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Can you turn a profit on a used sports car like the Wheeler Dealers

Wheeler Dealers is Velocity’s best show, but how can they claim a profit.

Let’s be clear, what follows has an element of subjectivity. Torque News' writers love the show Wheeler Dealers, but one thing really makes it hard to fully enjoy the show. Simply put, how can Mike Brewer claim a profit on a car that had a cost of $3040.00 and a sell price of $4250.00 given the massive amounts of time spent by Edd China turning the spanners?

TVR Episode
Last night’s episode was a classic example. Mike decided he wanted a TVR - S. A TVR is a sports car in the same style as a 2013 Mazda MX-5 Miata, but quite different in construction. Like the Miata, it is a two-seat convertible, has 170 HP, and does “Not to 60 in seven seconds.” Unlike the Miata the thing is built from scrap, bailing wire and shoe polish. The engine is a Ford transplanted, 2.9 litre 6 cylinder from the eighties. The brakes are from a SAAB, much of the remaining bits are scrounged from English car makers, which is not at all a good thing. Despite that, and despite it being a body-on-frame car, fans of the TVR are crazy about this “motor.”

Many Man Hours Labor
The one Mike settled on was “in good nick” and just needed a few things. Brake master cylinder, brake servi, ball joints, a new radiator, seat refurbishment, electric gremlin voodoo doctor care, electric window love, and a good going over in terms of detailing. The Tall Man, Edd, worked really hard to get the brakes sorted and had to fabricate some things to make the replacement parts fit. He spent a lot of time on the ball joints, and had to pull, send out, and then replace the radiator. In addition he spent time taking out and then replacing the seatrs including welding in some mounting hardware. Don’t forget pulling the door cards and completely lubing up the window structures. If you or I went to a local shop for that work it would cost more than a Gucci Shoe Tree.

Questionable Profits
Alas, in the show’s wrap-up we are treated to the “We made a profit of over a grand!” Because they never count the labor Edd puts in. Is Edd, Mikes slave? Does Mike have photos of the Tall Man engaged in some act of Auto-erotica so bad Edd works for free and smiles? The show is a big favorite here at Torque News. We scribes DVR it and then watch it with a frosty and enjoy every second. It’s just that profit thing.

Help us here. Are we too serious? Weigh in below in the comments area and let us know.


Albert (not verified)    May 31, 2012 - 7:09PM

I agree - it bugs me. No way can you consider a profit being made, given the days of labor Edd puts in.

The other aspect of the show that is moderately annoying are the staged buying and selling sections. They are just not realistic and a bit too "chummy" to be believable.

However, WD is still preferable to the gnome Wayne Carini on Chasing Classic Cars who also never seems to make a profit! He is immensely irritating and smug while losing money, at least Edd and Mike seem like good guys.

Robert Samu (not verified)    November 13, 2014 - 1:20PM

In reply to by Albert (not verified)

I must be watching a different version of chasing classic cars then Albert. I have seen him make huge profits on cars he sells. Most times he is buying and selling cars for clients which he receives a fee he also restores cars and sells privately from his high end dealership. If you are going to bash somebody at least know your facts

Birdman (not verified)    December 31, 2014 - 10:08AM

In reply to by Robert Samu (not verified)

Speaking of getting your facts right, the show discussed here is "Wheelers and Dealers," not "Chasing Classic Cars." There are no "Mike and Edd" on Wayne Carini's show. That should have been your tipoff.

Anonymous (not verified)    June 1, 2012 - 1:26PM

Shouldn't the headline be "Can you suffer a loss on a used sports car?" It's morons like these who loose money on renovating a classic that make smart buyers realize it is always cheaper to buy a refurbished sports car than to spend time restoring one.

Aaron Turpen    June 2, 2012 - 10:19PM

Personally, I've never actually seen this show. I've seen several similar shows off and on and they usually have the same issue. Personally, I prefer the pure charity shows like Overhaulin' with Chip Foose. Few people really restore classics or create hot rods for profit. Those that do seem to have a limited clientele that has plenty of cash to burn. Seeing it done for someone who appreciates it and might even be in need makes it much more involved. Just seeing some guy with a fat wallet paying someone to build something is boring to me.

phil (not verified)    June 12, 2012 - 10:56AM

Ha ha, it is all for fun, you guys are too serious, obviously they are saying if you can do what Edd does; "here's a top tip" ...then you too could turn a tidy profit. So, hold out your hand mate, you've got yourself a crackin motor.... which is more rare than hen's teeth.

Anonymous (not verified)    June 25, 2012 - 9:32PM

I enjoy the show and although I have given thought to Ed's "free labor", I concluded the idea to be more of a DIY enthusiast's program. Emphasizing the joy of getting classic cars back on the road with new, passionate owners, it becomes obvious that many talented mechanics could do the same even though it is often a labor of love.

Scott (not verified)    August 21, 2012 - 8:54PM

I am in the car repair business and flip cars for profit. I love the show for what it is, entertainment! If Ed and Mike had to pay their mortgage from their "profit" they would be homeless. Obviously they make their profit from the tv show. I have compared several of their car sales to what they should get and they really are selling their cars at wholesale prices. It's all in the fun of the show, I know the business so I just love seeing the process from start to finish. Great job! I'd love to do a show like that here in the great USA! Scott

Wayne Evans (not verified)    March 6, 2013 - 1:17AM

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

You have to remember "anything" on TV is entertainment, including most of the news. I love this show, it gives me courage to do repairs myself sometimes. Forget the profit thing. Edd is just working for his share there of. Who knows what the show really pays them to play with wrenches and cool cars.

Tom Bodensick (not verified)    February 22, 2015 - 4:18PM

To Mike and Edd...when it comes to haters...shake it off. The show is a WINNER, a lot of fun, and very informative. E. China may be the best mechanic in the world. I've seen him work on every type of vehicle ever made...and he never fails to get 'er done. If NASCAR has a better mechanic, I'd have to see him to believe him. I've watched him remake fiberglass from scratch. If there is a part that is broken and can't be replaced, I've seen Edd take scrap metal and make his own replacement part. He's a GOD of a mechanic. Mike's cool too, but it's Edd who makes the show. Hey, what did you do with Paul? I miss him. Tom

david perrin (not verified)    March 12, 2015 - 6:27PM

I like the show but the fact that they don't include labor costs makes the whole concept of profit, and hence the show, ridiculous. Labor is usually the greatest portion of the cost of repairs. I laughed when they did had the BMW M5 & included nothing. Having a 2003 BMW myself, I can tell u these cars are ridiculously expensive to fix, and not just because of parts. Labor is ludicrous as well, presumably because everything is packed in so tight and so much has to be removed to get to parts that need fixing, the labor (at $105 hr at my local shop) ends up adding $100s & sometimes $1000's to the repair. Case in point, replacing a PCV hose/valve on an American car is maybe $150 total. On a BMW, u have to remove the engine cover and intake manifold just to get to it, then have to have a special tool to fit it, min $1300 job, $300-400 of which are parts.
Assuming he is splitting the measly profits, Edd would be well advised just to do repairs for clients and charge for that, and he'd make 5-10x more.
Yes, I know, it's just a show but Mike would have to have photos of Edd with some combination of midget, goat and a Nazi uniform to do it in real life.
Oh and one more bothersome detail. When he goes out of the country to get a car, they include shipping, but never flight or car rental & gas, hotels, meals, etc.