Top 10 in-car footage: the best motoring clips on YouTube

Published: 28 December 2011

God bless YouTube. Just put each title below into its search box for the maddest, oddest and funniest in-car action. How do we get any work done? Ben Oliver wrote this month's Top 10 for CAR Magazine's back page - and here we collate the action from YouTube for your festive delectation.

Mike Hawthorn, Le Mans 1956

The grand-daddy of all in-car footage. Despite a King’s Speech-era microphone clamped to his neck, our first F1 World Champion gives a fabulously laconic commentary as he laps Le Mans in his D-Type before the roads are closed for the race. ‘Lot of traffic,’ he notes as he goes sideways, and ‘typical French!’ as he dodges a bicycle. What a loss.


Italian Job opening scene

Okay it’s an obvious choice, but how can you go wrong with an Alpine pass, a Miura, a fag, period shades, a Matt Monro soundtrack and proper film cameras? YouTube it over breakfast on your iPad. I do.


C’etait un Rendezvous

Just nine minutes long yet the stuff of myth since its ’76 release. The truth seems to be that director Claud Lelouch and not some F1 star made the mad, 5am dash across Paris, the action wasn’t speeded up, and the car was a Merc 450SEL 6.9 with the Ferrari soundtrack overdubbed.


Walter Rohrl’s footwork

I once had breakfast with Walter Rohrl. I hadn’t slept with the lanky miserablist the night before, but I would have if I thought he could give me a child that could drive like this. Plainly edited by a proper rally geek, this Group B era footage has the greatest footwork you’ll ever see, set to a period porno soundtrack.


The Liver Run

1987: two plump coppers have 35 minutes to get a human liver 29 miles across London. They’re driving a BL-era Rover SD1, so wisely there’s a back-up car, in which some genius has set the VHS running. Cue hilarious roll angles, clouds of brake-smoke and pure wish-fulfilment for anyone who has ever fumed in London traffic.


Tony Pond’s TT lap

Big Rovers again. How do you make a standard 800 interesting? Ask Tony Pond to lap the Isle of Man TT circuit at an average of 100mph in one. That means riding the kerbs through the villages and hitting (an indicated) 150mph through the ‘burbs, and all to make it back to the pits before the rust sets in and the company folds.



Now every track-day wannabe has an in-car Go-Pro camera, but Stefan Roser’s lurid, lo-fi late-‘80s laps of the ‘Ring in the 200mph-plus Ruf Yellowbird on a public day are still the best. No lid, sideways everywhere, dodging cars, bikes and accidents, white socks and loafers working the pedals: this is how the wannabes wannabe, before they have their inevitable massive accident.


Senna, Monaco 1990

There’s plenty of Senna in-car footage online but this is the maddest; it looks like it has been played back at double speed. The camera is plainly struggling, but Ayrton isn’t.


Climb Dance

Sideways on gravel, thousands of feet of nothing to the side of the track – and Ari Vatanen is driving Pike’s Peak one-handed, the other shielding his eyes from the sun. How did someone so cool wind up an MEP?


The funniest rally video ever

The Rubber Bandits go rallying: a potty-mouthed and helium-voiced Irish rally driver gets increasingly and very amusingly incensed with the slower drivers holding him up. Definitely NSFW.

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By Ben Oliver

Contributing editor, watch connoisseur, purveyor of fine features