Take the noble art of gymkhana (popularised by the likes of Ken Block on YouTube), a big budget, a disused industrial park in the middle of New York, 28 drivers, a rapidly growing learning curve and lump them all together. That’s Hyperdrive.
If you don’t know what gymkhana is, here’s a fresher—you have a set of challenges around a track that involves a complete mastery of car control and you have to go around it in the fastest possible time. The challenges can be as simple as doing five complete 360 degree donuts around a barrel, or as crazy and whacky as the show’s producers can dream up. And dream they did—featuring ridiculous props and insanely over-the-top stunts, Hyperdrive is gymkhana as you’ve never seen it, such as a swinging bridge that ends in a six storey drop unless you can level the bridge by driving back and forth.
The 28 drivers competing are as diverse as their cars. Featuring everyone from a J-pop singer/model to a drift sensei to an elderly SCCA champion, Hyperdrive truly went beyond age, gender and nationality in their roster of drivers. The cars are crazy as well—there’s a 2JZ Toyota Crown drift car dressed up as a Japanese cop car, proper Nissan Silvia/240SX drift missiles, drag spec Camaros and drifting Chargers and Mustangs. There’s also an Austin panelvan with 800 horsepower.
The action is over the top and the initial adrenaline rush from seeing all of these crazy cars sliding around a neon lit track never goes away. There’s never a dull moment and very little manufactured drama, and the brief but well-made insights into the drivers’ backgrounds is a peek at car and tuner culture worldwide. For something to binge on, Hyperdrive is easily at the top of the list. For something to take an interest in, the show is a refreshing take on the Wipeout style competition that’ll appeal to both gearheads and civilians alike.
Rust Valley Restorers
Rust Valley Restorers follows Canadian car collector (read: ‘hoarder’) Mike Hall and his son Conner as they invest all their savings into a restoration shop that attempts to work on their 400+ vintage cars that Mike has gathered over the span of 40 odd years.
The series follows the shop crew as they attempt to get rust buckets that have been exposed to the elements in the remote town in British Columbia with the scarcely believable name—Rust Valley. Mike’s yard contains significant parts of the American muscle car era like the Dodge Charger, Super Bee and Ford Mustang, as well as the lesser known cars/trucks like the Plymouth Satellite and International Harvester.
While Rust Valley Restorers was originally a History Channel show and contains largely the same structure and story-telling as every other restoration/hot-rod American show, the crew of the Rust Bros garage and their eccentric, knotted haired owner Mike are good enough reasons to watch it. It’s a rare treat, watching the crew take a complete rust bucket and scrounging Mike’s hoard for parts and trim and turn it into a concours worthy machine. It helps that Mike Hall has enough charisma to carry the show on his own.