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Want to learn more about cars? Watch these unsung experts on YouTube
Everything you need to know about cars (you can start to learn on the internet)
Car content isn’t rare on YouTube. What is rare, however, are professionals sharing their expert knowledge about cars for free on the platform.
Luckily for you, it is possible to learn useful things from professionals who believe so strongly in helping others that they’ve created and posted exceptional videos on YouTube.
You’ll find plenty of Top 10 lists out there for things to watch, but what if you’re actually trying to educate yourself about f-stops, tuft testing, or why the latest race car looks like that? You’ll need to consult the experts.
Ready to learn? You’re in the right place.
Along with my recent article on basic tips for increasing your exposure online, I’m bundling this and several future articles under a new section for fellow (and future) automotive professionals called Content creators. This new section won’t live behind a paywall, so please share these stories…especially if you’re a free subscriber… ;) ;)
Let’s get into it!
Let me admit that when I first heard Capturing The Machine’s opening sequence featuring Gran Turismo sound effects, I was insanely jealous he’d thought of the idea first.
I’ve been a longtime follower of Kevin McCauley’s work, first on Twitter, and now through his extensive work as a professional car photographer. He’s completed photo shoots for dozens of Bring a Trailer auctions, has worked with several editorial outlets, and is passing on his knowledge—for free—to all of us.
The dude’s photographed the Chaparral 2J “fan car” for a Road & Track feature…chances are he knows what he’s doing…
Before I share a few links, I think that subscribing to Kevin’s work on YouTube is a no-brainer: I don’t care who you are, everyone takes photos of cars.
Maybe you’re just using an iPhone…
…go to a lot of car events…
…or are endlessly debating a lens filter purchase…
Kevin lays out what works and doesn’t, and takes the time to explain how he arrived at his conclusions. Bonus? The visuals are amazing because Kevin is able to use examples from his own work.
From dedicated videos on panning to editorial-style features on unique cars like the Toyota Harrier Zagato, Capturing The Machine is an easy subscribe for anyone who cares about cars or car content.
Full disclosure: Julian recently sent over a copy of his latest book, Vehicle Aerodynamics - Testing, Modification & Development for me to review on MIDYC and elsewhere. That said, he wasn’t consulted for this article—I would have recommended his YouTube channel regardless of having a book review in the works!
There’s no getting around the fact car aerodynamics are portrayed in the media as some black art where you’d need a PhD, wind tunnel, and/or complicated software to understand.
Well…that’s not true at all: and Julian Edgar is the kind of expert who will take care to explain why inexpensive supplies as simple as masking tape and string can be incredibly effective tools for understanding the aerodynamics of your car.
Presented like lessons from a college course we all wish we’d gone to, most of Julian’s videos are a quick but detailed dive into specific topics.
I can’t stress this enough: all of his sources are either highly researched or Julian has tested the theories and mods himself—and he rightly believes in showing his homework.
Before YouTube, I read Julian’s work online years ago while he was an editor at Autospeed in Australia. Having written more than 30 books and completed numerous engineering projects at home, there are few educators out there with as much experience.
Maybe it comes from being a former school teacher, but Julian has an otherworldly ability to take the most complicated-sounding topics and convey them in plain language—believe me, this is a gift that many presenters struggle with.
My favourite project is, predictably, how he wrote his own engine management software, added a turbo, air suspension, and movable aerodynamics to his G1 Honda Insight for more horsepower, efficiency, and downforce—with less drag.
Need to know about the Citroën 2CV’s incomparably clever suspension? How to lay out a home workshop, build your own vehicle ramps, duct your radiators for better cooling, and many other automotive topics? Julian’s your guy.
Start here: Five ways to reduce your car’s aerodynamic drag
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Ex-Formula 1 aerodynamicists are surprisingly plentiful on YouTube, but Martin Buchan (aka B Sport) goes a step further by focusing his content around a few interesting topics: current racing cars, modifying road cars, and vintage cars / history.
Like Julian Edgar, B Sport is very well-researched and sourced, with priority placed on sharing his first-hand knowledge and experience with all of us.
I find his work useful for understanding why a race car might have been successful; keeping up with the latest vehicles appearing in endurance racing, Formula 1, and Dakar; finally, why engineering pioneered by historic marques like DKW is still seen in some vehicles today.
Any channel that posts videos as diverse as why 195/65 R15-sized tires are on so many German cars, the Red Bull RB19’s ‘DRS effect’, the Zakspeed-prepared endurance racing Chrysler Viper, or how Ferdinand Piëch stoked an internal company war that gave us both the Audi A2 and Volkswagen Lupo 3L is an instant subscribe.
My two personal favourites are:
How B Sport helped to turn an Audi after-work project race car that was too slow, too hard to drive, and too hot inside for drivers into a true Nürburgring endurance competitor.
Modifying a diesel VW Passat wagon at home with a small budget in order to hit an incredible 4.1L/100 km (57 mpg) at Autobahn speeds.
Since you’ve gotten this far…
Reply to this email, leave a comment sharing the sources that have helped you, or tell us the car topics you wish you knew more about! It will aid me in future content for this section, as well as, y’know, help your fellow MIDYC readers.