Flipping cars can be very profitable and a fun pastime for the true automobile enthusiast. Finding that special car to flip can be difficult, however, because it is very easy to fall in love with the very thing you should be making a profit from. Also, there are many issues that can go wrong in the business, from buying to fixing up to selling.
The UK-based television show, Wheeler Dealers, features a crew that is faced with many risks and challenges. After all, buying a car with a major engine or transmission problem can be more trouble than it’s worth. Also, forming a team that works well together can prove to be a handful.
The big stars of the show have been Mike Brewer, Ant Anstead, and Edd China. Edd, however, left the show after Season 14. Apparently, Velocity (the channel that airs Wheeler and Dealers) and the production team had wanted to reduce workshop time to cut back on expenses. Edd China, however, claimed that reducing the time in the workshop and “cutting corners” was not something he was willing to do, so he left the show after 13 years.
Anthony “Ant” Anstead is Edd China’s replacement. Previously, Ant was known for his work on “For the Love of Cars” with Philip Glenister. Ant Anstead was also a car builder, designer, and formally a semi-professional football player and one of the youngest armed police officers in the UK.
This list will review 10 vehicles that were a loss to the show, then 10 that produced a profit, followed by 5 odd and or rare vehicle. But first, I will address both sides of the confusing story which led to Edd China eventually leaving the show.
25 Threats (Edd’s Side of the Story)
Edd China seemed to push his fan base to the edge when it was revealed that threats had been sent to Mike Brewer, host of Wheeler Dealers. According to Express.co.UK, Mike Brewer, his wife Michelle, and even his child, Chloe Brewer have been receiving threats in both verbal and written forms. Edd seemed to want to leave over the issue, and in a YouTube post, claimed that he will be initiating another workshop oriented show. Edd China is not only known for Wheeler Dealers, but he is also known for his motorized office chairs and motorized bathtubs.
24 Threats (Mike Brewer’s Side of the Story)
Mike Brewer, the host and presenter of Wheeler Dealers, was harassed during his everyday life according to Mortoringbox.com. Mike Brewer stated: “The abuse that me and my family have suffered as a result of Edd’s statements affects more than just me. It affects the crew, my friends, the fans, the charities, and my employees and employers. I have been abused in the street, restaurants, supermarkets and at car shows because Edd made the decision to leave and quit the show? His reasons are clear and out there for people to draw their own conclusions.” Mike Brewer now continues to work on the show with Ant Anstead.
23 1986 Ford Capri Laser 1.6
According to the WheelerDealer.com, season 1, episode 12 was the purchase of the 1986 Ford Capri for 400 pounds. The budget for this project was 1,000 quid, final cost after restoration was 945 pounds with a selling price of 700 pounds.
But the Wheeler Dealers crew lost 245 pounds on the deal.
The car received new painted front fenders (or 'wings' as the Brits call them), “Laser” decals, suspension bushings on the front, exhaust gaskets, a front bumper and air dam, front tires, and fog lights. The 1.6 Ford Kent inline four-cylinder engine was in good shape since no documented major repairs were done on the show.
22 1985 Suzuki SJ410
Also known in the United States as the Suzuki Samurai, Suzuki recognizes this model as the Jimny internationally, and many enthusiasts call it by the chassis code SJ410. I remember when the Suzuki Samurai was released. I was about 5 years old and my older brother wanted one because it could go anywhere and he could put a nice stereo in it. Around the time of its introduction into the United States, this vehicle received bad reviews due to it rolling over during sudden quick turns although Suzuki claims those accidents were due to poor driving skills, at least according to Carbuzz.com. The Wheeler Dealers crew bought the Samurai for 2,000 pounds sterling with a 2,000 pound budget. The selling price, however, was only 500 pounds, leaving the crew with a loss of 770 pounds.
21 1989 Volkswagen Transporter T3
The Volkswagen Transporter reminds me of my old YMCA bus when I was a kid, and it brings back memories of hard gum under the seat, Capri Sun juice pouches, and a driver with physical similarities to Tracey Chapman rowing through the gears.
With that being said, the dynamic duo from Wheeler Dealers bought and flipped a Volkswagen Transporter in Season 2, Episode 5.
The budget was 2,000 pounds and the purchase price was 250 pounds. Final cost after the restoration process was 1,270 pounds and the final selling price was 500 pounds. The Wheeler Dealers were out 770 pounds.
20 1987 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16 Cosworth
Once upon a time, a Formula One driver from Brazil took the place of Emerson Fittipaldi in a Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16 during a one-make race at the Nürburgring in Germany.
According to TopGear.com, Phil Hill, James Hunt, Nikki Lauda, Alan Prost, and Keke Rosberg all were in the race, while of course, the Brazilian that took the place of Emerson Fittipaldi was none other than Ayrton Senna.
WheelerDealers.com claims the Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16 Cosworth was purchased for 2,700 pounds and the final cost after restoration was 3,585 pounds. At a selling price of 3,500 pounds, they eventually lost 85 pounds—which is not a huge loss, but still in the red.
19 1989 Range Rover Series 1 Vogue SE
The Range Rover Series 1 Vogue SE, according to WheelerDealers.com, cost 1,600 pounds and after restoration, resulted in a final cost of 2,035 pounds. The final selling price was 2,000, a 35 quid loss. The roof lining and rear door card were changed along with the tailgate, automatic transmission fluid, gearbox oil filter, gearbox sump gasket (gearbox fluid pan), and the air flow meter was also replaced. With a 35 quid loss from the sale and restoration of a vintage Range Rover, the Wheeler Dealers crew only missed out on $45.24 USD, which isn't even enough to fill up the SUV's gas tank.
18 1999 Jaguar XK8 Convertible
Jaguars are a classic gentleman’s car, although many may argue by saying it’s an old man’s car used for going to the local market by people that eat dinner at 4:00 PM.
WheelerDealers.com claims the crew picked up a 1999 Jaguar XK8 Convertible for 6,000 pounds, and with a 10,000 pound budget, the 75 pound loss is not too bad.
At least, not too bad in the eyes of an enthusiast who risked falling in love with the car rather than selling it for a profit. The final cost after restoration was 10,075 pounds. The XK8 was lowered with shorter springs, shocks, while XKR brakes and the mufflers were replaced with aftermarket models. The rest of the mods were cosmetic, such as a satin grill and a new registration plate.
17 1903 Darracq Type L
Darracq and Company built motor cars and airplane engines. Founded in 1896 by a Frenchman named Alexandre Darracq, STD Motors Limited ended up taking over the marque before it was dissolved by 1936. For the Wheeler Dealers, the 1903 Darracq Type L wasn’t technically a loss because it wasn’t technically sold. Instead, it was on loan from the Haynes International Motor Museum and was used to celebrate the 100th car on the show, according to WheelerDealers.com. The water pump was refurbished due to the local Autozone or Halfords not having parts for a Darracq Type L—though if they had, the price would simply have to be replaced with a picture of an arm and a leg. The cost of the restoration was actually 1,517 pounds.
16 1975 AMC Pacer
The 1975 AMC Pacer was a compact car of the mid- to late-1970s. Car and Driver called it a “fishbowl” due to the (mostly) glass cockpit. Despite its looks, the AMC Pacer has a front engine and rear-wheel-drive layout, so production was cheaper than that of a front-wheel-drive, transverse-mounted mill.
The purchase price, according to WheelerDealers.com, was 3,059 pounds and the total cost after restoration was 8,096 pounds.
The selling price was 4,989, for a loss of 3,107 pounds. The AMC Pacer was lowered 50 mm (which is 1.96 inches) and its gear selector cable was replaced. Cosmetically, it received an interior color change and new halo style headlights. Wayne and Garth would be proud.
15 1974 BMW 2002tii
The BMW 2002tii was a two-door sports sedan released during the 1970s. According to Car and Driver, the BMW 2002 tii produced 98 hp with 106 ft-lb of torque. This vehicle was the answer to the rising prices of gas in the U.S. during the 70s, but still offered a sporting edge. According to WheelerDealers.com the budget for the BMW 2002tii was 6,439 pounds, the purchase price was 4,990 pounds, so the final cost after restoration was 13,813 pounds. The selling price was 23,415 pounds which is a profit of 9,065 pounds. 9,065 pounds is around $13,550 US dollars, which is enough for a very nice vacation for two.
14 2002 Noble M12 GTO 2.5
Nobles are low-production lightweight sports cars build in Leicester, UK. The company was created by Lee Noble. According to WheelerDealers.com, The Noble M12 GTO 2.5 has 310 hp and does 0-60 in 3.7 seconds thanks to a turbocharged Ford Duratec V6 engine and though the vehicle surprisingly has no antiroll bars, it still once obtained a 170 mph top speed on the oval track at the Millbrook Proving Grounds in Bedfordshire, UK. The Wheeler Dealers bought a Noble M12 for 21,000 pounds with a budget of 21,500 pounds. The final cost after restoration was 24,574 with a final selling price of 27,000 pounds, netting a good profit for the Wheeler Dealers crew of 2,426 pounds.
13 1976 Porsche 911 2.7s Targa
A purchase of a Porsche 911 is almost never a poor investment, so the Wheeler Dealers crew purchased a 1976 Porsche 911 2.7S Targa 2.7s Targa. According to WheelerDealers.com, this 911 received a reconditioned transmission, clutch, and door mirrors.
The Targa top was reconditioned, chrome wheel trim was removed, and the wheels were refurbished, as well.
Also the spark plugs, oil pressure sending unit, and air filter were replaced. The Porsche 911 2.7 was bought for 5,000 pounds, with a budget of 6,000 pounds. The cost after restoration was 7,040 pounds with a final selling price of 8,450, so the Wheeler Dealers crew walked away with 1,410 pounds.
12 1982 Lotus Esprit S3
According to WheelerDealers.com, their Lotus Esprit S3 was purchased for 3,600 pounds and the budget for restoration was 5,000 pounds. The final cost after restoration was 4,385, while the final selling price was 6,200. The Lotus produced a profit of 1,815 pounds after the cam belt (or timing belt) was replaced and a stainless steel exhaust system was swapped in for cast iron pieces. The oil filter and air filter along with spark plugs, some interior bits, the shocks, and a leaky sunroof was replaced. The Wheeler Dealers tested the Lotus at the Lotus test track in Hethel, England.
11 1975 Ferrari Dino 308 GT4
The Ferrari Dino 308 GT4 is not to be confused with the Ferrari 308 that was the Magnum P.I. car because the 308 GT4 was replaced with the Ferrari Mondial. According to WheelerDealers.com, their 1975 308 Ferrari Dino had a budget of 10,000 pounds and a purchase price of 8,750 pounds.
The total cost of the 308 Dino after it was restored was 11,880 pounds and it reached a selling price of 13,000 pounds.
The Wheeler Dealers crew made a profit of 1,120 pounds. With Edd China removing e multiple dents and patching holes in the undercarriage using fiberglass, and after a total paint job and refurbishment of the stock wheels, the Ferrari Dino got a new home.
10 1973 Jensen Interceptor III
The 1973 Jensen Interceptor III is a proper British vehicle which nonetheless utilized Chrysler V8 engines with horsepower figures of 255 to 335 hp. According to WheelerDealers.com, their Jenson Interceptor had rust removed and new steel was installed in the passenger footwell. The master brake cylinder was replaced with a refurbished unit, along with a steering rack. The interior was cleaned up and brought to near-new condition. The wheels, like many, projects were refurbished and polished. The Wheeler Dealer crew started with a budget of 5,000 pounds with a purchase price of 5,000 pounds. The cost after restoration was 5,430 pounds and the final selling price was 6,500 pounds. The profit from the sale of the Jensen was 1,070 pounds.
9 1968 Lotus Elan S4
The Lotus Elan S4 produced the largest profit on the show to date. According to WheelerDealers.com, there was a lot of work done on the Lotus Elan S4, but clearly, the hard work paid off. The budget for the Lotus was 10,000 pounds, with a purchase price of 8,500 pounds. The final cost after restoration was 11,685.
The final selling price was 16,700 pounds which means the sale of the Lotus returned a 5,015-pound profit.
The entire exhaust system was replaced with stainless steel, which provides increased flow and lighter weight. Front suspension bushings and ball joints were replaced along with the constant velocity joints. The wheels were resprayed from black to silver and fitted with chrome spinner caps. A popup headlight was also repaired and the vehicle was repainted to give it that “off the showroom floor” appearance.
8 1970 Dodge Charger
Take a large-size two-door coupe and throw an even larger engine in the mix: the 1970 Dodge Charger was the perfect project for the Wheeler Dealers crew. With a budget of 15,000 pounds and a purchase price of 14,000 pounds, their Dodge Charger came to a total of 18,160. The final selling price was 20,000 pounds, which means the profit from the sale was a respectable 1,840 pounds. The front wheel bearing was replaced along with a gear shift linkage, which sorted out some sloppy shifting. A power steering pump, the rear suspension spring hangers, and headlight motor all received work, while a “Dixie” horn was installed to mimic the General Lee from the 1970s hit show, “The Dukes of Hazzard”.
7 1982 DeLorean DMC-12
The hit 1980s movie “Back to the Future” featured a DeLorean DMC-12 as a gull-winged time machine with the durability of a stainless steel pizza oven. In real life, though, the body of a DeLorean was actually made of stainless steel. According to WheelerDealers.com, their DMC-12 had a budget of 10,000 pounds, a purchase price of 9,650 pounds and a final price after restoration of 14,715 pounds.
The DMC-12 sold for 20,500 pounds, netting a 5,785-pound profit for the Wheeler Dealer duo.
Of course, some repairs were necessary, such as fixing the dents in the stainless steel panels, refurbishing the rear louvers, replacing the flywheel and crankshaft oil seal, and installing new seat covers, a gear shift gate, new carpets, and window regulators. The air conditioner was also repaired and the wheels were refurbished.
6 1974 Porsche 914
A mid-engined Porsche 914-4 was featured on Wheeler Dealers Season 9 Episode 5, according to WheelerDealers.com. The budget was 5,000 pounds, the vehicle was purchased for 4,000 pounds, and the final cost after restoration was 5,310 pounds.
After a selling price of 8,250 pounds, the Porsche 914 produced a profit of 2,940 pounds.
The Porsche received a refurbished engine with thermostatic bellows for cooling the horizontally-opposed Volkswagen engine. The oil coolers were replaced, cooling fins were reconditioned, and a new distributor with new injector seals was fitted. The Fuchs alloys wheels were refurbished and the Targa top was resprayed. The body was steam cleaned and polished. The interior was also cleaned and vacuumed.
5 1989 BMW Z1
The BMW Z1 was a two-seater roadster with BMW’s glorious 2.5-liter inline-six taken from the BMW E30, according to WheelerDealers.com. The doors were very unique, with both doors sliding down into the body or chassis of the vehicle instead of opening outward. There was no allocated budget for this vehicle on the show. The purchase price was 14,037 and the final cost after restoration was 19,154 pounds. The final selling price was 25,000 pounds, for a profit of 5,846 pounds. The yellow interior was dyed black, while the clutch and release bearings were replaced. A custom exhaust was fitted and the drop door was repaired. The panels were repainted in red and the seals were replaced. The seller bought the vehicle back after seeing the results from the Wheeler Dealers crew.
4 1973 Volkswagen 181 Thing
The Volkswagen 181 Thing may not look great and may not be the fastest vehicle on the road but it utilizes a reliable Volkswagen air-cooled, horizontally-opposed, four-cylinder engine. The Volkswagen Thing on the show, according to WheelerDealers.com, had a budget of 6,380 pounds and a purchase price of 5,104 pounds. The final cost of restoration was 8,240 pounds and the selling price was 10,352 pounds, for a profit of 2,112 pounds. The VW Thing’s windows were refurbished, along with the seats. A basic tune-up was conducted, a replacement exhaust system was installed, the front drum brakes were replaced with disc brakes, and the body was cleaned and polished.
3 1973 Rover P5B
Season 12 Episode 9 of Wheeler Dealers featured a Rover P5B. According to WheelerDealers.com, the budget for the Rover was 5,000 pounds and the purchase price was 3,850 pounds. The final cost after restoration was 6,212 pounds. The final selling price was 11,500 pounds, for a profit of 5,288 pounds.
Impressively, the Rover’s engine was in good working order and didn’t require tuning or replacement.
The Rover received a power steering rebuild, new steering lock stops, a stainless steel exhaust system including manifolds, new carpets, and a new passenger seat backrest (adjusted so the head rest stays in position).
2 2011 Caterham 7
The Caterham 7 is a variation of the Lotus 7 although they do not have entirely interchangeable parts. Lotus7club.com claims the Caterham is an evolved and more modern variation of the Lotus Seven.
The budget for the Wheeler Dealers' Caterham project was 15,000 pounds while the purchase price was 16,500 pounds.
The final cost was 20,425 pounds and it reached a final selling price of 22,500 pounds. The profit from this deal was 2,075 pounds. A lightweight flywheel was fitted to lighten rotational mass and allow the vehicle to rev faster. The air filter was replaced with a performance version, the ECU was remapped, and racing seats were installed. In addition a full paint job from black to green was undertaken, while the running lights and mudguards were replaced.
1 1956 Citroën HY Van
The Citroën HY Van featured on all Season 12 episodes, according to WheelerDealers.com. The budget for the HY was 6,000 pounds, the purchase price was 4,500 pounds, and the final cost after restoration was 19,000 pounds. The final selling price was 23,000 pounds, for a profit of 4,000 plus pounds. The standard engine was swapped with a 2.1-liter Ford unit. The running lights were replaced with British-style LED traffic indicators. Bodywork included repairs, sanding, and a repaint in white. The standard transmission was replaced with a synchromesh unit and the van was fitted with an inverter charger and auxiliary ports, along with an additional 240V system. After the vehicle was converted to a more modern van, it was taken to a garlic farm in the Isle of Wight.