Mr Wheeler Dealer Mike Brewer has bade an emotional farewell to America as production of the hit show comes back to Blighty.
Writing on his Mike Brewer Motoring website, he looks back fondly on the years he spent making the programme across the pond – an idea that sprouted wheels six years ago.
It was a logical progression for the show, which started in 2003 and soon became massively popular.
Brewer had been making regular trips to the US to bring American cars back for restoring with original co-host Edd China and then selling on.
‘For me, Edd, and the crew, this was a big move. We’d be living in California for six months of the year, away from our families and other businesses back home,’ says Brewer, who is a judge at the Car Dealer Used Car Awards.
‘Edd had his own service and MOT centre and I had the Mike Brewer Motors dealerships, and managing all that plus the shows with an eight-hour time difference was, to say the least, stressful.
‘However, we all put our heads down and got on with it. The crew worked long hours to deliver great shows that we where really proud of.
‘Cars like the VW Thing, the 59 MGA, the BMW 2002 and the Corvette Stingray – great cars and great shows.’
Various stresses and pressure took their toll, though, and China quit the programme in early 2017. But Brewer was determined the show would go on – with Ant Anstead becoming his new ‘wingman’.
‘I knew that with the right man beside me, we could carry on with the shows – after all, myself and Edd never thought the show was about us, it was about the cars and always would be.’
There was a certain amount of online backlash, but he and Anstead ignored the trolls and got on with things – and the ratings soared.
‘Ant really threw himself into the job. He owned the workshop space and his work rate is phenomenal. We managed to turn around 52 cars in just a few years and grow the audience.
‘We even found time to do some other programmes – Ant with Master Mechanic, and I flew back to the UK to make Dream Car with my other pal, Marc “Elvis” Priestley.’
Brewer tells how the TV network wanted to expand online, and even though Wheeler Dealers was the top dog, its time as an honest-to-goodness TV show wasn’t over as far as he was concerned.
So now production is back to the UK and hooking up with Discovery Networks International again, this time with Priestley while Anstead stays in the USA.
‘The timing for me is also perfect,’ writes Brewer. ‘Elvis and I were planning our second series of Dream Car in the UK, so why not head home and Elvis by my side on both shows? I know the cars will be in very capable hands.
‘So goodbye California! It’s been an amazing adventure. We took a little car show from the UK and made it in Hollywood, led a network, grew a fan base and restored some amazing cars.
‘Thanks to Discovery Channel for having faith in the show and thanks to America – you have been amazing and I will love you forever.’