culture

The best car movies and TV shows on Netflix, Stan and the rest

Here is our car-lover's must-watch guide to TV streaming services in Australia. Now you can take a road trip without even leaving the couch.

With the winter months approaching, social distancing measures firmly in place and ways to spend your spare time rapidly dwindling, it's likely cars could prove our saviour.

But when you tire of road trips with no destination, weekend working bees around the house or even just sitting in the driver's seat of your car to get space from your spouse, there's always Netflix, Stan or the host of other streaming services at our fingertips.

And even if we can't have Formula 1, supercars or, apparently, sport in general, at least we can watch movies about them?

Thankfully, the list of car-related TV shows and movies available for streaming (that aren't Top Gear) is long enough to keep us occupied during quarantine and beyond.

Below, our must-watch list.

A Life of Speed: The Juan Manuel Fangio Story

WATCH ON NETFLIX

Described as "one of the greatest drivers of all time" by the legendary Ayrton Senna, the late Juan Manual Fangio dominated Formula 1 in the early 1950s, winning five world championships in an era when driver safety and car technology were far less advanced than they are today. This one-and-a-half-hour documentary combines historical footage with present-day interviews to paint a portrait of the man often regarded as the 'Godfather of Formula 1'. Watch the trailer.

Apex: The Story of the Hypercar

WATCH ON NETFLIX

A beautifully-shot glimpse into the world of hypercars and the stories of the people who design them. Featuring interviews with Christian von Koenigsegg and Horacio Pagani, the documentary explores how these feats of engineering progress from concept to reality. Although the industry has progressed a fair way since this doco debuted in 2016, it still makes for fascinating eye candy and provides interesting insight into the minds behind the world's fastest cars. Watch the trailer.

Baby Driver

WATCH ON NETFLIX

This fictional film is more a celebration of great driving than great cars. If you've ever been to the cinema and wished the movie was just one long car chase, Baby Driver is the film for you. It's like The Fast and the Furious without the cheesy dialogue. Ansel Elgort starts as the titular Baby (yes, that's his name), an orphan with prodigal driving abilities who unwillingly enlists as a getaway driver for a ruthless crime boss. If you're a music lover, this film also has a killer soundtrack, which works brilliantly with the driving sequences. One particularly excellent performance? The red Subaru WRX in the film's opening scene. Watch the trailer.

Boy Racer

WATCH ON SBS ON DEMAND

This mini-documentary from SBS Viceland explores the intriguing underground culture of 'boy racers' in the UK – young people who modify their own cars and race them late at night in industrial areas to avoid the prying eyes of police.

Car Masters: Rust to Riches

WATCH ON NETFLIX

The team at California's Gotham Garage have made a habit of finding junkyard-worthy cars and turning them into creations that can fetch six figures. With his eccentric team in tow, charismatic leader Mark Towle (he used to work in showbusiness, and you can tell) can literally build or transform anything, creating finished products that are unrecognisable from their original condition. Consider this like Extreme Makeover, but for cars. Watch the trailer.

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee

WATCH ON NETFLIX

As its name suggests, this addictive series sees comedian and car enthusiast Jerry Seinfeld collect some of the entertainment industry's funniest people and take them out for coffee in a series of seriously gorgeous classic cars. Steve Carell, Larry David, Ricky Gervais, Kristen Wiig and even Barack Obama all feature, as does everything from a 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL (for Alec Baldwin's episode) to a pale blue 1962 Fiat 600 Multipla (for Kate Mckinnon) which Seinfeld perfectly describes as, "a drip of gelato that fell off your spoon and just drove down the street". Watch the trailer.

Days of Thunder

WATCH ON STAN

Former Hollywood golden couple Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman star in this film about Cole Trickle (Cruise), a race car driver whose ambition, confidence and drive know no bounds. That is, until a horrific crash almost puts an end to his career. While recovering, Cole must regain his confidence to race again – with the help of his beautiful doctor (Kidman). Watch the trailer.

Fastest Car

WATCH ON NETFLIX

This reality series sees so-called 'sleeper cars' that have been lovingly assembled by their underdog owners go head-to-head with supercars owned by rich kids, in what can only be described as the ultimate car-themed guilty pleasure. Not so much 'rags to riches' as 'rags versus riches'. Watch the trailer.

Formula 1: Drive to Survive

WATCH ON NETFLIX

Even those who aren't enamoured by the world of Formula 1 will find themselves swept up by this engrossing documentary that follows F1 drivers, their managers, their families and their team owners through an entire season of driving. From their mothers' fears for their safety, to their insane workout routines, you'll get a backstage pass into the lives of top drivers like Daniel Ricciardo, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. Watch the trailer.

Love the Beast

WATCH ON STAN

Actor and diehard car devotee Eric Bana made this documentary as an ode to his first car, a 1974 Ford Falcon XB Coupe, with which he has maintained a lifelong love affair. Lovingly nicknamed 'The Beast' by Bana, the film explores how the car came to represent friendship, freedom and passion for the actor. Watch the trailer.

Hyperdrive

WATCH ON NETFLIX

Sort of like a Ninja Warrior series for cars, this open-invitation build and race competition sees elite street racers from around the world complete complicated automotive obstacle courses in custom cars for the title of Hyperdrive champion. Sure to get the blood pumping. Watch the trailer.

McLaren

WATCH ON STAN

The true story of Bruce McLaren, the New Zealand-born Formula 1 driver who founded the McLaren Racing Team. The film delves into his successful career, his legacy and the fallout from his tragic death at the age of 32, while testing a car of his own design, the McLaren M8D Can-Am, on the Goodwood Motor Circuit in the UK. Watch the trailer.

Paul Hollywood's Big Continental Road Trip

WATCH ON NETFLIX

British celebrity chef and television personality Paul Hollywood also happens to wear 'car lover' as one of his many hats. In this three-part documentary, Hollywood explores the motoring history of France, Italy and Germany as part of one epic road trip that takes on everything from Italian traffic to the Nürburgring, behind the wheel of cars that have defined nations. Watch the trailer.

Rush

WATCH ON AMAZON PRIME

Starring Australia's own Chris Hemsworth, this movie follows the epic rivalry between two Formula 1 drivers: Britain's James Hunt (Hemsworth) and Austria's Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl). Set in the glamorous '70s, this film delves into the very different temperaments, careers and personal lives of the two men – Hunt a handsome, rugged bad boy, and Lauda a meticulous, straight-laced perfectionist.

Rust Valley Restorers

WATCH ON NETFLIX

This Canadian reality series takes place in Rust Valley, a car junkyard wonderland at the base of the Rocky Mountains. The show centres on the Rust Bros, a restoration shop run by a team of passionate, talented and charismatic car lovers capable of turning hunks of rusted metal into collectible masterpieces. The crew of misfit maestros is lead by Mike Hall, who started hoarding old cars in his teenage years. Now in his 60s, he's keen to turn his passion into profit. Watch the trailer.

The Gentleman Driver

WATCH ON NETFLIX

This documentary film follows four business tycoons who moonlight as high-level race car drivers, examining how they balance their two lives and how their desire for perfection drives their careers on and off the track. Watch the trailer.

The 24-Hour War

WATCH ON NETFLIX

If you saw and loved Ford Vs Ferrari when it hit cinemas earlier this year, you'll no doubt appreciate this documentary retelling of the famed Le Mans rivalry – told through fascinating archival footage and the words of real people who witnessed the showdown firsthand. Watch the trailer.

Transporter III

WATCH ON STAN

If you missed the first two installments of this Jason Statham-led action series, fear not: It's not exactly about the plot. The film stars Statham as Frank Martin, a former special forces soldier turned driver who makes a living transporting anyone or anything to where it needs to go – no questions asked. As always, the third chapter is really just an excuse for a series of awesome car chases, most of them in Frank's Audi A8. Watch the trailer.

West Coast Customs

WATCH ON NETFLIX

There are six seasons of this reality TV series to feast your eyes on, so you can get well and truly addicted to the antics of this Californian remodelling shop that specifically caters to the car design whims of the rich and the famous (celebrity guests include Justin Bieber, Mark Wahlberg and Shaquille O'Neal).

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