Help me become the Car Czar who knows what cars are
September 8, 2014 12:51 AM   Subscribe

I am not a car person. I haven't regularly driven a car since I finished my undergrad degree, but for a variety of work-related reasons I need to acquire a literacy about the automotive industry, with bonus points for getting a bit of a download on car culture.

I read my feeds every day without fail, so I'd like to establish a daily car-related RSS folder. What blogs/websites/news sites etc should I be reading regularly? Are there any YouTube channels? Twitter feeds?

The details are vague largely because until now I haven't paid any attention to, well, cars. I'd like to get to a position where I have a broad understanding of current trends in the automotive industry and issues/topics/memes amongst car enthusisast. I understand this is a maddeningly broad question and I will provide clarification where needed.

Thanks for any help!
posted by nerdfish to Travel & Transportation (15 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Are there any YouTube channels?

I'm subscribed to:
  • Jay Leno's Garage
  • Motor Trend but purely for episodes of Roadkill

posted by PenDevil at 2:08 AM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

I would addthe truth about cars &
jalopnik to your daily readings, both have a variety of auto themed topics, real news on sales data, car reviews, etc
posted by TheAdamist at 3:13 AM on September 8, 2014 [3 favorites]

Two words: Top Gear. Back episodes are available on Netflix, BBC IPlayer, and there are a number of clips on their Youtube channel. Now, there are people who claim that it's not really a motoring show (and there's a grain of truth to that). Co-host Jeremy Clarkson can be polarizing, to say the least. However, it really delivers the gut-level gestalt of the average petrol-head on the street. And you might, through chance, learn a bit about cars while watching, too.
posted by penguinicity at 3:13 AM on September 8, 2014 [6 favorites]

Car Talk! I used to listen to these guys on the radio every weekend despite having very little interest in cars. They are very entertaining and know a lot about cars.
posted by danabanana at 3:55 AM on September 8, 2014 [2 favorites]

Top Gear totally humanised the car world for me - I even encourage watching some of the special episodes (which are often geared towards more comedic value than reviewing/informing about cars). In the specials, their cars invariably breakdown and they come up with unreal solutions to keep their motors going to the bitter end.

I was amazed at how much can be stripped from a car and it is still, essentially, driveable. Also the relationship between people and their cars, the culture surrounding certain car brands, rivalries over jeep owners/SUVs/people carriers... the works. It's just a solid, entertaining show. I recommend watching a couple of the special episodes before tackling the actual series eps.

Oh, and it'll teach you how to pronounce 'Porche' correctly ;)
posted by Chorus at 4:20 AM on September 8, 2014 [4 favorites]

Ward's has been a top industry mag for a long time.
posted by klarck at 5:08 AM on September 8, 2014

Top Gear is a little odd because a lot of the makes and models of the "regular" cars are completely UK / Euro centric. So if you are in the US, the literacy you get may not be very useful.
posted by smackfu at 6:22 AM on September 8, 2014

@smackfu that's a good point. FWIW, I live in the Netherlands and I'll be dealing with EMEA markets, so 'eurocentrism' isn't so bad!
posted by nerdfish at 6:52 AM on September 8, 2014

I read Hemmings (old and collector cars) and Bring a Trailer (old and/or interesting cars for sale) and Hooniverse fairly regularly. None of these heavily cover current trends, but they should be good for historical and enthusiast perspectives, and issues/topics/memes kinds of stuff.
posted by box at 7:34 AM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh, and it'll teach you how to pronounce 'Porche' correctly ;)
But it may not help you spell it.

Autoweek for up-to-date info.
posted by artdrectr at 8:53 AM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Not sure how feasible this in in the Netherlands, but if you really want to get into this I'd buy an old car, find a car person who likes tinkering, and start doing all of the repairs on it yourself.

I couldn't have cared less about cars until I suddenly needed to know what an idle air control valve was because mine was doing weird things. It'll teach you to appreciate cars, which will lead to genuine interest. Genuine interest for me gave me a framework for placing all the facts and talk about cars floating around.

A few months ago I walked around a classic car show and it was mesmerizing.
posted by beep-bop-robot at 9:37 AM on September 8, 2014

Car and Driver covers the whole range of the automotive world, features some decent writing, and covers things from the perspective of car enthusiasts who live in the real world. It's just about the only place where you'll find a comparison between minivans by reasonable gear-heads. A lot of other places are full of car nuts who only cover the kinds of cars that they like rather than the kinds of cars that a car nut might be stuck choosing.

I know that the magazine has some helpful columns that cover some technical aspects (like how different fuel injection systems work) and a section where people write in with car questions that often get answered with help from industry experts (Technical correspondence I think it's called?). I don't know if these features/columns will show up on the website and/or in their RSS feed though.
posted by VTX at 2:53 PM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

I really enjoy Chris Harris on Cars (though not the rest of the /Drive channel) for a cheeky and entertaining series of episodes by a bloke who's really, really stoked about driving and car culture.

But +1 for BBC Top Gear.
posted by a halcyon day at 8:04 PM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

MotoIQ, especially their guides (they mostly focus on modifying Japanese cars)
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 6:10 AM on September 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Guys, this has all been INSANELY helpful! I now have a robust and fascinating set of feeds. I'm particularly taken by Hooniverse. Thanks so much!
posted by nerdfish at 7:19 AM on September 9, 2014

« Older Need help with fancying up my food   |   Help me haul this heavy computer up into my attic Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.