YouTube has an ever-expanding universe of automotive delight. From professional restoration shops to backyard hacks like me, there is a flavor for everyone. I’m subscribed to exactly 122 YouTube channels. Do you know how much automotive content that is to digest on the regular? I’m literally drowning in videos while tears of joy stream down my cheeks and into my popcorn.
Today, I am giving you my top 11 YouTube channels. Coincidentally, “11” is about the same number of miles I’ve put on my 1964 Impala in 21 years… but that’s another story for another day.
As you dance your way down this list, you’re surely going to find some surprises. For example, Motor Trend didn’t make the list. Sure they have 1.7 billion YouTube views, 5 million subscribers, and over 2,000 absolutely amazing videos. They also have Roadkill. But they also quit making YouTube content recently, which made me quite grumpy, and thus my once-favorite YouTube channel simply didn’t qualify for my “Top 11” list. All right, let’s get to the list:
The Hagerty Insurance YouTube channel is great for two very specific reasons. The first is Tom Cotter. This guy is great. He is a talented author and has written several books about automotive Barn Finds. I’ve read them all, and you probably should too. “The Cobra in the Barn”, “The Hemi in the Barn”, “The Corvette in the Barn”, and several others. Just google him. He’s an old car expert and basically just cruises around America finding forgotten old cars in barns, and then writes about them and documents the findings on the Hagerty YouTube channel. It’s short, dusty, and amazing.
The second reason is that Hagerty has some incredible time lapse engine-rebuild videos. I cannot stress enough how much you need to watch these. They have time lapse videos for an SBC, an old Firedome Hemi, an aircooled VW engine, a flathead Ford V8, and a couple others. Watch them now. Send me thank-you emails later.
Take caution—there is some “mature” language in the videos on this channel. The words are all said in jest, but it is what it is. If you prefer a more “pure” channel, just skip this one. With that warning out of the way, “AvE” is an acronym for “Arduino Vs. Evil”.
This channel isn’t specifically an automotive channel, but the topics translate to the automotive world so nicely that I’m including it. The premise of this channel is an extraordinarily intelligent guy with a great Canadian accent takes tools and household objects apart and determines how they are constructed. In doing so, he also determines what makes them function right or wrong, and often modifies them to push the limit of their performance. He knows more about plastics, machining, and electrical engineering than any one person should. Then he relays… (heh, electrical joke) the information in really simplistic ways to the viewer. I’ll go ahead and just say it, “This is officially the best YouTube channel of all!” There. Now you know.
You know 1AAuto.com belongs on the list. Not only can you find Yours Truly in some of the how-to videos on this channel, but the sheer volume of auto repair videos that are on this channel is unmatched anywhere. Nearly 6,000 videos on over 250 different cars and trucks, with 300+ million views! If you have to replace nearly any part on any car, you will likely find a how-to video here.
The production quality of the videos on this channel is as-good, if not better-than an actual movie you would pay money to watch in a theater. I cannot imagine what kind of effort goes into creating the videos for this channel, but they document stories of automotive passion that will make you have feelings—feelings that you didn’t even realize you had inside your body. One of my favorite single videos of all time is on this specific channel. It’s called “Building Your Dream Ferrari is A Beautiful Thing”. If you find yourself totally caught up on Game of Thrones, binge watching every video on the Petrolicious YouTube channel will be time well spent.
You can’t talk about automotive content on YouTube without talking about 1320. This channel is all-out, real-deal drag racing. There 1700+ of drag racing videos at tracks and on the street. It’s real and fast, and it’s fun to watch. Since we’re on the topic, street racing is irresponsible and dangerous. Don’t do it. Go support your local race track so that it stays in business for you and the future generations. That will be your public service announcement for today.
This guy named Matt began documenting his automotive projects in his garage, and called it Sloppy Mechanics. It may come across sloppy when you initially watch a video, but in reality, Matt is an extremely talented gearhead that understands engine building and tuning better than the vast majority of people/professionals out there. Throughout his videos, he learns and shares that you don’t actually need to spend a billion dollars on shiny objects to make a powerful engine. Some performance parts simply don’t matter. He has made over 1,000 horsepower on an engine that he pulled out of a Van in the junkyard. In short, Hot rodding is still alive and well, and Matt has proven this about 100 times over. If you are considering a modern V8 swap into anything (especially an LSx), you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not subscribing to the Sloppy Mechanics channel.
Bad Obsession Motorsport
“Project Binky” is all you need to remember. This channel covers the multi-year build of an AWD, turbo Celica-drivetrain Mini-cooper rally car, known as “Project Binky”. The entire series takes place in a garage someplace in England. I’m terrible with geography though, so I could be wrong by at least 2 continents. In any case, the two guys performing this incredible Mini-build are hysterical. There are subtle references to Leslie Nielsen movies, and the attention to detail with their metal fabrication will make you sick (in a good way). Truly one of the best “build-threads” I’ve ever witnessed. Definitely worth binge-watching.
Tom’s Turbo Garage
You will never, ever see a more organized automotive build than on the Tom’s Turbo Garage YouTube channel. If you think your project cars are tidy under the hood, you’re simply wrong. You don’t even know what a clean build is until you watch Tom work. He shows you how to do everything the right way, and keep your garage-life organized in the process. Watch his “Project Thunderbolt” LS3 swapped Miata video series and it will change your life. Not only is this channel/content extremely well-produced, educational and entertaining, but Tom is a genuinely great guy. EVERYONE loves Tom. I’ve talked with him a handful of times on automotive forums, and many of my friends know him personally because he is an old school turbo 4G63 enthusiast like myself. Check out his channel and help me figure out how in the world he keeps his garage so clean. Seriously, I have no idea.
Have you ever wished you owned a giant warehouse with 20 of your closest gearhead friends? Ever dream of having dozens of project/race cars, and also a personal parking lot to do endless smoky donuts in? This channel is basically all of that—on video. Fellow car-people visit the Hoonigan garage. They talk about rad cars they drive, then do smoky donuts in the parking lot, and drive away like it’s all very normal. Oh! One other thing: this channel has interviews of automotive people over beers. It’s super casual and fun to see major automotive figures let their guard down over a pint of cheer beer and nonchalantly interview.
Hand Built Cars
Okay, I haven’t researched this channel at all, but I have absolutely no idea how the heck they do what they do. This channel documents the restoration of old cars from beginning to end. One video equals one complete car restoration. You have to see it to believe it. I don’t know how it’s possible to create the videos at the rate they do, because restoring a car takes a long, long time. It must be a massive restoration shop, or maybe many small shops that film crews visit? I honestly don’t know. But the videos are great and I love seeing old rusty cars look new again.
Hand Tool Rescue
I bet you didn’t know that people restore old tools, just like they do old cars. They do. This is real life. The Hand Tool Rescue YouTube channel documents tool restoration with fascinating style. You see the starting point, which often includes broken/missing parts along with decade old damage. Then you see the disassembly and reassembly, and finally, the finished product doing exactly what the tool is intended to do. It could be any tool, from a hand saw to a roofing hammer. Watch one video from this channel and try not to get addicted. It’s impossible.
THAT’S A WRAP! Oh, wait. Some other channels deserve honorable mention as well because they do provide me with entertainment and knowledge.
Here they are:
Vice Grip Garage
All are winners.