From the April 2023 issue of Car and Driver.
We don't suggest reading car magazines while driving (although we do suggest reading them at all other times). When you're behind the wheel and need automotive content, your choices are listening to Jan & Dean's "Drag City" on repeat or exploring some of the thousands of car-themed podcasts. Between well-known offerings, such as Adam Carolla's CarCast and Matt Farah's The Smoking Tire, and shows with a specific collecting, racing, or history theme, there's bound to be a pod to match your driving style. We recently spent time cruising around Hollywood in a BMW M5 with former C/D editor-in-chief Eddie Alterman, talking about what makes podcasts such a good way to learn about cars. He should know—he hosts one, Car Show! with Eddie Alterman.
Alterman's interest in doing a podcast was based on the format itself. "It's such an intimate storytelling medium," he says. "You are right in the listener's ear." Civilization began when humans first learned how to share information through speech, so it might be the best way for us to learn. "We tend to absorb the nuance of a person's voice and what it's saying a little bit better, remember more."
Podcasting, with its friendly, memorable nature, seemed like the right way for Alterman to tell stories that connect with history. "I wanted to show the car at the intersection of all these interesting human activities," he says. "The Corvair represents human accountability and responsibility. The Jeep, we're still so enamored of it because it's our last connection to World War II. The minivan came about in a time of great parental insecurity. That placement can make the car interesting to people who think they don't like cars."
Not all hosts have the Gutenberg Parenthesis in mind when firing up the mic, but even if you're just listening to make a workout or a commute go by faster, the right podcast can feel like having a friend along for the ride.
TO THE POINT WITH MARCUS AMICK
Industry analysis, tech deep dives, and concept cars for when your autofocus is on the future. Amick is the rarest of interviewers, the kind who know how to ask a question and then get out of the way to let the guest answer. If you're tired of podcasts that have more interruptions than brunch with a toddler, tune in. As promised, Amick gets to the point.
DINNER WITH RACERS
Ever dreamed of getting drunk with Mario Andretti or sharing a sandwich with Geoff Bodine? Dinner with Racers hosts Ryan Eversley and Sean Heckman are living that dream. The duo meets with retired and present-day racers at local eateries and occasionally in a driver's home to wring out racing and personal (sometimes very personal) stories. DWR is casual, funny, and often surprising.
CARS AND CULTURE WITH JASON STEIN
Fantastic interviews, and not just with auto-industry folk. You'll learn about everything from Toto Wolff's difficult childhood to who's a car nerd in Hollywood and sports. Stein is as likely to talk to the bassist from Coldplay as he is the CEO of Dodge. The series covers design, tech, collecting, racing a nine-second C8 Corvette, and more.
CAR KRUSH IS HOTBOXING
Hotboxing is like a road trip with a punk-rock sorority. There's giggling, rude jokes, and lots of cool project cars. Guests include mechanics, tattoo artists, and stuntwomen. Some episodes are catchups on the hosts' builds, while others quiz guests on their automotive interests or share advice for newbie wrenchers. It's a good-natured, all-inclusive blast.
Dork-o-Motive host Brian Lohnes has a voice we'd like to narrate our whole lives. We'll settle for his narrating tales of vehicular history, from rocket-powered axles to steam-engine demolition derbies. Lohnes digs up old newspaper stories and even recorded interviews about exploding headlights and World War II convoy heroes. They're so good, you'll wish your commute were longer.
Like a sleeper agent activated late in the game, Elana Scherr didn’t know her calling at a young age. Like many girls, she planned to be a vet-astronaut-artist, and came closest to that last one by attending UCLA art school. She painted images of cars, but did not own one. Elana reluctantly got a driver’s license at age 21 and discovered that she not only loved cars and wanted to drive them, but that other people loved cars and wanted to read about them, which meant somebody had to write about them. Since receiving activation codes, Elana has written for numerous car magazines and websites, covering classics, car culture, technology, motorsports, and new-car reviews.