Wheeler Dealers has been going strong since 2003, and is currently preparing to film its 18th series.
The premise is simple: host Mike Brewer buys old cars in need of some TLC, and Marc ‘Elvis’ Priestley fixes them up in his workshop.
The pair then sell them to new owners at a profit (well, most of the time).
In 2015, Mike and Edd China (the show’s original mechanic) experimented with hosting the show in both the US and the UK simultaneously.
By 2016, Mike and Edd had permanently relocated to California with their families and brought Wheeler Dealers with them.
The show was hosted in the US for four years before returning to the UK.
But why did Wheeler Dealers originally move to the US?
It’s a question that a lot of fans were asking when this much-loved car restoration show suddenly announced it was packing up its tools and heading over the Atlantic. Let’s find out!
Why did Wheeler Dealers move to the US?
The show moved to the US for a few reasons: better weather for filming, more cars to choose from and greater availability of parts. To put it simply, the US provided more opportunities for Wheeler Dealers to grow its offering and its audience.
There’s no denying that British weather can be a total headache to deal with while filming a TV show – especially in the winter months.
Scenes that were filmed outside of the workshop (test driving, sourcing parts) required daylight and clear weather conditions so that the cars were visible.
With limited daylight and tight deadlines to follow, Mike and Edd were finding it difficult to film segments in the UK.
The US offered more daylight and better weather conditions.
More cars to choose from
American car culture is huge. The Fast and the Furious franchise and snazzy west-coast lowriders instantly spring to mind when car enthusiasts think of the US.
With a population of over 334 million people (almost five times that of the UK), there are many more people driving, buying and selling cars there.
This made it much easier for Mike to source cars for the show and continue producing new episodes.
Greater availability of parts
Sometimes it can be difficult to locate spare car parts in the UK. It’s a much smaller continent than America, which means there are fewer drivers on the road.
Fewer drivers on the road mean fewer cars are scrapped and broken down for parts.
In a 2016 interview with TopGearbox, Edd claimed that he found rare air conditioning parts for a Pontiac GTO were available less than 10 minutes away from the California workshop.
You wouldn’t get that in the UK!
What happened to Wheeler Dealers in the US?
The entirety of series 13 of the show was filmed in the US workshop with Mike and Edd.
Set in a workshop in Huntington Beach, California, the pair continued to buy, fix and flip cars to US buyers for a healthy profit.
They also started to include dollar prices in the calculations of cars and parts, highlighting the move to appeal to American television audiences.
Behind the scenes, Discovery Studios took over the production of Wheeler Dealers from Attaboy TV (series 1-12).
Some veteran fans of the show were not convinced with the new direction of the show.
They claimed that the core concept of Wheeler Dealers as a DIY show was being lost.
After wrapping up series 13, Edd China announced that he was leaving the show.
He was promptly replaced by Ant Anstead, who relocated to the US to work as the show’s second mechanic.
Fast forward to 2020 and the show announced that it would be returning to the UK with a new mechanic – Marc ‘Elvis’ Priestley.
It’s been a wild ride for Mike and the team, but fans were left elated at the prospect of their favourite automotive television show returning home.
Wheeler Dealers is the kind of television show that appeals to petrolheads everywhere. Whatever type of car you’re into, Mike Brewer has haggled for it.
But it hasn’t always been plain sailing for the show.
In fact, Wheeler Dealers nearly ended in 2017 when Edd announced his departure from the show.
Mike’s determination and belief in the show’s format was a key driver to pushing on and finding a replacement.
From that point onwards, the show has got bigger and better in scale and quality. It’s definitely not easy to make the world’s most-watched car show!
Are you glad that Wheeler Dealers is back in the UK? Let us know!