James May's Cars of the People

James May's Cars of the People

Series 1 - Episode 3



There’s a lovely diversion in this epidose where May gets sidetracked into pondering the badge hierarchies of 1970s car ranges – you know, all that L, GL, GLS, SLX, CDi, XRi business that defined not just whether you had velour seats and a wood trim fascia, but on which rung of the male status ladder you stood.

Social mobility is the theme – not just the populist cars, but also those we aspired to owning or had as posters on our walls. To that end, May concludes the Lamborghini Countach was a brilliant poster but a terrible car, and decides that the Reliant Bond Bug “looks like Marge Simpson’s tried to iron her own head”.


James concludes his examination of the social significance of cars by exploring how aspiration and new wealth were behind the development of some of the greatest models ever made. He tries to make sense of the baffling world of company car hierarchy by holding a travelling salesman race-off and indulges his 1980s urges with the twin delights of a Lamborghini and a Porsche. He also unveils his choice of the ultimate people's car - a vehicle that can lay claim to being the greatest in history.

Cast & Crew

Presenter James May
Director Tom Whitter
Series Producer Tom Whitter
Documentary Lifestyle