James May's Cars of the People

 (1,909)8.42014TV-PG
The Model T, the 2CV, The Fiat Cinquecento - history says these are the iconic Peoples' Cars, but James May begs to differ, and in this series, he tells the story of the cars he believes are the true Cars of the People. His journey will take him across mainland Europe to Russia and Japan, and in typical Top Gear style, there'll be road tests, capers and challenges.
Starring
James May
Genres
DocumentarySpecial Interest
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
English
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  1. 1. Episode 1
    August 9, 2014
    59min
    TV-PG
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    In his quest to discover how we, the people, got our wheels, James travels to Germany, Italy and Russia to reveal the extraordinary story of how dictators kick started the mobilization of the masses. James discovers how the British motor industry blew a gift-wrapped chance to rule the world and he gets his own back with a stunt that means bad news for one of the planet's most hated cars.
  2. 2. Episode 2
    August 16, 2014
    59min
    TV-PG
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    James downsizes to explore the weird world of the micro car. We discover how austerity and fears of congestion led to European tragicomic disasters in the shape of Britain's infamous three-wheelers, French death traps and German absurdities. James takes to the battlefield to settle one of the greatest rivalries in car history.
  3. 3. Episode 3
    August 23, 2014
    59min
    TV-PG
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    James reveals the unlikely champions that finally gave the people performance, pride and a hint of luxury. We discover Rolls Royce's strange journey from the elite to the everyman and how the Mustang and the Capri pioneered excitement and performance on blue collar wages. James prepares to unveil his own choice as the ultimate Car of the People.

More details

Directors
Tom Whitter
Producers
Tom Whitter
Season year
2014
Network
BBC America
Purchase rights
Stream instantly Details
Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

1909 global ratings

  1. 72% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 21% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 5% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 1% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Andrew A. HughesReviewed in the United States on April 20, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
James May is the dog's bollocks!
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James May is the thinking man's car critic and historian. I have learned much more than just about cars. This series uses cars as the glue to tie together culture, politics, geography and all done in a way that is so entertaining, you don't even realize that you are getting smarter by the second. Plus, nobody polite-cusses better than Mr. May. He is a wonderful host even away from his Top Gear brethren.
37 people found this helpful
Al PastReviewed in the United States on July 24, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
A surprise hit: not a typical documentary at all
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I took a chance with this one, and it paid off excellently. Well written, directed, and filmed on what must have been a generous budget, the highlight was James May himself, a witty, learned, nicely enunciating British gent with a delightfully wry sense of humor. I was on an exercise bicycle and I laughed out loud dozens of times. Terrific three episodes, in my opinion. I wish there were more!
16 people found this helpful
CynicalDriverReviewed in the United States on July 26, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
It was rather more fun than one would expect...
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You can't really go wrong with any Top Gear presenter, can you? This is a great short series on the history of the un-celebrated heroes of the automotive past (and a few of the present.) James does a predictably great job at exploring these workhorses of societal expansion and progress. While it's not the most humorous thing any of the three jokers has ever done, it is entertaining, and a touch educational... So there's a brain bonus in there somewhere. I highly recommend it for anyone who thinks The Grand Tour and (pre-Joey) Top Gear would be lesser without Jame's dry wit and somewhat stuffy point of view.

I like to think of Jeremy, James, and Richard like computer operating systems. They are all great for some things, while a bit lacking for others. Jeremy is Mac, with his somewhat closed-minded nature when it comes to the numbers, facts, and proper ways to do things. Richard is Windows, with his polished appearance and approachable demeanor most people consider preferable. James is like Linux, with his finicky nature and nearly obsessive need to have everything "just so." This show very much lives in James' wheelhouse, and it shines.
2 people found this helpful
DeeJay DudeReviewed in the United States on October 9, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
One of the smartest (and deepest) automotive journalists in the game!
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Love EVERYTHING that the former members of "Top Gear" do. James May is often the butt of jokes with his coworkers, Jeremy and Richard, but he is the one I would most want to sit down with and have a beer. His shows are often "off the radar" with conventional programming, but always interesting and rewarding. His knowledge of history and ability to make it real entertainment is his strong suit. I actually felt smarter after viewing this show. I think that anyone who LOVES cars (not just muscle cars, tuners or vintage autos) will enjoy this show. Heck, anyone who loves the CONCEPT of the freedom of movement that comes with transportation will appreciate the show that James has created here. He has this innate ability to tap into the mundane and ferret out the captivating stories within the background. Great show; thanks James!
3 people found this helpful
Penelope K. LockhartReviewed in the United States on May 2, 2016
4.0 out of 5 stars
Car trivia for the vintage set
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I love old cars. I love European old cars. My vacations are often highlighted by visits to car museums. This series, of which I have viewed the first two programs, is full of fascinating details (possibly considered trivia). It is quintessentially British - as in quirky presenter, very opinionated, at least one destruction per program. Not every American car buff will find this to their liking. However, I have owned VW's for years - subject of first program- and longed for a Citroen 2 CV (until I realized their limitations), included in second program, and now know much more about other mini and micro vehicles than previously. In fact my very first car was a Fiat in about 1966. I have no idea what model it was, other than a dud - but very cute. I never would have believed it was the prototype for millions of other national variants. I was disappointed that the Renault 4 was spotlighted but not the LeCar (Renault 5 for US market). I had one of them, too.
I enjoyed the programs and info but Mr.Mays can be too British on occasion.
One person found this helpful
Virginia WhiteReviewed in the United States on January 2, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
Had a blast with this show...
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Here's the deal:
Don't get British humor? This isn't for you.
Want Top Gear? This isn't Top Gear.
Don't like James May? Again, not for you.
This show is a bit more of a history show with facts about vehicles you may have never heard, some you may have, told in a humorous and, yes, sometimes opinionated fashion. Since it's not a documentary and there's humor and a host you get some opinion - not a problem for me, but some reviewers did seem to have trouble with that. I found the format made the facts stick with me more than a dry recitation.
I thoroughly enjoyed the show. The pace was good, the facts interesting and fresh (to me), and the host loads of fun (but I like British humor.) I think it's well worth watching particularly if you're not overly familiar with European cars.
pseudonymReviewed in the United States on November 15, 2016
3.0 out of 5 stars
Entertaining and Interesting....But Flawed
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Entertaining and interesting. I particularly like the parts that deal with car design and manufacture in historical context. I don't like what, to me, is merely filler, such as the scenes involving dropping a car from a helicopter or shooting at cars with various guns. What for? If it's supposed to be amusing, it's not. It just comes off as embarrassing. Ditto the overly-long scene of Mr. May's crushing sand castles at the beach at high speed. Really?
Other than those scenes, the programs (I've watched the first two so far) are worth your time. Just be prepared to skim over the above mentioned scenes.
Aisling D.Reviewed in the United States on May 6, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
Highly entertaining if you have any interest in cars
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This series was an absolute delight! My husband and I watched it as a two-day mini-marathon, and ooh'd and ahh'd over every car and car-related trivia May presented. His presentation style is entertaining enough that I can forgive his apparent disdain of hippies (the originals of the 1960s and 70s), and focus on his fascination with history.
6 people found this helpful
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