Top Gear is dead, long live Top Gear. Whichever way you look at it, the passing of what’s now ‘old new Top Gear’ represents the end of an era. The loss of something original and what turned into one of Britain’s greatest exports. It remains to be seen what the Ginger One does with the show, but PetrolBlog is reserving judgement.
But this isn’t a blog about Top Gear. Neither is it a blog about the auditions to become the next Top Gear presenter. Such matters are fuel for other motoring outlets. Instead, I’d like to introduce you to a YouTube channel. One that’s loaded with delightfully PetrolBloggy content.
I could be calling this wrong, but I reckon if you like PetrolBlog (God help you), you’ll probably like ClassicHub’s YouTube channel. Go check it out.
We all know that Top Gear’s best years were during the Woollard and Goffey era. When watching Top Gear was like putting on your best jumper, pouring yourself a glass of Blue Nun and settling back into a comfortable MFI armchair. Naturally, the television of choice would have been sourced from Radio Rentals.
Watching ClassicHub is like stepping back in time. In a good way. It’s presented by classic car writer and friend of PetrolBlog, Ian Seabrook – the chap with the best beard in motoring journalism. I should declare some bias here, because Ian sold his Saab 9000i to me, a car I still regard as one of my best purchases.
Ian thinks in the same way as PetrolBlog. His current daily driver is a Perodua Nippa he bought for £300, a car he describes as “quite a lot of fun”, before going on to claim “there’s a lot of appeal here.” The review is free of clichés and half-baked metaphors, and – perhaps crucially – is genuinely informative. Remember the days when Top Gear was informative? Our younger reader probably won’t.
Sure, so ClassicHub doesn’t have anything like the production budgets enjoyed by the likes of the excellent XCAR, but Ian’s presenting style is relaxing and engaging. And full of beard. It’s a small hint of what a YouTube video presented by LJK Setright would be like. If you enjoyed spending the best part of six minutes watching Chris Goffey give us the lowdown on the Skoda Favorit, there’s a very good chance you’ll enjoy ClassicHub.
Ian is also the master of a dramatic intro. In his video review of the Citroën XM, he allows us a full 15 seconds of engine note before asking “who says only the Italians make a lovely sounding V6?” He even finds time to wave at a fellow motorist heading in the opposite direction. You won’t get that on any other motoring channel. All that’s missing is one of those PowerPoint-style info screens you used to get after a Top Gear review.
At a time when just about everyone who can hold a smartphone steady for 30 seconds believes they have what it takes to audition for Top Gear, ClassicHub is a refreshing breath of air. I’m not sure if Ian has sent an audition VHS to Top Gear HQ, but if he hasn’t, I suggest he does.
I’d like to think that if PetrolBlog ever launched PBTV, it would look a little bit like ClassicHub and delivered in much the same style. In the meantime, more of the same please, Ian. Power to the beard.