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Best car shows to watch on Netflix: a petrolhead's guide

Published: 31 March 2020

► The best shows to watch now on Netflix
► Binge during this compulsory downtime
► We'll add to this list, so send over suggestions!

You’re probably reading this at home, and you’re probably quite bored, too, aren’t you? We’ve already put together a guide of everything you need to know around the Coronavirus epidemic, from which events are cancelled to how to clean your car – but we also want to provide some entertainment for car fans around this time. 

To help make the lockdown a little more interesting, the CAR magazine team got together (remotely) and came up with this list of the best car-centric shows to watch on Netflix. If you’re a gamer, it’s also worth checking out our best racing games piece, too.

Further reading: coronavirus and the car world

Hyperdrive

What do you get if you mix Total Wipeout with Fast and Furious? Vin Diesel on a bouncy castle, or Hyperdrive, a new Netflix-produced series available to watch now. The premise is simple: heavily-modified drift cars from around the world take on an assault course, with obstacles called things such as ‘the leveller,’ ‘walk on water’ and ‘forced perspective.’ Yes.

As you’d expect, it’s a total neon-soaked mess with a cast full of characters, only punctuated by shouting from the commentary team which includes a faux Connor McGregor with an accent from somewhere in the British Isles. Throw in the grunting of V8s and Wankels tuned to within an inch of their life and phrases such as ‘I love this country’ - it's all very silly, but effective entertainment. TV-nerds will appreciate its 4K and HDR visuals.

Obviously, we love it.

Uppity: The Willy T. Ribbs Story

Come for the bittersweet but overall inspiring story of Willy T. Ribbs – the first black driver to compete in the Indy 500 – and stay for a revealing look at American motorsport. As you’d expect, his story begins with a great deal of racism, but the against-the-odds narrative and general charisma of Willy himself balances out the sourness. Throw in a supporting cast of engineers and fellow drivers, and you get some context. 

This is a moving documentary that draws on the experience of some interesting characters in the grass roots motorsport movement, but it also features a bunch of exotic machinery too. It’s likely you’ll find yourself searching YouTube for TransAm clips after it’s finished. Well worth a watch. 

Rust Valley Restorers

Rust Valley Restorers focuses on dreadlocked hoarder Mike Hall and his restoration business in Tappen, British Columbia - better known as Rust Valley. Hall has built up a collection of 400 crumbling classic cars, and using his life's savings has founded a workshop to turn his collection into a business, with a ramshackle crew of helpers on hand to turn them from (quite literal) rust to (optimistic) riches.

The problem is, he buys more wrecks quicker than he can restore and sell them... With business sense to make the Dragon's Den cast weep, it's part restoration show, part soap opera, with in-fighting and disasters making this oddly compelling viewing. This one's a favourite of deputy features editor James Taylor.

Drive to Survive

After a change in ownership, F1 decided to let Netflix cameras into the paddock for the 2018 season, and the results were surprisingly good. Alongside plenty of on-track action, Drive to Survive’s first season also gave us the oft-neglected human element of the pinnacle of motorsport. Haas team principal Guenther Steiner is a particular highlight of season one, as is the frankly embarrassing war-of-words between Red Bull and Renault. 

The first season offers a great look at the midfield battle – partly because Mercedes and Ferrari never signed up – but season two features the whole grid. It’s not as ridiculous as the first season, but season two is worth watching for a behind-the-scenes look at the German GP from Mercedes and a look at the internal battle at Ferrari. 

A great introduction to F1 for newcomers, and a decent binge for those already up to speed.

Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee

A car fan goes out to pick his mates up for coffee and banter: not exactly the most thrilling-sounding show when you describe CICGC like that. But, when the car fan in question is legendary straight-talking comedian Jerry Seinfeld going to meet some of his friends, former colleagues and fellow comedians, the chemistry is always electric.

You’re the third person in what is essentially just a conversation, riding along in a car Jerry either owns or has borrowed (which can range from the stunning and super-rare to the wacky) as he chats to the fellow celebrity passenger as they grab coffee, a bite to eat or go shopping.

Jerry tries to relate the cars to his guest and, given that some of them are classics, mishaps and breakdowns are plentiful. The conversations can be silly, reminiscent or deep thinking, but always laugh-a-minute. This one was submitted by CAR magazine's staff writer Jake Groves.

Murder Mystery

Although not as car-centric as the other movies on this list, Murder Mystery is worth using up two-ish hours with. It’s a classic Cluedo murder mystery and features Hollywood talent from Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston ­– but despite that, it’s quite funny and very entertaining. 

What’s the CAR angle, you ask? Well, most of the mystery takes place in Monte Carlo during the F1 weekend. Tenuous, we know...

That's probably enough to be getting on with for now, but do check back for more suggestions – and submit your own best car programmes on Netflix in the comments section below

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's online editor and racing-sim enthusiast

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