Wheeler Dealers is revving up for a supersized new series on Discovery.
Kicking off the New Year in style, automotive valuation expert Mike Brewer and new master mechanic and fabricator Ant Anstead are finding, fixing and flipping some of the world’s most iconic and best loved used cars.
We caught up with the boys to get some top tips and discover why in the congested world of cars shows, Wheeler Dealers still comes out on top.
After all these years, why is Wheeler Dealers still so popular?
Ant: I think it’s fair to say that Wheeler Dealers is the oldest and original car restoration format on TV. When it came out there were no car restoration shows and now there’s nearly 40. I do another show on Channel 4, For the Love of Cars, and that traces its heritage back to Wheeler Dealers. It’s a show that me and many other people around the world grew up with and it makes
Mike a bit like my great grandfather.
Ant: He’s literally just hit me. Calm down, don’t break your hip. We have to be careful with him, he’s got a dickie heart from old age. But seriously, it’s a big deal and big shoes to fill and it’s got not only the eyes of the TV world, but the eyes of the car world watching me. But fingers crossed I think it’s gone well. It has broke ratings records in America and I’m really proud of the show we’ve made.
Mike: what has Ant been like to work with on the new series?
Mike: Ant spends an awful long time looking in the mirror. And doing personal grooming. When he does finally get to his toolbox, he picks up the shiniest tool so he can catch himself in the reflection. No, Ant it great. It’s fantastic to work with someone who loves what they’re doing and is boundless with their creativity.
Why do you think Wheeler Dealers stands out next to things like Top Gear and The Grand Tour – is it because you’re a pure car show?
Mike: “We’re never heading off in cars around the world trying to kill each other. We’re just two guys who are very passionate about what we do and we’ve always stayed true to the ethos of the show – to educated and inform. We also put the show in the hands of the viewer. We want people to think, ‘I can do this, I could do that’. In America, people have come up to me even after only a couple of episodes to say, ‘you have inspired me to take on this project’. If we can achieve that, that’s a fantastic enduring legacy, encouraging people to take on things they love.
Ant: The show has always had a very humble feel in its DNA. It started out as two passionate car guys who help teach people how to restore classic cars. And that’s what is still is today. You see other car shows and they’ve changed over the years. In our show, if there’s a broken turbo, I fix the turbo. Other shows just plonk in a shiny new one and create the false jeopardy of ‘will they get it done in time?’ while sitting around, drinking beers, getting tattoos and swearing at each other. That’s exactly what Wheeler Dealers isn’t. We’re humble, we’re classic, the car always comes first.
Do you remember the moment you first fell in love with cars?
It’s easy for me. I grew up in a car family, my dad was a well-known customiser. In the summer holidays, I reluctantly spent my time in the south London garage cleaning, putting away tools and making cups of tea. Subliminally I was learning an awful lot about cars and by the time I was 16, I had got my first car and knew exactly what to do with it and knew that I had the skills to work on cars and would be better at that than I ever would working in an office.
My dad wasn’t into cars, but I grew up like lots of kids my age on Lego and Mecano. Then I started making soap boxes. And then one day as a kid, I remember paying two quid at a flea market for a lawnmower so I could take the engine out and stuck it in a go kart. I don’t think I got it working, but the principle was there. And ever since I got my first car at 16, I’ve always had projects on the go. I used to have two cars in my mum and dad’s garage, one out the front, one out the back and two more either side on the street.
Ant and Mike's top three classic car tips
1. Fill your library before you fill your garage
2. Join a car club. Join user groups.
Because if you have a problem with a car, it’s really likely that someone else will have had the same thing
3. Knowledge is power.
It really is. I just bought a BMW in America and I got it wrong, because there was a part wrong with it and I don’t really know how to fix it. If I’d known about that before, I wouldn’t have got it. So even I get it wrong still – knowledge is power. That’s what we always say when we do talks or when we’re at events.
The brand new season of Wheeler Dealers premieres exclusively in the UK on Discovery Channel, 9pm, Monday 1st January - BT TV channel 322.