A few months ago, in what now seems like a privileged previous existence, I spent my regular December fortnight in Lanzarote working on a few projects and wandering the streets of the island’s capital, Arrecife. I did whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. As a man of simple tastes, that involved coffee and tapas, the occasional pizza, talking to new people in basic Spanish and sitting on the balcony watching Wheeler Dealers.
My February column for BMW Car magazine zoomed in on this idea of Wheeler Dealers as a highlight of the day. I never watch it while at home but, out in the Canaries, it quickly became a lynchpin of daily routine. It was usually broadcast in English with Spanish subtitles, giving me a bit of a car fix while also improving my language skills. (‘Control de las Fronteras’, with dark-haired Spanish ladies in uniform catching Ukrainian tobacco smugglers et al ran Mike a close second, but that’s another story.)
The new season of Wheeler Dealers kicked off on Discovery Channel last month and the first episode seems to have been a show I saw while in Lanzarote: an SMG to manual conversion on an E46 M3. Subsequent episodes include more favourite four-wheelers:
- 1972 Fiat 124 Spider
- 1973 Toyota Celica
- 2002 Mercedes Benz E55 AMG
- Volvo Amazon 122
- Toyota Land Cruiser
- 1982 Porsche 911 SC
Now, I like all of these cars and still own my 1993 Land Cruiser 80-series 4.2 diesel manual. If this pandemic really was some sort of apocalypse, I would be dragging the Land Cruiser back into service right about now, so I’ll definitely be watching that episode, which converts a 60-series Cruiser from auto to manual. Another one for the diary is the 1982 911 SC, which I think has been Herr Brewer’s daily driver for a few years.
Mike is a bona fide Porsche nut. Based in Huntington Beach, California when shooting in America, he is friends with another friend of mine, the artist Nicolas Hunziker, so I often see pics of the craic they enjoy on social media. Nicolas also spends a fair bit of time driving with Chad McQueen: I can definitely see how this lot get on. On a side note, Nicolas has a great offer on his classic Porsche driving shoes at the minute: all shoes are just $50 a pair in the Stay at Home Sale! Check that out and keep him busy.
I don’t know which spanners will be waving in the SC episode, but I see a big old exhaust in the preview photos, so a bit of that at least. In time-honoured Wheeler Dealers tradition, Mike’s SC was sold after the episode was finished and still lives in the USA. Going by his Twitter feed, Mike now runs a 1976 Porsche 912E and has been fettling it while the lockdown continues.
He’s been told that it’s Enamel Blue (it was described as such when sold by Silverstone Auctions) but it looks pretty much the same as my old 912E, which was painted Arrow Blue at the factory in 1976. Maybe it’s had a repaint somewhere down the line. You can follow Mike’s progress with the car on his Twitter feed, @mikebrewer. Worth a follow just to see how he bats off the trolls, not to mention his projects.
The SC episode will be broadcast on Monday April 27th, so stick it in your diary. The Land Cruiser one is the week before!
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