YouTube has quite literally taken the World by storm in the last decade, completely dominating all video-orientated media across essentially every social media platform across the internet. Need a recipe? YouTube it. Need to learn how to bench properly? YouTube it. Can’t tie a bowtie for your graduation ball? Fucking YouTube it.
Due to the sheer volume of traffic on YouTube, Google decided to monetise it through advertising, thus producing the dawn of ‘The YouTuber’. You can now make a staggering amount of cash from an Iphone, a GoPro and some editing software, uploading videos on a regular basis to a YouTube account. As long as people are committed to watching whatever you have to say and tell their friends and their friends share it with their friends, a perfectly good living can be made from essentially making frequent home videos.
This influx of daily ‘vloggers’ like Zoella and Alfie whatshisface has made the art of video blogging trickle down into many other walks of life, including the world of cars. Whether it be low quality, high volume daily vlogs or extremely high quality cinematic features, the world of cars and automotive journalism has been blown open and thrust into a new era of instantaneous feedback and reviews open to anyone with an internet cable and a laptop. You don’t even have to read anything anymore, simply nestle into your IKEA beanbag and let Chris Harris tell you exactly what it’s like to drift a Ferrari F12 on the country roads of Wales.
The British Isles have suddenly gained a crop of car-based YouTube channels run by vloggers, with most of them based in Southern England. It’s quite staggering the sheer frequency of videos that they are able to produce and to a fairly decent standard too but the real money is always made through this sheer volume of content. So which ones are worth subscribing to and which aren’t worth a view, dislike or even a presence online?
Let’s start with the utter crap.
First of all, what a bloody annoying name. If you haven’t heard him call himself it on video yet, I can tell you that it sounds so much more excruciating coming from him. His voice genuinely makes me nauseous.
This guy personifies the worst type of YouTuber, the privileged kind. He essentially proves that anyone with a whole heap of cash behind them can simply show off their lifestyle on a daily basis, do horrible things to stock cars (because they have too much dosh and not enough taste) and gallivant around the World walking around other cars that they know nothing about because their ‘passion’ for cars was pretty much bought rather than inherited or grown into. I can barely watch the guy.
He makes sure that there is a sign in front of every car over 20 years old at the dealerships that he goes to to make sure that he doesn’t get caught out. He has little to no on-camera charisma yet has annoyingly got in bed with pretty much every car manufacturer, making him a powerhouse in terms of getting some properly serious cars on his channel. This also makes him seem unbelievably pompous when in tandem with other ‘lesser’ YouTubers, purely because he has a colossal army of 14-year-old followers who think he’s the shit.
He currently owns a McLaren 675LT, a Porsche Cayman GT4 and a Ferrari FF. And yet in terms of entertainment factor, he comes crushingly short of much less powerful YouTubers. His general chit-chat is nowhere near good enough to get me through a twenty-minute video (and for the record, I’m much more patient than most of my other contemporaries from the PlayStation Generation).
Supercars of London
Paul Wallace was my first exposure to car vloggers. I started to like him, simply because he had an Audi R8 (the manual V8). But the annoying thing is, he drops in and out of quality content. He isn’t the most intelligent of chaps which really shows in his ‘script’ and editing. His English can sometimes be fairly tough to listen to as you can almost hear the cogs in his brain jamming to think up similes and metaphors to keep up with his journalistic counterparts. He’s 25 this year but he has all the articulation of a 12-year-old.
I am actually a big fan of Paul’s channel but I can see why it appeals to the younger demographic of YouTube users, seeing as the content is very simplistic and almost a tad too basic for me at times. I have no time for ‘rev battles’, ‘McDonald’s Roulette’ or Iron Man-wrapped Audi R8s in my life.
It always comes over through his videos that he really isn’t that great a driver either; he’ll make sure he only ever drives fast in a straight line. In my mind to get the most out of the cars he drives, he really should learn how to push on through the twisting country roads of Southern England. However, considering his channel started as simply a car spotting channel, he has really made a startling progression to be where he is. He seems to be the most committed to properly monetising his videos too, having done numerous clothing and merchandise collaborations.
On the other hand, there are many other videos that he’s created that have made me rage (combined with jealousy). One vlog that got me seething was a trip to the Goodwood Revival that he had been invited to. As Ferrari 250 GTOs, Ford GTs and Shelby Cobras were going full chat around the Goodwood circuit, Paul spent his filming time walking through the car park.
He blatantly wasn’t interested in the priceless racing and instead was more than happy to film whatever cars the other attendees had turned up in. The lack of class and passion for the older cars was properly tragic. And sometimes his views on the car world are simply juvenile. His genuine reason for not buying a convertible R8 was because it would mess up his hair. Seriously? That’s not an okay thing for a 24-year-old male to come out with.
All in all, I do like Supercars of London, I never miss an upload. I do actually enjoy his videos and they are definitely getting much better as time goes on. But I personally never trust people that bite their nails to a point where they barely exist and their fingers resemble rounded, sweaty stumps that make taking the packaging off of DVDs impossible. I would never use Paul’s videos for an educational purpose but in terms of entertainment, he’s got a fan in me.
Seen Through Glass
This guy has it sorted. He has a job in the city and then at weekends makes some truly engaging content. Sam has so much more taste than any other UK car vlogger. What does he do when he gets a bit of money? He buys an Alfa Romeo 4C. He gets a bit more money? Buys a Jaguar F-Type R. He is the man.
The quality of his content is top notch and since motoring television shows have been wiped clean off of mainstream media these days, STG has very much filled that void by using the modernising expanse of online vlogging.
Instead of arsing around with the petty side of young supercar ownership, he uses his nouse to get cars like the Porsche GT3 RS 4.0, Ferrari 360 CS and Jaguar E-Type on his channel, to name just a few. Rather than show yet another generic Aventador trundling through Knightsbridge, he’ll go visit places like SMC Automotive to have a look at their Overland Defenders, simply because he is into that kind of thing. His individualistic approach to his videos makes him so much more engaging, purely down to his passion for the areas of the car world that he cares about rather than appealing to the lowest common denominator (something that Shmee is horrendous for).
If I ever got into YouTubing (which I can almost guarantee I won’t), I would hope to emulate someone like Sam due to his combination of sincerity and quality of production. Sam, if you’re reading, keep it up.
There are a few other smaller car vloggers out there that are worth tuning into as well, namely Seb Delanney and Mr JWW.
Seb is a Monaco resident that owns a little Lotus Elise. Despite his lack of grunt in terms of popularity and car-pulling power, I much prefer his content to that of Tim’s (Shmee). I’m yet to be convinced of James’ (Mr JWW’s) content yet. He has all the chat and he gives off a very cool persona…but I feel he is also sitting on that cusp of having purely bought his way to a YouTube career. In my opinion, YouTube success follows the same template of building your own personal car. You can build it out of your own blood, sweat and tears…or you can just buy it. And it heavily influences my personal viewing knowing whether they’ve put the work in or not.
I personally know that I’d never be decent in front of a camera; if I strapped a GoPro to my windscreen I’d just turn into a mumbling, sweaty mess. But it is blatantly obvious that vlogging is where the money is when it comes to freelance car ‘journalism’ nowadays and I can only see more and more individuals joining the growing fraternity of British car YouTubers.
With manufacturers handing cars out to these guys on a regular basis, I wouldn’t be surprised if the established magazines are panicking a bit; they’re just not cool enough anymore. The rise of the YouTube generation has well and truly begun.