Who is Edd China?
Born in May 1971, Edward John “Edd” China is an English mechanic, motor specialist, TV presenter, and inventor, best known for his work on Discovery Channel’s “Wheeler Dealers”. Before becoming a TV star, Edd nurtured his interest in cars and mechanics, and studied at King Edward’s School in Surrey. Later on, he graduated with an engineering product design degree from London South Bank University.
While a university student, Edd created his first major project of note, a driving sofa dubbed the Casual Lofa, the aim of which was to raise funds for a Raleigh International expedition to Belize.
TV Career: Part One
Edd’s TV career dates back to 1994, when the future celebrity landed a job as a special effects technician for the series “Father Ted”. Four years later, he made a guest appearance in “Top Gear”, and drove the Casual Lofa at Silverstone’s Live Arena.
It was a good year for the creator, as the Casual Lofa was also featured on “The Most Outrageous Jeremy Clarkson Video In The World… Ever!”, racing at the Thruxton Circuit, and in the late ‘90s, Edd also made three appearances on “The Big Breakfast” and drove the Casual Lofa, Street Sleeper, and Bog Standard.
Now gaining recognition and a small but loyal fanbase, Edd made a guest appearance as a judge in an episode of “Scrapheap Challenge” featuring sofa cars and driving beds. He also made a cameo in an episode of “This Is Your Life”, and drove the presenter, Michael Aspel, around in the Casual Lofa before delivering him to the TV studios.
1999 saw Edd hold a role as a resident designer on “Panic Mechanics”, a BBC car series, and make a guest appearance in Top Gear’s “Build a Bond Car On A Budget”. The public was particularly impressed by his modified Rover 800, which was purchased for the low price of £200, and customized for just £100 more.
2003 marked the beginning of an era for the automotive enthusiast, as he and the TV presenter Mike Brewer, were hired by Discovery Channel to create “Wheeler Dealers”. The series became Edd and Mike’s most famous, and lengthiest work to date, running for 13 seasons until 2017, when in March that year, Edd left his YouTube subscribers flabbergasted upon announcing that he’d be leaving the show, due to disagreements over its direction. Bizarrely, his departure led to Mike’s family receiving online abuse, and even death threats.
Despite having plenty on his plate already, in 2005 Edd began presenting Discovery Channel’s “Classic Car Club”, alongside Tony Mason, Alex Riley and Penny Mallory. The miniseries studied the history and culture of classic vehicles, and received plenty of positive feedback from car experts and casual fans alike.
“Wheeler Dealers”, which aired on Motor Trend in the US, was created and produced by the life-long car enthusiasts Daniel Allum and Michael Wood. The show’s premise saw Edd and Mike salvage old but repairable enthusiast’s vehicles on a budget, before selling them to a new owner after renovating, and is considered the blueprint to many similar shows out today.
The fifth season, which was renamed “Wheeler Dealers On The Road”, saw Mike and Edd travel Europe in search of classic cars to buy and restore. Branching out into a wider market in the second part of season eight, Mike began touring the US, and in season 12, he and Edd set up a workshop in Huntington Beach, California. Although some viewers were surprised by the move, it allowed Edd and Mike to make more episodes, and restore and sell the vehicles on the spot instead of shipping them back to the UK.
April 2013 saw the premiere of the first spin-off series, “Wheeler Dealers Trading Up”.
This time, Mike’s job was to travel the world buying and selling – but not repairing or modifying – used cars in different countries with a set budget. Edd, being the show’s mechanic, wasn’t involved in the spin-off.
In 2017, Edd’s spot was taken over by Ant Anstead, who lasted three seasons before being replaced by the former Formula One Mechanic, Marc ‘Elvis’ Priestley. Marc was involved in “Wheeler Dealers: Dream Car”, the second spin-off series which premiered in January 2020. His job was to add value to clients’ cars, and help them trade-up to get their dream vehicle. For season 17, the show went back to filming in the UK, mainly in an effort to cut back on costs.
Understandably, the show’s budget and format have seen several changes over the years. For example, the first season had a low budget of just £1,000 for each car repair, which skyrocketed to £20,000 for season 11 thanks to high viewing figures.
Diehard fans will also remember that from seasons one to six, each project was presented in two 30-minute episodes, as opposed to the one 60-minute episode that viewers see today.
The target audience of “Wheeler Dealers” is a well-equipped car enthusiast, capable of doing all the on-screen work himself, meaning that the costs, profit and losses of each project are calculated without adding on the mechanic’s fees – unless a repair requires additional professional help such as windscreen replacements.
Each project assesses the vehicle’s service history, accessories, interiors, and bodywork defects such as dents or rust, while any vehicle that has been inactive for a long time, or purchased outside the UK, is restored and modified to pass the obligatory MOT test.
As is the case with similar shows, “Wheeler Dealers” is no stranger to on-screen advertising. In return for favorable prices or free parts and equipment, specialist repairers, upholsterers and other small companies get plenty of exposure in each episode.
Since 2003, Mike’s role in the show has been constant: in each episode, he starts off with a budget to buy and repair a vehicle, and gives viewers a brief history of the model he’s chosen. Then, he test drives, negotiates for, and buys the vehicle, almost always sealing the deal with a handshake and a catchphrase. Then, Mike and the mechanic assess what repair work needs to be done, and review the expenses.
In the second part of each project, Mike will purchase any required parts, and interview the owner of a similar vehicle in good condition. Once the mechanic finishes work on the project vehicle, the final expenses are calculated, and from season five, Edd and Mike would test drive the finished car together, and discuss its resale value before the latter sold it on to a new owner.
It’s interesting to note that after leaving “Wheeler Dealers”, Edd insinuated that some of the on-screen sales weren’t genuine, and that he was the owner of both Cadillacs that featured in the show.
He also clarified that his disagreements with Velocity were what led to him leaving, as the channel wanted to cut down on the workshop aspect of the show in order to save time and money. “This new direction is not something I am comfortable with, as I feel the corners I was being asked to cut compromised the quality of my work,” Edd stated at the time.
Disgruntled fans didn’t warm to Ant, Edd’s replacement, and claimed that his presence made for a “different show”. After three seasons, Ant announced on Instagram that his time on “Wheeler Dealers” had come to an end, due to the show returning to its British roots. “I remain home in California to embark on THREE new TV shows,” he wrote. “Thank you for the years of support and banter. I am incredibly proud of what we achieved!”
Edd’s New Projects
Despite most of Edd’s fans being “Wheeler Dealers” viewers, the charismatic presenter has tried his hand at a number of business ventures, such as his MOT and servicing garage Grease Junkie, and his company, Cummfy Banana Limited.
Having adapted to the times, Edd is currently focused on his YouTube channels, having been a member of the video platform since 2011, but posting sporadically over the years. After taking the internet by storm in 2017 with his four-minute video – “Edd China on leaving Wheeler Dealers” – which has been seen over 11 million times to date, the inventor began uploading content more regularly, and hasn’t looked back.
Some of Edd’s most popular videos are the “AskEdd” series, in which he answers frequently asked questions, and gives followers insight into his projects, and the “Edducated” series, in which he teaches viewers how to do simple car services. His latest series, “Edd China’s Workshop Diaries”, premiered on his channel in April 2021, and became an instant success, allowing the public a welcome glimpse into his personal workspace.
From repairing army tanks to racing a Range Rover against a Tesla, there’s never a boring moment on Edd’s channel.
Just getting ready for this evening’s episode. Are you ready?
In 2018, he created a new channel entitled “Edd China’s Garage Revival”, and uploaded a ninety-second promo video which was seen almost half a million times. The pilot episode was uploaded on 1st May of the same year, and showed Edd traveling to Norway to restore a Golf MK1 GTI, and racked up millions of views in mere days, with one YouTube user commenting: “This is just what I needed… It’s like wheeler dealers without all the bullshit. Just Edd sorting a car out with some traveling. Really hope it takes off. You deserve it Edd!”. Unfortunately, the series wasn’t picked up by any networks, which meant that Edd was unable to continue filming.
Never one to be deterred by the occasional setback, Edd has continued to provide fans hours of content with his workshop diaries. Most recently, in late April 2022, he announced his imminent humanitarian aid mission to Ukraine with Paul Brackley, volunteering for Yorkshire Aid to deliver food and medical supplies.
Born in August 1964 in London, Mike worked as a car trader before becoming the well-known presenter he is today. His father, Roger Wilks, had links to the vehicle customizing sector, and helped foster Mike’s love for motoring, whereas his mother Doreen was a housewife. Mike doesn’t share much of his personal life on-screen, so we don’t know if he has any siblings.
The Londoner’s TV debut came in 1997, with a four-year stint in “Deals on Wheels”. Other shows he worked on before “Wheeler Dealers” include “Pulling Power” and “Driven”, which aired on ITV and Channel 4 respectively, and helped turn him into a household name.
One of Mike’s many career highlights is winning the Midland Centre award for “Best in Vision Personality” at the 2004 Royal Television Society awards ceremony. With that said, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for the affable car trader, as he was villainized by fans and even blamed for Edd’s departure from “Wheeler Dealers” in 2017.
“I respect his decision, but obviously he’s been a part of life and has been forever so it’s a bit of a shock,” Mike explained. Of his new co-host at the time, Ant, he said: “He’s a very accomplished car builder and a good friend of mine, and we have a great working relationship already.”
Between filming, Mike finds the time to squeeze in other professional engagements, such as covering the annual British Rally Championship on Sky Sports. Previously, he also presented “Frontline Battle Machines”, in which he went to Afghanistan, and showed viewers how the troops used their motorized equipment. In a particularly dramatic moment, the pilot of his helicopter suffered a head injury from enemy fire, and was forced to land due to a damaged hydraulic line.
The presenter remains an active name in the car industry, as in 2012 he opened his dealership, Mike Brewer Motors, and later launched the only annual awards for used car dealers in the UK. Despite his busy schedule, he oversees the majority of operations at his dealerships in Sheffield and Luton, and is currently residing in Warwickshire with his wife and daughter.
It’s unclear if Mike and Edd maintain a good relationship to this day, but fans hoping for an on-screen reunion will be left disappointed, as the opiniated mechanic clearly has no intentions of returning to “Wheeler Dealers”.