Wheeler Dealers – Triumph Spitfire Review: Flop Gear

May 5, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

WHEELER DEALERS – TRIUMPH SPITFIRE, Tues 5th May, Discovery Real Time, 9:00pm Alert Me

I’ll admit to you right off the bat that I’m no car aficionado.

In fact my desire for motor vehicles stretches only as far as a desperate search for a kebab van at the end of a heavy night, so the prospect of a programme all about buying and doing up classic motors thrills me about as much as a drive-by.

But that said, I sat down with my ‘objective’ hat on and was fully intent on offering Wheeler Dealers an opportunity to sway me over to the side of the petrol head.

In case you didn’t know, Wheeler Dealers follows the same format as all those other shows that look to buy a cheap cars/houses/wheelbarrows and turn them into commercial gold.

Naturally, as the programme is about wheeler dealers (the clue’s in the title) the producers have gone to extreme lengths to find someone as charmingly irritating as Del Boy – Mike Brewer – to badger sellers into parting with their precious cars for much less than they had in mind, which makes for some embarrassing on-screen haggling.

To assist the small shouty one is a well spoken mechanic (Edd China), resulting in a surreal mismatch that gives the whole thing the air of a kid’s TV show.

But then, that’s not necessarily a bad thing considering this is very much a ‘boys and their toys’ production.

In this episode the lads buy a Spitfire 1500 which they aim to do up and sell for a profit. But to be honest if you don’t know the difference between a Spitfire 1500 and a Ford Wedgie, then I’m guessing Wheeler Dealers is not for you. The renovation part of the show gets so technical it teeters into the previously unchampioned realm of ‘Extreme Car Porn’. We’re talking the sort of technical spiel that doesn’t make sense unless you’re the kind of person who takes car magazines into the toilet: “The exhaust manifold just needs a bit of a tug,” and, “doing this reduces the stress in the block and therefore the risk of distortion.”

Right then.

Wheeler Dealers’ problem is that it is geared (no pun intended) almost exclusively to auto enthusiasts. The resale of the car was treated somewhat as an afterthought and there was no reason to think it wouldn’t be achievable, and so I was left particularly uninterested as to the outcome. Tragically, the return on the Spitfire was so piddly it also begged the question, why bother?

A foregone conclusion for sure, but for car-lovers everywhere, you can’t deny that with that combination of cheeky chappy enthusiasm and technical know-how, everyone’s favourite mechanical maestros are back.


Jack McKay