to expand my knowledge of motorcycles. Of course, there are colourful characters and very, very cool bikes. At least Velocity is trying to keep all those with gas on their brains happy, including those who prefer two wheels instead of four.