• John Posted: 7/27/2005 2:55pm PDT

    I enjoy Top Gear and Fifth Gear for that they are car enthusiast's shows made my enthusiasts. Other shows such as "Pimp My Ride", Overhauled, and the countless number of Motorcycle Chopper variants are marketing ploys. The technical aspects are limited and the marketing plugs are all over the shows. Though they may be entertaining, these shows provide little more than basic mechanics and a little drama. The usual, get the vehicle, fix it up and reveal process are the plot. Viewers see what happens but get very little in the tech. aspect.

  • Mark Posted: 7/26/2005 11:41am PDT

    Ugghh..."pimp my ride" as good car TV? You're kidding. Here, take my '84 Caravan and give it a lime green paint job, three LCD panels and a love seat. Sure, its still got a puny I4, but who cares? Its got two waterfalls in the back! Whee!!!

    As for Automaniac, I'm holding off on that one right now. I can't tell if I'm simply jealous of Goldberg or as Andrew noticed above, the technical flaws of the show.

  • Andrew Posted: 7/26/2005 10:52am PDT

    I agree with the statement by Chris, UK version of Top Gear is the best. I do believe that Fifth Gear is a great fit for TV without the dumbing down for America. It was shown on SPEED, but there wasn't enough to keep it going. I think Fifth Gear would be a better fit on TNT or on Discovery channel. However Chris, you missed on the one reason I think Fifth Gear would work, Vicki Butler-Henderson!!!!

  • Chris Greene Posted: 7/25/2005 5:41pm PDT

    Hi Marty,

    Top Gear is indeed a great show, with high production values. The best version, however, is the unadulterated British edition... Discovery Channel's edited and dumbed-down version (for simple-minded Americans who don't know how to convert kilograms into pounds) is really disappointing.

    The problem with AutoManiac is that I often catch some slightly skewed, incorrect or fuzzy statements on the details of the details of cars they feature. (For instance, the Pantera is widely recognized as being a De Tomaso automobile, not a Ford, despite having the FoMoCo 351 V8.)

    At least Bill Goldberg doesn't sound scripted. If I were put in charge of Car and Driver TV, I would fire their current host. Not only is his voice shrill, he sounds like he's reading from the automaker's press release, a la John Davis (Motorweek):
    "If you're looking for excitement at a bargain basement cost, the ______ just might be for you."

    They go on praising the car, until they find a few niggling complaints about the radio dials and then pronounce the car a "one of the benchmarks in its class."

    One last show you should take a look at: Fifth Gear with Tiff Needell. Brilliant driver and good commentary, although the production values are not quite as high as Top Gear.

    Chris Greene

    P.S. If you know of any moto-journalism jobs, I've been a communications guy for ten years with extensive business writing to my credit. I have an encyclopedic knowledge of cars going back to the sixties, and I'm fairly stylish when I have time to edit. (This would not be a good example!)