Ode to Monkey: 5 films that prove Chris Harris is the best in the business
I am of the humble opinion that Chris Harris is the finest motoring journalist in the world. And once you've watched these 5 films and read what I have to say about them, so will you.
5. Behind the scenes of the Singer 911
If you only watch car videos to see expensive machinery getting ridiculously sideways, there’s plenty for you on this list, but this particular film may not be your cup of tea. That’s because it features precious little of the trademark tyre-smoking tomfoolery that made Harris famous on the interwebs. In fact, less than half of the film is spent actually driving the car.
So what’s it doing in this top 5? Allow me to explain: The Singer 911 is not just a cool old Porsche. It is quite possibly the single most exquisite roadcar that money can buy - a love letter to the world’s greatest sports car, built with meticulous attention to detail. Harris knows that - and respects that fact by dedicating the majority of this film not to sliding it around like an oaf, but to picking the brilliant brains of the chaps who built it. And the film is all the better for it.
4. Three hybrid hypercars, one questionable pair of shorts
The holy trinity - the three defining hypercars of the decade - all on track together for one epic showdown. To the casual petrolhead, the aesthetics of this film might look oddly familiar. That’s because a little up-and-coming internet show called 'The Grand Tour' filmed the exact same three cars at the exact same track at around the same time. Who did it better? That depends what you’re into. The Grand Tour’s film features the trio’s signature antics as well as the finest camerawork in the world of motoring. But Harris’ film runs twice as long at 52 minutes and is far more comprehensive, with timed hot laps, obligatory sideways action aplenty, and even a rogue cameo from everyone’s favourite motoring cad, Mr Tiff Needell.
3. Getting sideways in supercar royalty
Very little needs to be said about this video. It’s probably Harris’ most famous one from his internet days and - since we're dishing out superlatives - quite possibly the coolest supercar film on the internet. Premise: an unspeakably wealthy viewer invited Harris to shoot with his Ferrari F40 and F50 - and specifically requested that he absolutely thrash them. The result is a 20 minute film that is so glorious, you could randomly hit pause at any time and get a screenshot worthy of a bedroom wall poster.
2. Man flogs his baby on camera
A grainy, dated video of Harris driving a 280bhp family car may seem a little bland compared to the other stuff on this list, but this video is well deserving of its place. Why? Because the E28 BMW M5 in question is Harris’ very own pride and joy. Which means: A) he is perfectly happy to drive the bloody wheels off it (literally in fact - you can see him lose a wheel centre cap mid-send at 4:43) and B) he absolutely adores it. There's something charming about a man who drives 900bhp hypercars for his dayjob completely fawning over a 30 year-old BMW he bought for 9 grand - that's proper petrolhead stuff. This video is overflowing with passion, and it’s contagious - by the end of it you’ll love the E28 as much as he does.
1. 24 hours of Spa in a 24-tonne Bentley
Harris has filmed a lot of cool stuff with cars, but for me his motorsport videos are in a class of their own. I could just as easily have picked his film about racing a Lister at the Goodwood Revival, or racing an Aston GT12 at the Nordschleife - they are all brilliant. But I instinctively picked the Bentley at Spa because, well… it’s a Bentley. At Spa. How deliciously mad is that.
These race weekend films are exciting, absorbing and utterly immersive. Most of us will never get to go flat through Eau Rouge in a GT3 car. Or feel the pre-race butterflies when sat on a starting grid worth tens of millions. Or feel the crushing heartbreak of being dumped out of a 24 hour race, with three hours to go. But through these videos, you can. You're not just a dispassionate viewer watching from afar - you are the extra team member, and you feel every thrill and spill as they do.