James May is a British writer, journalist, and TV presenter best known for being one-third of the Top Gear trio, which also consists of Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond.

James was born in 1963, in Bristol, England. Prior to his television career, James worked as a sub-editor for "The Engineer" and Autocar Magazine. Since 2016, James May has co-presented Amazon Prime Video's The Grand Tour.

Top Gear fans adore his knowledgeable but humorous style of presenting and quirky personality, and with his outlandish dress sense and signature hair, he is also an integral part of the Grand Tour team. Everyone knows he has a passion for cars and engineering, but here are 10 things you may never have heard about James May.

Related: Here's What You Never Knew About Top Gear's Richard Hammond

10 He Has An Underground Garage Full Of Stunning Cars

Via: NetCarShow

James May not only reviews cars for work, but he is also passionate about them in his off-screen life. James May's London residence is located in Hammersmith, West London. His $3.9 million dollar house has recently undergone refurbishment and on its ground floor, is a vast underground garage. Given how difficult and expensive parking is in London, having a compound like that is exceptionally rare, and no doubt attracted James to the property.

James-May-Feature Image copy
Via: CarScoops

Viewers of Drive Tribe YouTube videos will have seen several videos that feature the space. James keeps many motorcycles, his Tesla Model S, Ferrari 458 Speciale, Porsche 911, and Alpine A110 among many others down there. Keep your eyes open and see what you can spot.

9 He Has A Cooking Show

James May Oh Cook
Via: Amazon

Released in 2020, Amazon Original James May: Oh Cook! was James's first foray into the TV cooking sector. Since leaving Top Gear all the boys have been pursuing their own Amazon television ventures, Clarkson with his farm, Hammond with The Great Escapists and May with this cooking show, and also a Japanese travelogue called "James May: Our Man in Japan". The food show's name is a play on James's popular catchphrase "Oh Co*k."

James May Oh Cook Feat Nikki

During the series, May cooks dishes from around the world. The first episode begins by looking at "Asian Fusion" food, Asian food with a British influence. Later in the series, he cooks British pub classics, pasta, curry, puddings, breakfast, and the traditional British Sunday roast. The food he produces is very well executed and many Grand Tour fans will be pleasantly surprised by his culinary skills. One notable feature of the series is his knowledgeable assistant Nikki, who is "kept" in the cupboard until her help is needed. James trials a number of kitchen gadgets and also imparts viewers with a number of foodie facts.

8 He Has Written And Had Published Many Books

James May Oh Cook
Via: Amazon

James May has published many books over the years. As you might expect, he has written several on the topic of cars. In 2006, May On Motors was released. The book focuses on the feelings surrounding cars. From the feelings you get from owning a car to the perception of others based on what they drive, the book looks at the role the car plays in people's lives.

James May On Motors
Via: Amazon

May has also published books on varied topics in titles such as James May's Magnificant Machines, James May How To Land An A330 Airbus, and James May's Man Lab. Most recently, he has expanded into the cookbook segment with his book James May: Oh Cook!, which supports his Amazon Prime Video series.

7 He’s Currently Enjoying Success As A Travelogue Presenter

James May Japan
Via: Amazon

Another of James's solo Amazon TV ventures, James May: Our Man In Japan was released in 2020. The show follows James in a travelogue format as he travels around Japan. He begins his journey on the cold and icy island of Hokkaido in the north, he then works his way south.

James May Japan S1
Via: Amazon

The show is both factual and entertaining, there is something for everyone. The total journey was over 4000 miles and ended at the active volcano Sakurajima. The show is particularly good at showing aspects of the culture, food, and scenery many similar travelogues fail to show.

Related: Here's Why Vietnam Is The Best Top Gear Special

6 He’s Keen On Cycling

James May Bike Building
Via: YouTube

As a motoring enthusiast, you may be surprised to hear that James is a keen cyclist. During his younger years James cycled widely, he even undertook longer trips through the United Kingdom and France.

James May Bike
Via: YouTube

James also has an appreciation for the mechanical side of the bike. On the DriveTribe YouTube channel, he has released many cycling-themed videos including "5 Minutes Of Boring Bike Maintenance With James May", where he explains how to keep your bike in working order. Going back to the mechanical side, James has even produced a mini-series on YouTube in which he builds a bike for the son of one of DriveTribe's producers.

5 He Owns A Pub And Creates Craft Gin

James May Pub
Via: YouTube

It's no secret James is a big fan of a pint in a traditional British pub. Perhaps then, it should come as no surprise he owns one, or rather Co-owns. The Royal Oak in Swallowcliffe, Wiltshire, England was one of James's favorite drinking holes, especially as he owns a country bolthole nearby. During the Coronavirus pandemic, and the enforced lockdown closing hospitality venues, James decided to buy half of the pub to help it survive. He has even done a tour of it on the DriveTribe YouTube.

James Gin
Via: James Gin

Following the pub acquisition, James launched his own line of craft gin, aptly named "James Gin". He has produced one batch of around 1500 bottles and as these sold out, has announced a second batch is underway.

4 He’s Trialing The Alternatives To Fossil Fuel Powered Cars

James May Tesla Model S Toyota Mirai
Via: YouTube

Viewers of the DriveTribe YouTube channel will have been able to follow James's experimentation with alternative-fueled cars. Around two years ago, James acquired both an electric and a hydrogen fuel cell-powered car. The Tesla Model S 100D and the Toyota Mirai were added to his garage to allow him to trial the best type of personal transport for the future. In several videos, May adds his insight and unique viewpoint on the relative merits and drawbacks of the two cars.

James May Toyota Mirai
Via: YouTube

Most recently, he bought a new Toyota Mirai, a hydrogen fuel cell-powered car. During his introductory video, he was frustrated with London's traffic, preventing him from getting a feel for the car. Following the failed attempt, he headed out into the countryside and was very impressed with the car once he got out and about onto some faster roads.

3 He’s A DR (an honorary one)

James May Doctorate
Via: BBC

James May studied music at Lancaster University back in the 1980s, graduating in 1985.

James May
Via: The Guardian

The university awarded James an honorary Doctorate of Letters in 2010. Due to James's busy working life and career, he had not been back to the university since he graduated, and found the experience quite emotional.

2 He’s Presented Many Science Shows

James May Things You Need To Know
Via: BBC

James has not only presented motoring shows such as Top Gear and The Grand Tour, for which he is most well known. He has also been the lead presenter on many science shows. In 2008, he starred in James May's Big Ideas, a three-part series in which he traveled around the world seeking out real-life science fiction. In one episode, he visited the United States to fly in the world's only flying car.

James May Big Ideas
Via: BBC

In 2011, he released the first of two seasons of James May's Things You Need To Know. In this series, James tried to explain some of science's biggest ideas. In one episode, he explains everything you need to know about chemistry, and in another the human body. As well as these, he has also starred in James May's Man Lab and James May: The Reassembler among others.

Related: This Is The Real Story Behind Top Gear

1 He Has His Own YouTube Channel

James May Unboxing
Via: YouTube

Prior to setting up DriveTribe with Clarkson and Hammond, James had already dipped his toe into the world of YouTube. Around six years ago, he set up JM's Unemployment Tube. The channel has 233 thousand subscribers. The videos cover a range of topics, from musical instruments to food and of course, cars.

James May Train
Via: YouTube

The latest video to be published, around a year ago, was an informative tutorial about building an Airfix steam locomotive. There was also a comical video in which James in true YouTube tradition, "unboxes" a Yaris GRNM.

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