A show centered around the construction, customization, or restoration of a unique vehicle, or modifying an ordinary vehicle to be more unique. Ranges from the down-to-earth how-to programs, to outlandish workplace reality dramas. (Also referred to as a "petrolhead show" outside of North America.)
- Pimp My Ride, on MTV. Rapper Xzibit and the crew at GAS (earlier, West Coast Customs) take the most trashy, beat-down cars their viewers can show them, and convert them into luxury custom machines. Gets more outrageous with each episode, usually including video and audio equipment that quintuples (at least) the value of the car.
- Trick My Truck, on CMT. A countrified version of the above, revolving around the customization of semi trucks.
- Trick My Truck suffers in that everything appears to be obviously scripted, even the trucker's reaction shots.
- American Chopper, on Discovery. A reality show following the Teutuls, who operate the family business of building elaborate customized motorcycles.
- Monster Garage, on Discovery. May have started the current trend, was originally centered around converting street vehicles into souped-up power equipment, that would then challenge the real-deal; i.e., converting an SUV into a trash truck. Focus began to shift as they ran low on ideas.
- Overhaulin' is another show on Discovery, centered around classic American car restoration. Much lighter on the customization than most other gearhead shows. Dips into melodrama and littlest cancer patient moments often.
- Scrapheap Challenge and its US equivalent, Junkyard Wars, wherein teams compete to produce a machine for Task X using random scrap and some expert advice. A giant catapult, say, or a train.
- Everything on the Speed! Network that isn't a race event. Most of them are This Old House-style instructional project shows, loaded with Product Placement, and devoted to a particular vehicle type, i.e. trucks, low riders, muscle cars, or import tuners.
- Top Gear, and its Channel 5 competitor, Fifth Gear.
- Let's face it, there should probably be a picture of Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson in the dictionary next to "petrolhead".
- Of course, this includes every other version of Top Gear as well.
- Spike TV has its weekend morning "PowerBlock" (premiers Saturday morning, reruns the following Sunday morning) which typically closely follows the more traditional setup of down to earth how-to programs. Doesn't stop the hosts from being zany, though. Oh, and the host for the programming block itself is professional driver/professional model Courtney Hanson.
- Car And Track, perhaps the earliest example of the video road test and racing footage format. Speed shows segments occasionally as a form of Unintentional Period Piece with a disclaimer mentioning how dated the reviews are.
- Motor Week
- A X is Born, in which each series centers around the building of or restoration of one class of vehicle: cars, motorcycles, planes, and helicopters. Interspersed with interviews with people involved in the associated hobby.