TV: Wheeler Dealers top 100 en route to Brighton

Discovery Channel’s motoring programme celebrates its centenary with special VCR restoration

The Discovery Channel’s hit show Wheeler Dealers will celebrate its 100th car milestone with a special anniversary episode of the programme to be aired at 9.00pm (UK time) on Monday 6 October.

To mark this significant milestone, presenters Mike Brewer and Edd China restored an historic 1904 Darracq and participated in the 2013 London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, the world’s longest running and greatest motoring celebration.

Although they successfully completed the 60-mile journey from London’s Hyde Park to Madeira Drive on the Sussex shoreline, they had plenty of escapades along the way.

“It was one huge adventure and makes some great television,” admitted Brewer. “At one point on Clayton Hill in the South Downs both Edd and I ended up running alongside the car in our full Victorian garb as the poor old Darracq’s single-cylinder engine struggled up the incline.”

While reaching the finish in Brighton was in itself a massive triumph for the two intrepid presenters, just taking part in the Run was the fulfillment of a long-held childhood fantasy for Brewer.

“It was a dream come true,” he said. “Right from my early days I used to stand on Brixton Hill in South London with my parents to watch the crocks go by, so it was fantastic to realise that dream and actually be driving one of those veteran cars. It was a real bit of personal history and to make the finish really was a very emotional and very proud moment.”

The Darracq that stars alongside Mike and Edd in the TV show was lent by the Haynes International Motor Museum and, having not run since it last entered the Veteran Car Run more than 30 years previously, it needed a full restoration from the Wheeler Dealers team.

“It was a huge challenge but very fitting for us to prepare a car that was more than 100 years old for our 100th programme,” continued Brewer. “You can’t simply buy parts off the shelf for these cars, so it needed a huge amount of re-engineering and lots of new skills which we had to learn. It was an incredibly steep learning curve for both Edd and me but the enormous amount of pride we had when crossing the finishing line made everything we’d done very, very worthwhile.”