Why isn’t the series “Junkyard Wars” available on DVD, Hulu, or Netflix?

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Remember that great BBC series that got ported to The Learning Channel back in the late ’90s, “Junkyard Wars”?

It was a show that one fan site (Junkyard Wars Online) described as “equal parts gameshow, Mad Max and science lesson in a race to see which team will build the best machine in the allotted time of just ten hours.”

Well, I have searched high and low, and cannot find them on DVD, Hulu, Netflix, TV.com, YouTube or anywhere else…

Oh, there was a really grainy video on Google Video of one episode with Swedish subtitles, and you can order a few episodes that will be burned to DVD on-demand from Amazon, but really ?!?  In an age where MythBusters is still wildly popular (for good reason), and  copy-cat shows abound, like Destroy, Build, Destroy, why is it so hard to find the granddaddy of them all?

(I know Wikipedia says there are reruns on the Science Channel sometimes, but I really don’t want to pay $100+ for digital cable or satellite every month.)

I can’t believe I’m willing to pay just for this show, and nobody will sell it to me.

15 thoughts on “Why isn’t the series “Junkyard Wars” available on DVD, Hulu, or Netflix?”

    1. @Jeremy,

      Thanks for the tip. I went back and looks on Amazon again, and they have some more offerings now. (Some even on VHS !?!) The best one seems to be Junkyard Wars – Best of Collection (7 DVD Set).

      I’m still not sure why both series, British and American, haven’t been released as complete sets as well. I’d also love to see them as digital downloads.

  1. I was hoping as well that some of the more memorable episodes would be available. The “best of” listed on Amazon does not include what I believe is one of the more historic episodes, sometimes referred to as the history of flight, or the flight of the century. In 2003, celebrating the 100th year since the Wright brothers’ flight in 1903, they had a 2 hour special, giving the three teams 20 hours to build and FLY a period aircraft – built with period junk, and crafted with period tools (with a few exceptions for safety.) Absolutely incredible. I just finished transferring my EP VHS (1st generation) to digital, and was actually hoping I had wasted my time. No such luck. Well, on to the editing to remove the commercials.

  2. I, too, am disappointed that ‘Junkyard Wars’ isn’t available as a complete series on DVD. One of my projects this year is to start putting my 2500 hrs. of VHS on hard drive, minus the programs available in digital form. Like everyone else, my tapes are getting worn. As has been noted by others, it’s hard to believe no one will take my money for this.

    BTW, if anyone has suggestions on diverting VHS away from landfill, please let me know.

  3. Just wanted to comment here because it is the top result when you google ‘Junkyard Wars Netflix’

    This show was released in the UK as Scrapheap Challenge and is available for free online through the BBC if you live in the UK or have a proxy server. However you might find it helpful to google ‘Scrapheap Challenge online’ …

    1. Thanks for the tip to all those in the UK.

      During the heyday of Junkyard Wars here in the states, several episodes of Scrapyard Challenge were broadcast as well. (I seem to remember that the changed the title to the American one, with a “originally broadcast in the UK as…”.) The best one I saw was raising a Mini-Cooper that had been sunk in the bottom of a lake.

  4. Can’t find scrapheap challenge on Netflix anywhere I just joined but my mum has nextflix there is scrapheap challenge on hers but why can’t I get it

  5. I recognized the uniqueness (at the time) of the show and TiVo’d every episode as it was rebroadcast in the US several/many years ago. I even managed to cut every one to DVD, in Season/Episode order. I was very ambitious at the time, and created menus, synopsis, graphic DVD labels, etc. for each DVD. The quality is OK for stddef and considering the fact that it was probably compressed and uncompressed a few times from the studio to my TiVo, to my DVD and, now, my NAS.

    [I did the same for Good Eats with Alton Brown, but missed a few toward the end of my time with the Food Network (cut the cable cord.) ]

    It’s very nice to be able to pull up any episode at any time.

    1. That was very prophetic, Robert.

      Looking back on this post now, I think I would ask why you can’t buy Junkyard Wars (or Scrapheap Challenge) online yet.

      I have watched a few episodes of Alton Brown’s Good Eats on Netflix or Hulu (can’t remember which). They may have the ones you missed, if you just want to watch them.

  6. The Junkyard Wars episode First In Flight was co-hosted/co-presented by Robert Llewellyn,one of the presenters on Scrapheap Challenge (By the way,SC was,in my opinion,superior in every way to JW ) That Junkyard Wars episode was the only one I owned and loved-unfortunately I lost it with all my electronics in Hurricane Sandy (Oct 2012) and now(Dec 2017) I would like to watch it online but have not found it streaming anywhere,does anyone know where I can watch it? Or where I can buy it again inexpensively? I’m not cheap but hate buying things twice. Thank you!

  7. I spent the last two hours searching for the episode with the MIT roboticists (7×03, Sand Yacht)– but it is nowhere to be found, legally or illegally. It’s not on the best-of dvd set that’s out of production. Someone uploaded it to youtube at some point, but it got taken down. Very frustrating! I have very fond memories of watching this with my mom, when I was in middle school.

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