James May's Cars of the People

James May's Cars of the People

Series 1 - Episode 1



Never mind your supercars. Forget the Veyrons and LaFerraris that roar off the pages of car mags, and pass by your common-or-garden Porsches and Jags. James May wants to focus our sights on the sharp end of the car market. He wants to celebrate the transport of the masses, the everyday cars created to free populations and get whole nations on the move.

So our Top Gear man applies his schoolboy enthusiasm and dry wit to a tale of dictators, fraud and rust that includes some of the best and worst vehicles of the 20th century. Beetles, Trabants and Fiats are the stars of the opener, which also includes a clip of Brezhnev drunk, some hilarious old ads and advice on the use of mustard powder in radiators.


The former Top Gear presenter examines the social significance of cars in the 20th century. He begins by travelling to Germany, Italy and Russia to examine how dictators kick-started the mobilization of the masses, finding tales of design brilliance, abject failure, war, fraud and double dealing. James also learns about 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.

Cast & Crew

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