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.”
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.”