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Magazine / Motor Week

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"Hello, and welcome to MotorWeek! We're glad to have you with us."

Motor Week (stylized as a single word: MotorWeek) is a long-lived American TV automotive magazine series produced by Maryland Public Television and featured on various PBS affiliates nationally. Compared to the more internationally famous Top Gear (UK) series (or at least its' post-2000 reboot), MotorWeek is much more "matter-of-factual", with segments reviewing a car in the same manner most magazines review consumer products. Meaning that zany stunts and antics are very rare or outright nonexistent - aside from the straight-line and slalom performance tests the most that might happen is a burnout or donut to emphasize a narrated point. Their reviews and conclusions also tend to be somewhat "soft" with almost universal praise for every car they test, or somewhat vague at its most critical - the cynical might say as a result of their comparative precarious position being a PBS show primarily reliant on corporate "donations" and hence being extra-sensitive to not offend. Or as automotive website The Truth About Cars puts it, "every car's a winner."


Additionally, the show features automotive news segments, mini-reviews (the "Car Keys" segments are a brief introduction to the features of a recently introduced model that might receive a more in-depth review in the future; the "Long-Term Updates" are updates on how well a car has held up after the review and many miles of use), a DIY repair segment called "Goss' Garage" (hosted by Pat Goss) and most recently a news segment on how automotive technology is catching up with municipal and federal "green" initiatives.

Jalopnik holds a regular introspective feature on the magazine, mostly focusing on the earlier years but looking back at recent episodes as well.

MW has an official YouTube channel here. It's not a complete archive - they add new "old" features one roadtest at a time several times a week.


Compare to Top Gear (UK), Car And Driver and Motor Trend (the latter two now mostly known for its Dead Tree-print products but also having both short-lived television series on TNN/Spike TV and now on YouTube).

Tropes include:

  • Annual Title: For a while in the late '80s/early '90s.
  • Boring, but Practical: The whole reason why they eventually ditched the indoor studio filming was because they outgrew it, and thus it was much easier to simply film outside where they had all the space they'd ever need. Similarly, Pat Goss' Garage outgrew several custom-built sets, all of which were fully-functional garages (save for the one used in the pilot, which was just the borrowed backlot of a local gas station).
    • Many, *many* of the cars themselves. Particularly in the early years which coincided with the pit of the Malaise Era of cars.
  • Cool Car: There are many cool sports cars throughout the show, like the Dodge Viper RT/10, the Lamborghini Diablo VT, the Lotus Esprit and the Acura NSX.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: During the show's first few seasons in the late 1980s the show had more of a typical "newscast" look with an indoor studio and newsdesk-style presenting. Starting in the early 1990s the show is now presented outdoors with John Davis walking among various cars (used to be the ones actually reviewed in the show, now seemingly random leaning towards high-end, high-performance luxury models).
  • Advertisement:
  • Logo Joke: For a time in the late '80s/early '90s, the fully-formed "Viewers Like You" logo of the time appeared on the license plate of an actual car that the camera zoomed in on as the announcer recited the obligatory credit.


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