If you got yourself an Amazon Prime subscription, The Grand Tour isn’t the only automotive goodness available to stream – there’s a nice chunk of the epic JDMcentric Best Motoring International back catalogue available!
If you’re not aware of this slightly odd wonder of car enthusiasm, it’s a Japanese magazine video series that ran for 24 years before being cancelled. It seems it’s sudden expiration was a result of the arrest of J’s Racing’s boss, Junichi Umemoto for an alleged hit and run accident that happened when he was featured in a Honda tuning segment. Given that in 2011 it’s primary distribution was still DVD sales and there are only so many hours of the same cars hurtling round a track or Tōge runs hardcore fans will pay for it’s demise was probably on the cards anyway and the incident forced the issue.
Yep, I said Tōge. The art of Japanese mountain pass driving.
There is some truly bonkers driving in some of those segments and for the uninitiated, Best Motoring is basically made up of segments featuring car reviews, track battles and touge battles running in Initial D format.
Speaking of Initial D, Best Motoring featured a host by the name of Keiichi Tsuchiya. It is his life that the main character from Initial D is based on, all the way down to how both of them started exploring their local touge while doing regular deliveries for their family businesses. Tsuchiya was also an editorial supervisor for Wangan Midnight. He also appeared in the semi-biographical films Shuto Kousoku Trial 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.
In Best motoring Tsuchiya is a cantankerous clown that can still match the younger race car drivers on the track with his skill and guile.
I mentioned in the latest episode of The Both Hand Drive Podcast that car culture seems to be missing something in the mold of Best motoring – an actual long form enthusiasts show made by enthusiasts for enthusiasts that doesn’t need to appeal to the mainstream of TV, or assume some nonsense reality show style drama element.
I think we are also reaching peak over-stylised drifting car segments as well.
The beauty of Best Motoring is the straight forward attitude of putting a bunch of fast drivers in a bunch of different cars and seeing what happens, then talking about the cars strengths and weaknesses.
Perhaps, given the business models, the advent of Netflix and Amazon will bring back something in the vein of Best Motoring. I’m cool with or without the odd bits of Japanese humour… maybe without the uncomfortable casual sexism though.
We can only hope while we push up the viewing figures for good car shows past and present.