Amazon Prime: Paradise for car enthusiasts
A benefit I didn’t even know about in the beginning
Like the millions of other families all over the world we became Amazon Prime subscribers because of the special deals and many times free shipping. But it wasn’t until my wife and I gave each other a brand new 65 inch smart TV for Christmas which just happened to be an Amazon Prime Fire Edition. I was just excited about getting the TV because it is UHD and would be great for watching football games but after setting it up found motorhead city, all for just $99 a year. I now do a lot of binge watching.
My favorite show, The Grand Tour
I had only a passing interest in the show when it was on BBC America then known as Top Gear but now I am hooked on The Grand Tour. The show is about cars with a large injection of British humor and for some will take a bit getting used to, especially since the British use different names for the same items we have here. For example where we call it the hood of the car, they call it the bonnet, our trunk is their boot, and our quarter panels are called wings over there. One non-car related item came up in today’s show where they mentioned jumpers as in an article of clothing. According to Collins Dictionary a jumper is a warm knitted piece of clothing which covers the upper part of your body. But I digress, onto the show.
The three “presenters”, as they call them in England, are Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May. These guys work so well together and feed of each and others comments making the episodes, which last around an hour, fly by. They usually begin with a taped segment which might compare one brand of supercar against another. No, not like one of the magazine articles with all the stats and stuff, but more on their personalities. They may come back to that episode toward the end of the show. The production of these segments is beyond spectacular. In the episode released today the trio attempted to break the British speed record for an amphibious vehicle. Jeremy Clarkson’s vehicle integrated a jet engine and ended up only going three miles an hour on the water. Fail. Richard Hammond and James May teamed up with a more practical vehicle made from a small electric car and personal watercraft and ended up breaking the record going around 47 mph. This is the typical wackiness that goes on in an episode.
Conversation Street is a segment usually airing around the midpoint of the show and lasting 5 to 10 minutes. I really like how the segment opens with a title featuring black silhouettes of the presenters against a white background and it varies from episode-to-episode. Be prepared for laughter because in the past the title screen have featured Jeremy in high heels, Hammond with a bird on his arm, and the presenters with sombreros. The segment contains motoring news, motoring topics, and recent events.
They even have their own test track, located at an old British Royal Air Force base nicknamed the Eboladrome because if you look at it from above, it resembles the Ebola virus. I love the names they have for the landmarks on the course such as Old Lady’s House, the Isn’t Straight, Substation, and Your Name Here Corner. Their test driver is 26-year-old Abbie Eaton, an accomplished racer in England, currently running endurance races in a Ferrari, as well as the British GT championship series in a Ginetta G55.
This is a great show and part of my Friday morning ritual along with watching Jay Leno’s Garage recorded the night before on CNBC.
But wait, there’s more car shows
I read Tom Cotter’s books on his barn finds and loved them so discovering him on Prime was a real treat. In The Barn Find Hunter, Tom travels the country in his 1939 Ford Woodie Wagon, searching for forgotten classics in barns, backyards and scrap yards. This program is sponsored by Hagerty.
Into Formula 1 racing, there are a couple of shows you’ll want to check out. LeMans: Racing is Everything followed six teams prepping and running in the race. The photography is shot in 4K and spectacular. The Formula One Drivers aka The Quick and the Dead centers on the life, and death, of the racers from F1’s beginnings in late 60’s. My favorite driver, Jackie Stewart, is interviewed several times in the film where he talks about the sacrifices drivers of his era made to make F1 racing as safe as it is today.
There are two specials on the Ford GT, one covering the GT40’s development and battle with Ferrari at LeMans and another one covering Ford’s return to the race 50 years after its first appearance. You will want to watch these more than once because of the outstanding editing and photography.
There are lots of others that I haven’t had the time to catch yet but will soon. Back to my binge watching.