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Gearhead Show

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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.

It's also referred to as a "petrolhead show" outside of North America.

Compare Home and Garden, feel-good shows about giving houses/gardens a makeover.


Live-Action TV

  • Discovery Channel:
    • American Chopper: A reality show following the Teutuls, who operate the family business of building elaborate customized motorcycles.
    • Monster Garage: May have started the current trend. It 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': It's 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.
  • The Grand Tour, the Spiritual Successor of Clarkson, Hammond, and May's run on Top Gear.
  • Petrolheads
  • 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.
  • Police, Camera, Action!
  • Scrapheap Challenge: In it, along with its US equivalent, Junkyard Wars, teams compete to produce a machine for Task X using random scrap and some expert advice. A giant catapult, say, or a train.
  • Speed Network:
    • Everything on the channel 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.
    • Car And Track: Perhaps the earliest example of the video road test and racing footage format. The network shows segments occasionally as a form of Unintentional Period Piece with a disclaimer mentioning how dated the reviews are.
  • 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.
  • Top Gear (UK), and its Channel 5 competitor, Fifth Gear.
    • Let's face it, there should probably be a picture of Jeremy Clarkson in the dictionary next to "petrolhead".
    • Of course, this includes every other version of Top Gear as well including Top Gear (US).
  • Trick My Truck: On CMT. A countrified version of the above, revolving around the customization of semi-trucks. It suffers in that everything appears to be obviously scripted, even the trucker's reaction shots.
  • Trucks!: Stacey David's show was the ratings leader for the segment during its run, in large part because he did most of the work himself. His follow-up show Gear Z moved between Speed and ESPN 2.
  • A X is Born: Each series centers around the building of or restoration of one class of vehicles —cars, motorcycles, planes, and helicopters. Interspersed with interviews with people involved in the associated hobby.


Web Videos

  • Roadkill: Any given episode can be summed up as Gearhead Show going on a road trip using The Alleged Car on some sort of Zany Scheme. Cue lots of duct tape, roadside repairs, and just technically legal shenanigans as the hosts drive across the country. Their spinoff Hot Rod Garage started as a straight-up educational show, but they gradually started goofing off during their work as well.