A lot of work goes into the cars that find their way to the Wheeler Dealers workshop, and after all the effort it’s only right that the project ends with a proper test drive.
Early test drives were a simple affair, with just Mike behind the wheel, but as the show progressed things got a bit more ambitious. Here are some favourites from the last twenty years:
1972 Lamborghini Urraco – Series 10, Episode 7
Where do you take a brilliant supercar like this when you want to enjoy a very special test drive? To Italy, of course, and more importantly to take part in the marque’s 50th anniversary celebrations. It was a spectacular end to the project, and one that saw Edd get behind the wheel to enjoy everything the car could do in the company of other great Lambos. And what a way for the ace mechanic to celebrate his birthday!
1967 Ford Mustang – Series 9, Episode 14
Mike really enjoyed this one, and why wouldn’t he when he was driving one of the coolest muscle cars on the planet. It looked superb repainted in the famous Highland Green and there was no better way to put it through its paces than with a car chase. Heading to Salisbury Plain, the test drive saw Edd pursuing the Mustang with a Ford Crown Victoria police car. It’s easy to see why they both had so much fun.
1967 Amphicar – Series 11, Episode 7
Restoring this quirky classic had involved a huge amount of work, and there was only one place to give it a proper test – yep, the river. In this case the Thames where Mike and Edd could make sure it stayed afloat! It certainly managed that, although a gearbox issue saw their fun come to an early end although at least there was no need to use their lifejackets. No wonder Mike names this as one of his funniest tests ever.
1964 Triumph TR4 – Series 16, Episode 11
Ant had done a cracking job of restoring this desirable British classic, one that had been off the road for many years. It also happened to be one of his favourite cars, so the finished project deserved a proper test drive which is why the duo headed onto twisty mountain roads to see how well it performed. It’s no surprise that his work had really paid off, and the stylish TR drove beautifully. – Series 14, Episode 16
The Los Angeles River is famous for its use in films, including the 2003 remake of The Italian Job, so where else would you take the superb MINI? It was a great backdrop to see whether Ant’s work on the engine and suspension had returned this hot little hatch back to its best, and of course it had. It handled brilliantly and the punchy performance ensured they could really enjoy the cool setting.
1989 Fiat Panda 4×4 – Series 12, Episode 11
The little Panda was already a very capable off-roader, but Mike and Edd had decided to take things a bit further. Not least on the outside where it got a very distinctive paint-job, along with a cabin that was ready for the toughest challenges. The test drive saw it tackle mud and steep hills, managing both without breaking a sweat, but driving through water gave Mike plenty of laughs and slightly damp feet…
1973 Saab 96 – Series 14, Episode 4
This stylish Swedish classic was in need of some TLC, and it soon got plenty of that thanks to Ant’s hard work. From the way it drove to the way it looked, the finished project was nothing short of superb but after all those hours in the workshop there was still one more challenge – to see what Saab enthusiasts thought. A trip to an owners’ meeting was a tough test, but one it passed with flying colours.
1970 Volkswagen Type 3 Fastback – Series 15, Episode 11
This air-cooled classic was, well, very cool and it was even better once Ant had worked his magic inside and out. He was a bit worried about the test drive, though, because Mike was keen to take it to the beach. On the beach, in fact. It was a great setting and it’s easy to see why they both had so much fun in the sea and sand. At least Mike had promised to give the Vee-Dub a proper clean once they’d finished.
1969 Lotus Europa – Series 17, Episode 9
The Europa is a brilliant British sports car, and after all the work that ‘Elvis’ had put into it the test drive deserved to be something special. Why is why the duo headed off to the Shelsley Walsh hillclimb. It’s claimed to be the oldest motorsport venue in the world and still uses the original course, and it’s the perfect place to experience the performance and handling of a classic Lotus. Now this is what you call having fun behind the wheel!
1997 Fiat Coupe 20v Turbo – Series 17, Episode 3
This Italian coupe is a proper modern classic, and not only does it look great but even in standard form there’s no shortage of straight-line performance. ‘Elvis’ wanted to take things a bit further, though, boosting power from the original 220hp to almost 320hp thanks to an ECU re-map and water injection. How do you test the new-found power and performance? In a drag race against a Ferrari, of course. We reckon you should watch the episode to see how it did.
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