Wheeler Dealers (2003– )

TVSeries


Wheeler Dealers (TV Series 2003– )

The hosts team up to find and flip serviceable used classic cars. Mike scours the Internet and local trade rags for bargain-priced modern classics needing attention. Edd China (and in later seasons, Ant Anstead) applies the elbow grease to bring the cars up to a nearly new condition, allowing Mike to "sell them on" for a profit.
UK
IMDb   8.2 /10
TheMovieDb    7.3 /10
RottenTomatoes
TV.com  8.0 /10
FilmAffinity   6.4 /10
Creators
Creator Henric Nieminen
Creator Warren Green
Information
Release Date2003-10-06
Runtime22min
GenreDocumentary
Content Rating
Awards
CompanyAttaBoy
CountryUK
LanguageEnglish
Mike Brewer
Mike Brewer
Self - Presenteras Self - Presenter…
Edd China
Edd China
Self - Presenteras Self - Presenter…
Ant Anstead
Ant Anstead
Self - Presenteras Self - Presenter…
Paul Brackley
Paul Brackley
Mechanicas Mechanic…
David Cashion
David Cashion
Selleras Seller
Frank Stephenson
Frank Stephenson
Self - Design Engineeras Self - Design Engineer
Walter Buttkus Iii
Walter Buttkus Iii
Self - Buyeras Self - Buyer
Lyle Fisk
Lyle Fisk
Selfas Self

Wheeler Dealers

Wheeler Dealers is a British television series originally produced by Attaboy TV for the Discovery Channel in the UK and for Motor Trend in the U.S. The programme is fronted by car enthusiast Mike Brewer. Edd China was the mechanic of the programme from (series 1-13). and Ant Anstead took over from (series 14-16) and Marc "Elvis" Priestley takes over from (Series 17).

The premise of the show has the presenters on a mission to save old and repairable enthusiast vehicles, by repairing or otherwise improving an example of a particular make and model to a budget then selling it to a new owner.

The programme was created by Daniel Allum and Michael Wood, the founding directors of Attaboy TV, both long-time car enthusiasts.

There have so far been 16 series of the programme and three different theme tunes have been used; the current one being Balaclava by the Wideboys.

The previous theme was from V-The Production Library by Music 4.Series 1 originally aired in 2003. The second half of Series 6 was aired in autumn of 2009 on Discovery Real Time. Series 5 was renamed to Wheeler Dealers On the Road, with Brewer and China expanding their car search by heading out into Europe hoping to find classic cars to buy and restore.

Beginning with part 2 of Series 8, Brewer further expanded their horizon by touring the United States. In Series 12, Brewer and China set up a new workshop in Huntington Beach, California. This decision was made so that they could deliver more episodes of the show and meant they were able to restore and sell the cars on the spot, instead of having them shipped back to the UK. Series 12 also introduced the brand new workshop back in the UK.

In April 2013 a spinoff series titled Wheeler Dealers Trading Up was launched. This series was produced by X2 Productions Ltd and has Brewer traveling around the world to buy and sell, but not repair or restore, used cars in different countries on a set budget. He begins with $3,000 and trades his way through the series up to a Porsche 911. It was recommissioned by Discovery Channel International for a second series where Brewer ends up buying a Ferrari.

A second spinoff series titled Wheeler Dealers: Dream Car premiered in January 2020, with Brewer and mechanic Marc "Elvis" Priestley lending their expertise to add value to clients' cars helping them trade up to their dream vehicle.


Format

In each episode, Brewer buys a vehicle, turns it over to his mechanic for repairs, then sells it on. For the first series, the budget was £1,000, for series 2, £2,000, and for series 3, £3,000. Budgets in subsequent series have varied, depending on the target vehicle. For example, a £10,000 budget was set on buying and restoring a Ferrari Dino 308 GT4 in series 6. For series 11 (2014), the budget is listed on the show's Discovery UK website as "up to £20,000".

The presentation for each project usually follows a similar TV format. Through series 6, the project was presented in two 30-minute episodes. Starting with series 7, the format was changed to single 60 minute (including commercials) episodes.

Summary

The programme was created with a DIYer in mind. The costs, and thus any profit or loss for a given project, are assessed without consideration of the labour costs of the mechanic (the assumption is that a well-equipped and able enthusiast could complete all work him or herself) but if repairs require professional help, like body resprays, complicated electronics, or windscreen replacements, they are added to the final cost.

Also addressed on each vehicle are its service history, bodywork defects (e.g. rust, dents), worn-out interiors and accessories. Vehicles that have either been inactive for long periods of time or purchased from outside the UK are restored and modified to pass the country's mandatory MOT test.

Part one

  • Brewer starts with a budget to buy and then fix up a vehicle.
  • Brewer gives a brief history of the merits of the chosen model of vehicle.
  • Brewer locates, test drives, negotiates for and buys the vehicle (usually sealed with a handshake and Brewer triumphantly expressing to camera that he's just bought a <name of vehicle>).
  • (Starting from series 5, prospective cars Brewer wanted to buy, but needed too much work, were shown. This also took place in Series 1, Episode 7).
  • Brewer turns the vehicle over to the mechanic, and together they assess its needs.
  • The mechanic begins work, providing assessments of the work and its challenges.
  • Brewer stops by the workshop for an overview of progress, and expenditures are reviewed.

Part two

  • A quick review of the first episode (for series where each project is split into two episodes).
  • Brewer goes on a field trip to procure some required parts.
  • Brewer interviews an owner of a similar vehicle in top condition, then drives and comments on the car. Brewer also assesses the merit and likelihood of getting the Wheeler Dealers example to the same condition as the example he is driving. (This feature was dropped from series 5 onwards)
  • The mechanic finishes the work on the project vehicle which is subsequently shown on a revolving turntable.
  • Brewer returns to the workshop and discusses the finished vehicle with the mechanic.
  • There is a final tally of expenditures.
  • Brewer drives the completed car, assessing improvements.
  • (Starting from series 5, Brewer and the mechanic test drive the finished vehicle together and discuss its resale value.)
  • Brewer sells the vehicle to a new owner (after the inevitable haggling). (Starting from series 5, prospective buyers who failed to buy the car are occasionally shown)
  • The deal is sealed when Brewer says, "Hold out your hand, you've just bought a <name of vehicle>!" and shakes the new buyer's hand.
  • Brewer summarises what the final selling price and profit is (or in rare instances what the loss is) and usually states that they have saved another vehicle to be enjoyed by the new owner.

Cast

Mike Brewer uses his skills as a former car trader to scout and buy used cars to be restored and sold for profit. He's also responsible for procuring replacement parts and sometimes specialists to refurbish expensive parts.

Edd China was the show's mechanic from series 1 to 13 doing much of the restoration and mechanical/servicing work, and giving viewers tips on how to sort out and solve various car problems, as well as estimating how much a garage would charge for such repairs.

On 21 March 2017, Velocity announced that China had left the show to "pursue other projects" and that he would be replaced by Ant Anstead in series 14. He explained that he chose to leave because he was disagreeing with the channel, which wanted to cut down his fixes in the workshop.

On 2 November 2020, it was announced that Marc "Elvis" Priestley would replace Anstead as the main mechanic of the show from Series 17, when it returns to the UK after six years filming in the U.S. However, Anstead will appear occasionally as a special guest.

Since series 13, the programme is produced by Discovery Studios (instead of Attaboy TV for the 12 previous seasons) for Motor Trend.

Paul Brackley was the series technical advisor, made sporadic appearances to assist China in carrying heavy parts or equipment in the garage, when China needed additional assistance (such as when China was bleeding brake/clutch fluid or checking an exhaust while a vehicle was running), and helping Brewer tow non-running or non-MOT-compliant vehicles to the shop.

Guest appearances on other shows

While buying more American cars for the show, Brewer dropped in on Chip Foose during the 2 June 2013 episode of Overhaulin, where Foose showed Brewer the 1972 Lotus Europa he was customising.


Episodes

As of 15 February 2021 240 episodes have been shown covering 188 different vehicles with 11 recap episodes.

Wheeler Dealers

For series 1 to 6, each car was covered in two half an hour episodes (including ad breaks). From series 7 onwards, each car was covered in a single 60 minute episode.

Series overview

SeriesEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
1127 October 200311 November 2003
21210 August 200416 September 2004
31223 August 200527 September 2005
41229 August 20063 October 2006
51228 October 20086 December 2008
6205 May 200917 November 2009
7104 May 20109 November 2010
8105 April 20111 November 2011
91520 March 20126 November 2012
101219 February 201322 October 2013
111517 March 201413 October 2014
122023 March 201519 October 2015
13189 May 201616 January 2017
14185 October 201731 May 2018
15273 October 20183 December 2019
161631 August 202022 February 2021

Trading Up

SeriesEpisodesOriginally aired
Series premiereSeries finale
162 April 20137 May 2013
266 August 201410 September 2014

Sweden Special

On 2 April 2012, the Swedish version of the Discovery Channel aired a special episode called Wheeler Dealers Sverige Special (Wheeler Dealers Sweden Special). In this episode, the Swedish presenters bought a Ford Mustang for 55,000 SEK. After having to refurbish the brake calipers, swap the engine and giving the car a new paint job, they were able to sell it for 135,000 SEK, giving them a total profit of 28,000 SEK.

U.S. Top 5 Specials

SeriesEpisodesOriginally aired
Series premiereSeries finale
155 June 20133 July 2013

Discovery U.S.'s Velocity channel commissioned a series of one-hour Wheeler Dealers: Top 5 Specials hosted by Mike Brewer, featuring the top five vehicles of each genre Brewer and China have worked on during the first nine years of the show.

The specials began airing 5 June 2013, on the way to a Top 5 Viewer's Choice finale on 3 July 2013.

These episodes have been shown in the UK on the Discovery Channel at the end of season 11.1 and started on 5 May 2014.

EpisodeTop 5Originally Aired
180s Icons5 June 2013
  1. Lancia Delta HF Integrale 8v (2006)
  2. Peugeot 205 GTi 1.9 (2004)
  3. Chevrolet Corvette C4 (2007)
  4. Audi Quattro (2009)
  5. DMC DeLorean (2011)
2American Icons12 June 2013
  1. Dodge Charger (2011)
  2. Chevrolet 3100 Stepside (2011)
  3. Ford Mustang Fastback (2012)
  4. Willys MB (2012)
  5. Chevrolet BelAir 210 (2011)
3Micro Cars19 June 2013
  1. Mini Moke (2011)
  2. Lotus Elan S3 (2010)
  3. Fiat 500 (2008)
  4. BMW Isetta 300 (2012)
  5. Austin Mini Mk1 (2003)
4Performance Cars26 June 2013
  1. Porsche 944 Turbo (2009)
  2. Ford Sierra Sapphire RS Cosworth (2010)
  3. BMW M5 E39 (2012)
  4. Lotus Esprit S3 (2008)
  5. Nissan Skyline R33 (2012)
5Viewer's Choice3 July 2013
  1. Volkswagen Type 2 T2 (2010)
  2. Jaguar E-Type Series 3 (2011)
  3. Morgan +4 (2012)
  4. Ferrari Dino 308 GT4 (2009)
  5. Gardner Douglas Cobra (2012)

Trading Up

Wheeler Dealers: Trading Up
Presented byMike Brewer
Country of originUnited Kingdom
No. of series2
No. of episodes12
Production
Running time60 minutes
Production companyX2 Productions Ltd
Release
Original networkDiscovery Channel
Original release2 April 2013 –
24 November 2014

Series 1 (2013)

In this series made by X2 Productions Ltd, Brewer navigated his way through the culture and idiosyncrasies of the international used car trade, traveling to different countries. Starting with a budget of US$3,000, he attempted to transform his first purchase into a succession of real deals working his way up to his goal: a US$30,000 luxury sports car. Episodes 1-3 and 5-6 directly connect with each other, with the final car of the former episode being sold in the latter episode. In the United States, airings on Velocity began on 10 July 2013.

#LocationVehicleBudgetPurchase PriceAdditional
Costs
Final Selling PriceProfit / LossUK Air DateUK Viewers (million)
1Kolkata, India2004 Maruti Suzuki Alto LX$3,000$2,150N/A$2,550$4002 April 20130.15
  • The car was bought off the street, and sold via a newspaper classified
2004 Tata Indigo Marina$3,400$2,350$25$2,850$475
  • The car was washed for $5
  • Mike had to replace the starter motor for $20
2000 Hindustan Ambassador Classic$3,875$3,600$1,050$7,600$2,950
2London, Herefordshire
and Newark, UK
  • The car was shipped over to the UK and got stuck out at sea
  • Mike had to get the car serviced to drive on UK roads
  • Transport & service cost Mike $1,050
9 April 20130.21
1971 Triumph Spitfire Mk IV Convertible$3,000$2,400N/A$3,450$1,050
  • New seat foam was installed on the seats
  • The wheels were replaced with refurbished wire units
1992 Land Rover 90 Defender$4,050$4,100N/A$5,825$1,725
  • New front grille and headlamp bezels were installed
  • Wheels replaced with refurbished black alloy units
1967 Chevrolet El Camino$9,600$9,600$808$9,900-$508
3Gothenburg, Uddevalla,
Malmö and Fjällbacka,
Sweden
  • The car was shipped over to Sweden from the UK
  • Repair & transport cost $808
  • Mike had to refund the buyer $2,300, as the engine was not as advertised
16 April 20130.26
EPA-Traktor (1958 Volvo Duett)$11,392$3,000$9$3,302$293
  • Fuel pump was replaced, cost $9
1972 Saab 96$11,685$1,850$23$2,460$587
  • The wheel hubs were cleaned and repainted, cost $23
1966 Volvo P1800$12,272$11,200$525$14,400$2,675
  • Right-hand-drive model
  • The car was shipped over to the UK from Sweden, cost $525
4Tokyo, Japan2003 Daihatsu Tanto$12,649$11,070$640$12,820$1,11023 April 20130.19
  • The car was washed, clay-barred and polished
  • Repaired all scratches on front bumper
  • Total cost $640
2003 Nissan Stagea 250 RX$13,759$4,225$1,516$7,692$1,951
  • Mike had to get the Shaken certificate for the car to be road legal, which cost Mike $1,516
1976 Toyota Celica Coupe$15,710$3,653$1,435$2,179-$2,909
  • The car had a faulty alternator, so Mike had to make the decision to put it straight back into auction and cost $1,435
5Mexico City, Mexico, San Francisco
and Palm Springs, U.S.
1956 Volkswagen Beetle$12,801$10,400$200$11,500$90030 April 20130.16
  • Rare German import built before Mexican production
  • New windscreen wipers and rear view mirror were replaced for $200
1980 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith II$13,701$10,000$500$14,000$3,500
  • Mike had to replace a flat tyre for $500 - including fuel
1967 Chevrolet Camaro$17,201$15,000$100$27,142$9,292
6Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • The car was shipped over to Dubai from the U.S.
  • Got stuck out at sea, resulting in Mike having no money to buy a car
  • Mike had to get the car registered car for Dubai (cost: $100)
7 May 20130.24
2005 Toyota Prado GX$0$14,571$450$17,142$2,106
  • Mike had no money and had to persuade dealer to 'sell' him the car on trust and that Mike would pay him back after the car had been sold on
  • The car was washed, the engine steam cleaned and headlamps polished for $100
  • Window was tinted for $350
2001 Porsche 911 Carrera Convertible$28,599$25,714N/AN/AN/A
N/A

Series 2 (2014)

#LocationVehicleBudgetPurchase PriceAdditional
Costs
Final Selling PriceProfit / LossUK Air DateUK Viewers (million)
1Sydney, Australia2000 Ford Falcon Futura AU II$3,000$900$215$2,790$1,67520 October 20140.23
  • Mike went to a scrapyard where he found a second hand driver-side mirror and headlamp for $80
  • Mike changed the parts and resprayed the bumper himself in order to cut the costs
  • Mike sourced out second hand camping equipment and bought it for around $135
1981 Mazda RX-7$4,675$4,050$450$3,600-$900
  • Mike had the car repainted for $450
  • Mike's friend, Richard put the car in his showroom to attract attention
  • The first bid on the Mazda was $5,130 with $480 profit, but in the end, the deal was called off
2002 Holden Commodore VU II UTE$3,775$4,750$450$5,850$650
  • Mike had to pay for the car via his credit card as there hadn't been a sale with the Mazda at this point
  • The car was detailed and the calipers were painted for $450
  • The car was sold to one of the mechanics who was working on the car
1972 Ford Escort Mk 1$4,425$4,950$1,368$14,240$7,922
2Clacton-on-Sea, London,
West Midlands & Aberdeen,
United Kingdom
  • The car was shipped to UK in a container with a cost of $1,280
  • Mike had to register the car in the UK for $88
  • The floor panel was repaired
27 October 20140.24
1983 Volkswagen Golf GTi Mk 1$12,347$5,200$160$7,200$1,700
  • The ball joints had to be replaced for $160
1999 Caterham 7$14,047$13,200$160$15,600$3,140
  • Mike converted the car back into a road car; doors, seats, road roll cage and new 7 badge were put back on
  • Racing roll cage, racing seats, transponder and racing stickers were removed from the car and sold for $900
  • Andy charged $160 for helping Mike
2007 Land Rover Freelander$17,187$15,200$80$17,000$1,478
  • As Mike was driving the car, he noticed that the SRS light was showing, this was due to a loose plug on the passenger side causing an open airbag circuit. This was fixed for $80
3Sao Paulo, Brazil1972 Volkswagen Kombi$18,646$12,174$435$13,913$1,3043 November 20140.22
  • The expert considered that the car has more than 80% of the original parts and can be registered as a collectors car (with black number plates). This cost Mike $435
1962 Willys Jeep$19,950$10,000$48$10,435$387
  • The buying price included two new front wings replacements, which cost $65 to replace them
  • The old front wings were taken to a scrapyard and Mike got $17
  • The mechanic that fitted the wings ended up buying the car
1976 Chevrolet Opala$20,337$5,217$6$6,522$1,319
  • The car was foam washed for $6
4Austin Texas, U.S.1972 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray$21,655$17,000$440$22,500$5,06010 November 2014N/A
  • Electronic ignition system fitted to replace original mechanical points system, increasing the BHP from 145 to 195, this cost Mike $440
1959 Chevrolet Apache$26,715$11,000$940$14,500$2,560
  • Mike bought a chrome plated grill, front bumper and front headlight bezels for $850
  • Other ornaments and badges were sandblasted for $90
1969 Jaguar E-Type$29,275$16,000$5,000$37,000$10,000
5Warsaw & Gdynia, Poland
  • Mike refurbished the cracked steering wheel
  • The wheels were steam cleaned, engine bay chemically cleaned and tyres dressed
  • A whole new braking system had to be installed
  • The carburettors were dismantled and rebuilt
  • The driver's seat was patched up by an upholsterer for $200
  • Total costs were about $5000 (including the ripped leather seat)
17 November 2014N/A
1973 Fiat 126p$39,275$1,000$500$1,833$333
  • The purchase price includes a set of alloy wheels
  • The car was vinyl wrapped for $500
  • The car was auctioned at a car fair in Warsaw
1984 GAZ-66$39,608$4,000$0$4,700$700
  • Mike sold the truck to a military dealer in the UK via a video call, before he even bought it.
6Milan, Mantua, & Modena, Italy1980 Vespa Primavera 125 ET3$40,308$4,900$322$7,000$1,59624 November 2014N/A
  • Mike offered to service the scooter himself to lower the purchase price
  • The aftermarket luggage rack removed
  • The carburettor was refurbished and cleaned up
  • The rear view mirror was changed
  • The scooter was washed
  • Total cost for parts was $322
1993 Lancia Delta Integrale Evoluzione II$41,904$35,000$10$39,000$3,990
  • The car was purchased in Menton, France, due to the high demand of re-importing Delta Integrales from other countries
  • The paint was touched up by Mike due to damage from stone chips
  • Mike's trader contact ended up buying the car as a trade when the potential buyers failed to turn up.
1989 Ferrari 348 tb$45,378$44,800N/AN/AN/A
N/A
  • Balance sheet
SeasonsVehiclesBenefits
1161886.857.670.£

Series Trading UpVehiclesBenefits
1Series 1,23472,828 £

-Constructors (62)véhicles
Audi,Amphicar, BMW, Mercedes-Benz,Messerschmitt,Opel Porsche, Volkswagen8
Amc, Cadillac,Chevrolet,DeLorean, Dodge,Ford,Lincoln Harvester,Humvee,Jeep, Merkur,Plymouth,Pontiac ,Wyllis14
Austin, Bond , Bentley , Bug, Catherham, Gardner,Jaguar, Jensen Healey, Land Rover, Lotus, MG, Mini, Morgan, Range Rover, Rolls Royce Sunbeam , TVR,17
Citroen,Darracq,Peugeot,Renault,4
&Hindustan Ambassador, Saab, Tata,Volvo,2
Alfa, Roméo, Ferrari, Fiat,Lancia, Lamborghini,Vespa6
Datsun, Honda, Lexus,Mazda, Mitsubishi,Nissan,Subaru, Suzuki, Toyota9
& &Holden, FSM ,GAZ-66

Other vehicles

Brewer has used a variety of vehicles on Wheeler Dealers to travel to see prospective vehicles and/or tow them if they are not in running order or street legal.

Brewer has used a Mitsubishi Shogun to travel around England since series 9 (2012). Vehicles used prior to series 9 include a dark turquoise Nissan Primera Estate, a blue Subaru Legacy Estate, a red Honda Accord Tourer, a black SsangYong Rexton II, a dark blue SsangYong Kyron, a black Land Rover Discovery 4, a blue Nissan X-Trail and a light blue Ford Kuga. For Series 8a, he used a black X-Trail. For Series 12b, he used a white Mercedes-Benz Sprinter to transport the Messerschmitt KR200 back to the workshop.

When Brewer travelled to France in series 5 to purchase a Citroën DS, he rented a French-registered black Opel Zafira; he rented a newer version of the Zafira when he returned to France to buy the Renault Alpine A310 in series 9a. Brewer used a French-registered silver Toyota Corolla Verso when he returned to buy the Citroën 2CV in series 11a. When he returned to France in series 12b, he rented a French-registered grey Audi Q3 to purchase the Citroën HY.

Trading Up

For Trading Up, Brewer drove a white Toyota Fortuner owned by a used car dealer in India. In Dubai, Brewer's contact drove him around in a white Ferrari F430. In Texas, Brewer used a grey C2 Corvette. Taxicabs featured in the series included a yellow Hindustan Ambassador Grand and a green and yellow Bajaj RE in India, a black LTC TX4 in the UK, a black Toyota Crown Comfort in Japan, a yellow and red Volkswagen Sedan Type 1 in Mexico, a white Ford Falcon in Australia, a white Chevrolet Onix Sedan in Brazil, a yellow Dodge Charger in Texas, and a yellow Fiat 600 Multipla in Italy. For Hire Cars, he rented a Black Mitsubishi Shogun in the UK, a black Chrysler Grand Voyager in Brazil, a dark red GMC Yukon in Texas, a grey Land Rover Discovery 3 in Poland, and a white Fiat 500 in Italy. In Poland, when Brewer is taking the Fiat 126p to get vinyl wrapped, he borrowed a grey Opel Movano, to carry the car to the vinyl wrapping shop.

For the Wheeler Dealers: Top 5 US specials, Brewer stood in China's shop, in front of a red C2 Corvette.

Intro/segment vehicles

The opening sequences and filler segments from series 1 to 9 featured the cars that were worked on throughout their corresponding seasons:

  • Series 1: All the vehicles done so far
  • Series 2 and 3: MGB GT
  • Series 4: Porsche 911 2.7S Targa
  • Series 5: Mercedes-Benz R107 280SL
  • Series 6: Ferrari Dino 308 GT4
  • Series 7: Lotus Elan S3
  • Series 8a: Jaguar E-Type Series 3
  • Series 8b: Dodge Charger
  • Series 9a: Fiat Dino
  • Series 9b: Gardner Douglas Cobra

Series 10 did away with using cars on the opening and commercial break sequences, instead using a title card with the series logo and the colour(s) of the episode's car on the background. The filler segments, however, used the following cars:

  • Series 10a: Aston Martin DB7
  • Series 10b: Lamborghini Urraco P250S

Starting with series 11, Wheeler Dealers no longer uses cars on the filler segments.


International productions

The popularity of the original UK series led to a French-language spinoff titled Wheeler Dealers France, which premiered on 10 October 2016 on RMC Découverte. The series is presented by Gerry Blyenberg and Aurélien Letheux. Brewer made a special guest appearance on season 2 episode 1 of the series.