This weekend, the Motor Trend YouTube channel has reached 5 million subscribers and is approaching nearly 1.5 billion total video views. That major milestone comes nine years and eight months since our first video was uploaded on September 18, 2008. And just 15 months ago on February 18, 2016, we celebrated an accumulated 1 billion video views with 3.7 million subscribers.
Former Motor Trend editor-in-chief Angus MacKenzie was instrumental in growing the YouTube channel as he moved to a corporate position focused on development of video. There were 143,000 subscribers when Ed Loh took over the reins at the magazine in November 2011. Twelve months later the channel had grown to 500,000 subscribers and doubled to 1 million just three months later.
So what is the oldest video on the Motor Trend YouTube channel? A First Drive of a Chevrolet Corvette-based 700-hp 2008 Callaway C16 Speedster. Arthur St. Antoine hosts the video, and in it he not only drives the exotic car but interviews its creator Reeves Callaway. That first video has more than 36,000 views, but that’s a drop in the bucket compared to some of our later videos.
Since the first video, the Motor Trend YouTube channel has evolved significantly in production value as well as content. In addition to exotic cars (though those are still some of the most popular), there have been reviews of regular cars as well as attainable sports cars. There are also shows dedicated to muscle cars/hot rods, trucks and off-road vehicles, and even lowriders. We’ve also had programs covering auto industry news and trends, and historical documentaries.
The first World’s Greatest Drag Race video was one of the first videos to go viral. Within an hour it had 100,000 views and only a few hours later that number climbed to 400,000 views. Today, that video is the fourth most popular video on the channel with nearly 22.6 million views since September 12, 2011.
Drag racing videos have proven popular on the Motor Trend YouTube channel. In fact, the first six World’s Greatest Drag Race videos are among the top 15 most popular videos.
Eight years ago we even raced a 638-hp 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 aka the Blue Devil against a U.S. Navy Blue Angel Boeing FA-18 fighter jet. That video has nearly 22 million views since June 23, 2009.
And who could forget about the popularity of the Roadkill shows? The second most popular video on the Motor Trend YouTube channel is Roadkill Episode 5 where David Freiburger and Mike Finnegan race a 691-hp Lamborghini Aventador against a 1930 Ford Model A two-door sedan rat rod powered by a small-block Chevrolet 350-cubic-inch V-8 backed by Turbo 350 three-speed automatic transmission. The video has nearly 50 million views since June 9, 2012.
From all of us at Motor Trend, thank you for helping us achieve this milestone. We look forward to bringing you more unique automotive video content in the years to come.