Why Mike and Edd had to take Wheeler Dealers stateside

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Wheeler Dealers has come a long way since Mike Brewer and Edd China first graced British television screens back in 2003. Some 13 years later, Mike and Edd have some 121 episodes and 12 series under their belts, a worldwide audience of over 200 million people and workshops in both the UK and USA. Although the show has grown massively in popularity over the years, the formula has never changed. Mike finds the car and buys it, Edd uses his mechanical know-how to fix it up, then Mike sells it on to a buyer who’ll enjoy it for many years to come. Essentially, they’re saving cars that would have otherwise been sent to the crusher and giving them a second chance at life.

As it turns out though, Mike and Edd’s decision to rent a workshop in California was more out of necessity rather than anything else. “If you’re going to want more shows, we just can’t physically make them during an English winter, we’ll have to go somewhere sunny to make them,” Brewer explained. “So we decided California it is.”

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During the mild Californian winter, Mike and Edd work out of a building in a sleepy little industrial park in Orange County, but otherwise it is business as usual. Mike trawls the internet and magazines for cars in need of TLC, and Edd breaks out the spanners and fixes them up. The work they do is similar to what any car enthusiast could do with the tools in his or her own garage at home. “We are genuinely just two ordinary guys that love cars. We’ll go through a magazine, go on the internet, find one, have a desire to own it, and have a desire to put that car back on the road,” Mike said.

Just like most classic car restoration projects, Edd has a completion deadline on each vehicle which he has to work to, but the difference here is that deadline is a hard and fast one to get a car finished, sometimes right before airtime. Being in California has its perks though, as Edd found out, with air conditioning parts for ae vintage Pontiac GTO he was working on being relatively easy to source locally. “It turned out there was a place that had them on the shelf, literally 10 minutes from the shop,” remarked Edd. “That would just never happen in the UK.”

Unlike most other car-themed television series, Wheeler Dealers doesn’t have any staged drama or scripted elements. It is this realness of the format and the two hosts which keeps it relatable to average people who may be interested in a classic car. “There are like 35 other car shows right now on the planet, and none of them actually do what we do, which is the hard bit,” Edd adds. “And that is to actually follow the detail, look at how things go together, how to fix stuff. And in in the end, get the ‘every man’ out into the garage.”

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27 COMMENTS

  1. I really like this show because it actually deals with the mechanicals of upgrading and fixing cars. Other shows have become more about the the “stars” of the show and much much less about the cars and what is being done. Spot on guys! Keep it up.

    • I disagree, I am British,live in the the UK, but have owned some American cars over the years and so find the renovation of US cars interesting.
      Besides, they have undertaken a number of European renovations since they opened the US work shop

  2. Great show.I have learned quite a bit from watching Mr.Edd work. I live in Huntington Beach, and I think I have seen the shop location near my house. Would like to meet Edd while he winter’s in Sunny HB. Regards, Gary 714-620-5035

  3. I must admit to bring disappointed at the move to the US. I am an American and we have more than enough automotive TV. What I liked best about Wheeler Dealers was that it wasn’t in the US. I enjoyed seeing how things were done in GB and the different cars they worked on. I must admit that on three occasions I began watching one of the US based shows and didn’t finish. For me it just lost something. I remember thinking if I’m going to watch an American car be repaired in CA I might just as well watch Americans do it. There are lots of options.

    I also don’t get the whole filming and English Winter thing. I worked on plenty of cars during North East US winters and the variety of car related TV shows shot in shops in NY and the mid-West pretty much put that excuse to bed, I think.

  4. Ed and Mike are a breath of fresh air compared to the other lame car custom shows . The other shows are so ridiculously staged with dancing bear hosts they lose all credibility with any rational viewer. Ed and MIke are the real deal and it comes through. I remember a recent show where Ed made a statement to China claiming the both of them bring back their projects from the dead. China was quick to interject ” Yes , with my tools , we do !” It was a genuine exchange between two car guys, so unscripted, genuine and spontaneous. I hope they both can remain as fresh and genuine in future shows . These two are the ” thinking mans car show ” Please dont change.

    • must agree george the show has lost its way big time you hardly see any work on the cars its all about brewer travelling the states and edd doing very little and hay 1 hour later the car is restored total rubbish i believe the original concept has been lost.

    • George, I watched them from American. As a “Yank” we, of course, know it’s all put on. This is a TV show. Also, we DID notice that the cost of labor is never calculated into the cost of the car so they would lose money were it not for the show supporting the entire operation. Relax, it’s just entertainment.

  5. I don’t care where or how ED and Mike produce Wheeler Dealers …Just keep making shows please…I will adapt to any change you feel necessary to challenge yourselves, and to keep making shows.

  6. Starting to watch shows the third time ; No other program compares – You know the programs where they take a rusty piece of steel ; add a body, suspension, engine, transmission , brakes etc , and they have a car. I think I enjoy it more having done most of the same things ( on different cars). And having changed a clutch in the snow on the street in Chicago , I relate to not working in cold weather.

  7. The new series is full of badly scripted ham acting – it’s really cringeworthy. I wish they’d go back to what they do best

  8. Edd is awesome. All the other car shows have a bunch of folks working on cars based on their specialties. Wheeler Dealers has Edd.

  9. The show is FAKE.
    The buyers they get for these cars are NOT real buyers, they are in FACT set-ups by the producers.
    A neighbor of mine played the part of a buyer on one of the episodes, he never bought the car , furthermore he told me that the car broke down 4 times during the so called test drive (they don’t show that part).
    It’s all fake , it’s all just a show.

    • Not surprising at all. The show and syndication pay for everything. They don’t include labor in their costs of investment for the resale either.

      It is, after all, a TV show for entertainment. You want truth, you won’t find it on TV.

  10. thank you luke from England glad am not the only who thinks this new show is not good.i tried watching it again but have now turned back to top gear.edd and mike have turned into 2 fake actors the program has come to a end. why america they have no classics,we want them back in blighty with old fords and vauxhalls.sorry but am not wasting my time with these clowns…. so its back to top gear .

  11. I love the new venue as well as the U.K. It’s the two gents and their, relationship, individual skill and screen delivery that’s makes the show… They both are consummate professionals at their trade and it translates well to the audience. I’m a true blue American, served both in the Marine Corps and Navy for over 20 years, but hate these fake U.S. reality car “cake decorators” shows that are more about the host clowns than the actual front to back dealing of car restoration. Keep up the great work mates, those who don’t like it can watch a plethora of other shows. Welcome to America and Cheers!

  12. Love this show. I was dubious about their move to the US (Huntington Beach, CA or wherever they’re at) but now that they are here I am really enjoying them. I find it very interesting how the actually show the mechanical work and not just the frame off restoration no ceiling budget of their counterpart American shows (which I also watch at times).

    One big complaint is they never include the cost of labor in their “sale”, as if they truly showed their labor costs they would lose money every time. Lets face it, the 200 million plus viewers, advertisers and show syndication pay for everything or they would run at a loss.

    I wish they would truly spend a bit more money on some of their restorations. (It was painful to watch the 57 Chevrolet Bel Air being painted Yellow Cab Yellow and not paint the white hard top and clean the crappy vinyl seats and not replace them). Nonetheless, I will continue to watch them.

    • They do show the total man-hours they’ve spent while working on the cars in the United States, but there’s no dollar value given. I’m sure that Edd’s labor cost plus the amortized value of the shop and tools add up to at least eighty dollars an hour.

  13. I’m hooked on this series. The chemistry between Edd and Mike make the show a hit. They are the new Klik and Klak of NPR!

  14. I’m hooked on this series. The chemistry between Mike and Edd make the show a hit. They are the new Klik and Klak of NPR.

  15. I will miss Edd China!! I am not a car lover but have been watching this show with my husband because Edd teaches and shows how parts fit together….I love the way he teaches and problem solves. It has been very interesting. The relationship between Mike and Edd is refreshing and not combative which makes the show more relaxing then stressful. I wish the new show success but am very disappointment that Velocity wants to change the format.

  16. Edd is the best part of the show. They are two gentlemen with a common interest. But Velocity is after the almighty dollar. They have lost my veiwership.

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