Just like cooking and house renovations, car restoration has become the fodder of "against-the- clock" reality TV. Thankfully, at least with the car restoration shows I've seen, we don't have to endure the tedious emotional journeys of those involved.
No one has a nervous breakdown because they can't get the shut lines of a boot lid even, and there aren't any pompous judges. For the most part, people get on with it, and at the end there's a satisfying before and after comparison.
The most unrealistic element of these shows is the against-the- clock element, which can make car restoration shows more entertaining, but is the opposite of how a car would be properly and fully restored in reality.
The more established of these shows is the UK-based Wheeler Dealers, which has been running for 10 years. It uses a straightforward formula whereby car dealer Mike Brewer searches for and finds a classic car that needs some attention, and then has his mechanic mate, Edd China, bring it back up to scratch before selling it on for a profit.
Brewer is in Australia filming a spin-off of Wheeler Dealers, called Trading Up, whereby he buys and sells a series of cars in order to make a larger profit at the end.
I wanted to know more about Wheeler Dealers though.
Brewer, a Londoner who still has a large car dealership in the UK, said the aim of the show is to show people in a "Haynes manual sort of way" that they can work on classic cars and affordably bring them back to good condition.
On the show, the restored vehicle typically does sell for a profit after the purchase price and cost of parts and refurbishment has been factored in.
However, Brewer was understandably weary of having been asked about not factoring in the labour hours of his tireless mechanic, China.
Brewer said the reason was that the show was more about showing what can be done when you have competent skills and a well-equipped workshop of your own, and for the home mechanic, this is arguably more realistic.
Clearly, Brewer is a salesman at heart and could sell petrol to Saudi Arabia for a fat profit, but he's also a dyed-in-the-wool enthusiast and personally owns a Chevrolet Camaro and a Ford Mustang Fastback.The next series of Wheeler Dealers begins on November 1, on the cable channel Discovery Turbo Max.