In the world of automotive reality-television series, Mike Brewer is one of the most recognizable faces due mainly to the popularity of his long-running TV show called “Wheeler Dealers.” His show has been entertaining car enthusiasts all over the world since 2003, and has become one of the most-watched auto restoration shows on TV. His successful TV career was marred by some controversial issues including his infamous feud with his former co-star in the show. However, it didn’t diminish his reputation of being one of the best car traders in the world, as his TV show continues to soar to new heights even up to this day.

Who is Mike Brewer?

Mike Brewer is a British gearhead and car trader, born on 28 August 1964, in Lambeth, London. His parents, Roger Wilks and Doreen Fitzgerald, raised him in a middle-class household.

His dad was not only a car enthusiast but a car customizer as well. Initially, Mike wasn’t interested in automobiles, but he developed his fascination with them because he was exposed to car repair and restoration even as a young kid. His father brought him to the garage during school breaks, while most of his friends were having a vacation. Mike was taught how to use car tools, and would often assist his father during his customization projects. Each year, he accompanied his father to several car trade shows around Britain, which taught him about car trading. When the time came and Mike was allowed to purchase his first car at age 17, he knew everything about the car he wanted, how to fix its problems, and provide proper maintenance.

Armed with the knowledge about car trading and restorations he learned from assisting his father, he was able to build a reputation for being honest and skilled in car trading in his hometown.

Later on, he established his car dealership called “Mike Brewer Motors” in Sheffield and after a while he expanded, and launched a second outlet in the Luton area. Car buyers could easily acquire high-quality used cars restored to nearly their former glory for only 600 Pounds per month.

Mike Brewer, the television personality

New car enthusiasts would only know of Mike as the TV presenter of “Wheeler Dealers”, but he had been on several automotive-themed TV shows as early as 1998 with the TV show called “Driven”, aired on UK’s Channel 4, which he presented with Jason Barlow and James May. It was supposed to compete with “Top Gear”, but later on Mike was left alone in the show as the other two presenters jumped ship and joined the rival show.

Mike then proceeded to host a rebooted TV car show called “Pulling Power”, aired on ITV in the early 2000’s along with Edd China, Sarah-Jane Mee, and Michele Newman.

However, it was when he became involved with the show “Deals on Wheels,” that Discovery Channel noticed his exemplary hosting skills and in-depth automotive knowledge; it put him on the radar of the TV network’s executives. He hosted the TV show from 1997 to 2001 and for the first four seasons he was accompanied by Richard Sutton. For the last season, Mike was by himself and was able to carry the show without any problem. However, Discovery Channel had other plans for him, so they canceled the show in 2001 to give way to another – “Wheeler Dealers.”

The Successful Journey of “Wheeler Dealers”

In 2003, Discovery Channel approached Mike to present the new TV series, “Wheeler Dealers”, which would basically let him continue doing what he did with his canceled TV show, but with an upgrade. He learned how to correctly make a car show that offered viewers how to buy, restore, and sell modern classic cars of his generation.

Mike Brewer in the arena

Posted by Cranleigh & District Lions Club on Thursday, September 15, 2016

The premise of the series was that Mike would show everyone the best places all over Europe to buy these used cars, while a mechanic named Edd China would help in educating car enthusiasts on how to bring them back to tip-top shape without going beyond 1000 Pounds.

The first episode aired on 7 October 2003, entitled “Porsche 924.” This luxury sports car created from 1976 to 1988 by Porsche AG in Germany was the star of the pilot episode. The team was quite nervous back then, since it was the first time they would try a full restoration, but it worked out well, and he didn’t have any problem maximizing their profits when it was time to sell the car. The viewers loved how they presented the show simply, without any fuss. From then on, the loyal viewers appreciated the conscious effort of the production staff and cast not to resort to unlikely drama scenarios, stunts, or even toxic deadlines to hype up the TV series.

Mike was proud that the buy-restore-sell formula they worked on since the first day remained true over 18 years, and never failed to give them a chunk of viewership percentage every season.

Longest-Running Car TV Show

“Wheeler Dealers” has now the distinction of being the longest-running automotive show on TV. From 2003 until February 2021, it aired close to 250 regular episodes, including 11 specials and featuring around 190 vehicles. The first 12 seasons of the show were produced by Attaboy TV for Discovery Channel UK, created by its founding directors who were both longtime petrol-heads. From 2003 up to 2010, it was aired on Discovery Real-Time, and then switched to Discovery Channel from 2011 up to the present. It has also been accessible through the Motor Trend network since 2016.

Changed Location: Hollywood

The TV show became bigger each year, reaching more global viewers particularly when they started touring the US during the eighth season

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Due to the global demand for showing more iconic cars, the TV executives brought the entire show to California, and rented a place in Huntington Beach for Season 12. From 2016 up to 2020, Mike operated in Hollywood where each episode was done. While some people thought that the content of the show changed, it didn’t. It only seemed that way because the show had upgraded somewhat to blend well with the glitz and glamour of Hollywood.

Mike’s infamous feud with Edd China

While “Wheeler Dealers” continued to flourish despite the influx of new auto restoration shows on TV, it wasn’t spared from controversial issues, including cast replacements. Devoted fans of the TV show were shocked, when it was announced that the beloved eccentric mechanic, Edd China, had left the show after fixing cars for 13 seasons. All wondered about the reason behind the decision, as it happened abruptly. Fans immediately thought that he and Mike had had a falling out.

Wheeler Dealers

Edd’s side of the story

It didn’t take long for Edd to explain what took place, as he posted a video on YouTube. According to him, the new producers of the show, Velocity, had a hard time continuing with the show using the current format, and so they decided to reduce the expenses which Edd didn’t approve. The mechanic also had disagreements on how an episode was being edited; he didn’t like that they would present an edited version of what they actually did in the workshop when they were fixing the car – he said that it was better for Velocity to go on with what they wanted with the show without him. It was a straight, no bullshit explanation, and people clearly understood what happened whether they agreed with it or not.

Death threats over a deleted tweet

However, Mike received death threats from Edd’s fans on social media, and when the news reached Edd, he didn’t like it.

He told his fans that Mike might not be his favorite person at that moment – and vice versa – but they were both adults and they would both get past it. Edd urged the fans to just support both their decisions and opinions. Some fans said that the death threats surfaced online due to Mike’s deleted tweet: ‘Edd left, didn’t say, just abandoned the show and then trashed it after 13 years…who’s the traitor?’

Mike’s side of the story

Mike contradicted Edd’s claim about why the latter left the show, and explained that the real reason was that ‘When he did some very bad things, it meant that Discovery channel just couldn’t work with him. So they gave him the option to leave, and he took it.’ Apparently, while the talented mechanic did what was required of him, Edd continually became disenchanted with the changes, and became difficult, mostly angry, and his frustrations were directed wrongly onto some of the crew members. It didn’t help that they were near the beach, and Edd wanted to work less.

He said that Edd made his position untenable, leading to his abrupt departure from the show.

He also revealed that Edd lied about the production cutting his mechanic segment, because they added more mechanics to the show. Mike didn’t know why Edd said all those things.

In his Forbes interview, Mike shared, ‘But what Edd wants is something completely different; it’s not ‘Wheeler Dealers,’ unfortunately. But that’s not my fault.’ However, due to the wrong assumption of some fans on what really happened because of what Edd told everyone, Mike and his family suffered abuse on social media – his words were: ‘It’s horrible. I don’t think he gets that. I don’t think he gets the amount of abuse that I’ve suffered.’

Some of the fans assumed that Mike never even defended Edd to the management, or found a way so Edd never had to leave.

The problem was that Edd never talked to him about leaving; he only knew about it a week after he’d already left the show. He said Edd’s mistake was that he thought he was bigger than the show, and probably believed that if he quit, the TV show would fold up. Mike was mad at that time because they were left hanging and many of them were dependent on the show. Edd’s sudden decision broke not only his heart but the rest of the crew, because they felt betrayed. It would also mean that they needed to find a replacement as soon as possible, so that they could get on with their work.

Much later on, when things settled down and Mike wasn’t angry, he shared during an interview that he and Edd never had an argument or yelled at each other. They practically did many things together, and Edd was even godfather to one of his kids. He advised people not to believe everything online and that things were getting better between them again.

Mike Brewer

Mike Found a New Co-host and Mechanic

Five months after Edd left “Wheelers Dealers,” Mike found a replacement, another British gearhead named Ant Anstead, and told Discovery Channel that they could film for another season with his new guy. He’d worked with Ant in the past, and during live events, so he could vouch for the guy’s work ethic. They had a screen test with Discovery, and the TV executives liked him so they immediately hired him for the 14th season. Ant worked well with Mike and the rest of the crew, so that he stayed with the show until the 16th season; his last appearance on the TV show was in January 2021.  His decision to quit the show was not because he had any problems with the cast, crew, or producers but it was because the TV show closed their California workshop in 2021 and went back to the UK. Ant stayed in California as he wanted to be near his son from his previous marriage. Fans believed that it was also because he’d just started dating actress Renee Zellweger in June 2021.

His Car Collection and Tips on Buying a Used Car

Mike’s car collection has been the envy of classic car enthusiasts. The oldest car in his garage that he’s had restored was a 1917 Ford Model T Coupe. He also has a 1959 MGA, 1960 Bedford CA Van, 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, and a 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback. However, his favorite is the 1976 Porsche 912 E, which he posted on his Twitter account. He found these classic cars in various places, and saved enough money so that he could acquire them one by one. Mike gave three tips when buying a used vehicle – first, get a data check and don’t attempt to buy one without being thorough about it. Second, never buy any used car without an experienced mechanic by your side. Third, when looking for cars to buy, you should never let your heart rule your head. Buy only the one that you need.

Where is Mike Brewer now?

Through all the changes “Wheeler Dealers” has had over the years, there were two things that stayed the same: its main host, Mike Brewer, and its winning formula – buy, restore, and sell. There was a time when he attracted some backlash after he decided to continue doing the TV show – Mike couldn’t believe that some people felt that it would be better to give up his career and join Edd just to prove something. If he did that, then they would both have ended up unemployed, which wasn’t a good thing for his family.

Through the years, Mike has proven that he’s made the right decisions whenever he was confronted by challenges. Discovery Channel gave him the spin-off series called “Wheeler Dealers: Dream Car”, with co-host, ex-Formula1 mechanic Marc “Elvis” Priestly. Instead of just buying, restoring,and selling a modern classic car, the spin-off show would be open to all types of vehicles just to be able to trade them to accumulate enough money to buy a dream car.

Each of the clients chosen to participate would donate their own car to kick start the project.

Elvis was chosen to replace Ant, and would present the original show alongside Mike in the UK. Mike has said that they have so much in store for the fans in the following seasons, especially now that they are back on their own turf. He welcomes the change with open arms, since he sacrificed so much by being away from his family, especially Michele, his wife of 29 years, and his only daughter, Chloe. He couldn’t count anymore the birthdays, funerals, and other milestones in their family that he wasn’t able to attend while he was in the US.

Mike’s Net Worth

Sources have estimated his net worth at around $1.5 million, as of September 2021. Most of his earnings have come from his TV shows, live events appearances, endorsements, and his car dealership outlets.

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