I know we’ve discussed how the state of most car shows you see on mainstream television are generally somewhere between a pizza made from urine-soaked carpet samples and an unexpected, forceful kick in the groin when it comes to quality and enjoyability. We’ve lamented this before, and once even tried our hand at it, but all of 15 people watched it (two of them had it on in the background while they expressed their dog’s anal glands) and so we weren’t really able to improve things. But there’s a new show on Discovery that just might be different. It’s called Driven, and I’m 100 percent biased because I helped out with it.
Here, have a promo video:
Many of you may remember Beau Boeckmann from the old MTV Pimp My Ride show, which was certainly fun, and likely even more of you know him because he wrote the foreward to my book, which, for public health reasons, you probably have to buy.
Beau is a pal, and we’ve talked before about how wouldn’t it be great if there was a car show that actually focused on the cars and their fascinating histories and stories and contexts, and not some inane artificial deadline or tedious and depressing infighting among fathers and sons or yet another build of a replica Bullitt Mustang or any of the old, tired, cliché crap that so many car shows have devolved into.
The goal with Driven was to make a show for actual, non-moron gearheads, with the hope that even expert car geeks might find something new to learn. I helped out with some research and trying to make all that information funny or interesting in some way, and hopefully that work will be evident in the show.
The kinds of cars the show will focus on aren’t the usual muscle car fodder that car shows tend to traffic in. I know this season will feature cars that I personally find fascinating, like the Hanomag Kommisbrot, Brubaker Box, that amazing show rod made from bathtubs and a toilet you’ve seen in so many ‘70s-era books about hot rods, and the only air-cooled VW-based car built by Big Daddy Roth, the Wishbone.
There’s going to be a lot of interesting stuff, and the dives into these cars are all pretty deep. And it’s not just history—there’s real work going on (not just people taking angle grinders to metal to make showers of sparks) as Beau and his team actually find and restore these incredible machines.
For example, here’s an exclusive clip—a clip teased out of the network just for you, dammit—from the first episode that’s about a remarkable DeTomaso Pantera that was extensively modified by Carroll Shelby as a sort of Viper proof-of-concept. Sort of. Look, turbo legend Gale Banks shows up, even:
Now, I haven’t actually seen any finished episodes, and I don’t actually know how whatever research I did was used, so I suppose it’s possible network executives went all nuts and ruined everything. I can’t say for sure.
But, I don’t think so.
I talked to Beau about the show, and he was thrilled about how the cinematography looks, the things they managed to learn and find, how the cars turned out, and he seemed genuinely excited overall. He mentioned he wanted to get credit to some previously unsung heroes, bring some attention to skilled people who work with their hands to do this sort of work, and to educate—in a not-so-self-serious way—people, gearheads or normies, about some fascinating cars.
I’m down with all of that. I’m curious to see how it turned out.
If you are too, it’ll premiere on March 30, on Discovery.