‘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
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.