‘the show’s a big deal’

Wheeler Deal­ers hosts, Mike Brewer and Ant An­stead, talk clas­sic car prices, how the lat­est se­ries is shap­ing up – and the story sur­round­ing Edd China’s de­par­ture from the hit show

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week -

How much are you look­ing for­ward to the new se­ries of Wheeler Deal­ers?

Ant An­stead Fans have told us they can’t wait to see the new se­ries. There’s no drama, no jeop­ardy, no Amer­i­can­ised hype – it’s just two Bri­tish blokes fix­ing up old cars. Mike Brewer Peo­ple al­ways ac­cuse

Wheeler Deal­ers of be­ing scripted – it isn’t! Ant and I just meet up in the morn­ing, draw up a few bul­let points and get on with it – and that’s as real as it gets.

What’s it like hav­ing a new part­ner­ship driv­ing the show?

MB Ant’s been ab­so­lutely phe­nom­e­nal. Over 13 years Edd and I cre­ated some amaz­ing cars, which I’m very proud of, and the show’s grown im­mea­sur­ably into some­thing that’s thriv­ing glob­ally. The show’s a big deal and it needed some­one who knew what they were do­ing, will­ing to work on tight sched­ule,

and be able to present a car show. Ant’s man­aged all of those things, and see­ing him tak­ing con­trol of the work­shop in that first week was a breath of fresh air.

How do you think fans will re­act to the change?

MB A lot of peo­ple have their loy­alty to what Edd and I have done over the last 13 years, but I’m even more proud of the fact that we’ve got some­one to step onto this huge stage and is able to take the show to an­other level. There’s more restora­tion and more me­chan­ics. Sure, some peo­ple will lash out on so­cial me­dia for the show not be­ing the same as be­fore, but what we’re do­ing in this se­ries is bet­ter than any­thing we’ve ever done be­fore, and I think proper car fans will ap­pre­ci­ate that. The cars come first, and the show must go on.

AA Mike’s had some un­for­giv­able abuse [since the change of line-up], which I un­der­stand be­cause some peo­ple are so pas­sion­ate about the show. Edd made a de­ci­sion to leave, and it’s our job to sup­port that. Mike was faced with the choice of the show go­ing on or it stop­ping al­to­gether. Edd will bring some­thing new out, and we’re both re­ally look­ing for­ward to see­ing it. Peo­ple want to be spoiled with car con­tent – I’d love there be car shows on ev­ery chan­nel to watch – and all I want to see is peo­ple mess­ing with old cars, get­ting them back on the road.

What are the big­gest chal­lenges you’ve faced in the lat­est se­ries?

MB The chal­lenges have been vast – I’ve bought 16 cars, some of which needed com­plete fab­ri­ca­tions from Ant. It’s been re­ally chal­leng­ing, par­tic­u­larly as

some of the cars have had a few rust is­sues.

AA Mike says rust ‘is­sues’, but some of th­ese cars were nine or ten out of ten on the rust scale, and the pan­els weren’t avail­able! But the good news is that

Wheeler Deal­ers fans will see proper, at-the-coal­face restora­tion in the lat­est se­ries.

Would you like to do an­other UKbased se­ries?

AA We’d love to and it might be when the tim­ing’s right we come back to Bri­tain to do an­other se­ries based here. But right now we have a great op­por­tu­nity to at­tack cars from all over the world.

MB We’ve re­stored German, Ja­panese and Amer­i­can cars from the sec­ond se­ries on­wards. Peo­ple have got this thing that we’re some­how an Amer­i­can car show now, but in the last se­ries eight of the 16 cars weren’t Amer­i­can. We also know some of the cars we re­store are ones Bri­tish fans would love to see – who wouldn’t want to see a Mus­tang, a ’68 Ca­maro or C3 Corvette on the show? If you want to see a Fi­esta XR2 ev­ery other week then Wheeler Deal­ers prob­a­bly isn’t the show for you.

How do you keep the fo­cus of the show re­al­is­tic when clas­sic val­ues have in­creased so much since the show started?

MB I get crit­i­cism on an al­most daily ba­sis that the show’s be­come un­re­al­is­tic and fo­cuses on cars peo­ple can’t af­ford. That’s not true – last year we re­stored a Ford Mus­tang that was worth £1500, a Chevro­let that I gave £1000 for and a Mercedes SEL that I bought for £2000, so there are plenty of cheap cars still out there. But we also get peo­ple ask­ing us to do more £1500 Corti­nas and Es­corts, and the truth is th­ese cars don’t ex­ist any­more. The clas­sic car mar­ket’s gone a lit­tle bit crazy th­ese days, and when you see Capris in ratty con­di­tion go­ing for £20,000 you re­alise that’s un­re­al­is­tic for the man in the street watch­ing Wheeler Deal­ers.

What’s the big­gest threat fac­ing clas­sic cars as a hobby?

AA For me it’s that they’re no longer be­ing seen as a mode of trans­port, and I worry when cars are treated like oil paint­ings, put in glass boxes and hid­den away. There are now cars that are worth six-fig­ure prices and peo­ple are afraid to use them. Wheeler Deal­ers has to re­flect what the cur­rent mar­ket’s like – if we bought a Golf GTI MkI for £500 to­day, you’d ac­cuse us of fak­ing it!

MB Car prices that are be­com­ing un­achiev­able for the com­mon man. There’s also a gap from about 1989 on­wards where we’ve all got used to driv­ing Euroboxes – I can’t see the day when we’re all stood in a field look­ing at a sea of Chrysler PT Cruis­ers and think­ing about bril­liant they are as clas­sic cars! It’s never go­ing to hap­pen. The prices of the cars most peo­ple con­sider to be clas­sics are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly un­re­al­is­tic.

Mike and ant took a break from film­ing the lat­est se­ries to drop in for MGlive!, where they were par­tic­u­larly taken by this 1972 MGB GT.

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