James May's Cars of the People

James May's Cars of the People

Series 2 - Episode 3



This is unwaveringly blokeish TV. As James May addresses us from the wheel of one quirky, brilliant car after another – a steam-powered one, an amphibian one, and so on – it’s pretty much hog heaven for some of us.

Jay Leno shows us his jet-powered car – an actual Chrysler from the 1960s powered by an actual jet engine, though it looks perfectly normal. The turbine could run on more or less anything flammable. In France someone filled the tank with Chanel No 5. In Mexico they ran it on tequila. But it couldn’t run on leaded petrol, so it never took off, as it were. Which is the theme of the programme: innovation that (mostly) failed.


James looks at some of the advances in motoring that never caught on, revealing how the petrol engine came to dominate in the 20th century, while concepts for jet engines and steam power fell by the wayside. He also drives an amphibious car and an electric scooter, and takes a ride in the world's fastest driverless car.

Cast & Crew

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