TV’s Wheeler Dealer Mike Brewer is used to rolling up his sleeves and bringing classic cars back to their best. However, for his latest project, which is to be revealed at the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show, he’s taking a different approach.
“I wanted to show people you can still buy a viable classic and, if you do your research, find a specialist to turn around a car” says Mike.
The car in question is a 1972 Citroen SM – a car from the height of Citroen’s most eccentric and turbulent period. “It’s a car that would send a lot of people running scared – they’re very complex, but I wanted to show that if you do your research you can find the right people to turn a car around” he adds.
The SM launched in 1970 and in ’72, the year Mike’s SM left the factory, it was voted Motor Trend’s Car of the Year. Citroen was in the midst of disastrous partnership with Maserati, a marriage that Mike says brought together two of the most eccentric, and most fragile manufacturers.
Despite that, the SM continued Citroen’s fine reputation of creating cars that were beautifully designed and intelligently engineered.
As TV’s Wheeler Dealer, Mike gets plenty of emails from people asking him to take on a car as his latest project and that’s how he found the SM. “I got an email from a guy about the car – it had been in the same family from new and had been used regularly, up until about 20 years ago,” notes Mike.
“One day it just stopped – the family didn’t really know the best way to sort it, so it was rolled into a garage and left.”
With less than 40,000 miles on the clock and an impressive history file behind it, Mike’s interest was piqued and he soon agreed a deal.
Mike then turned to the internet to look for the right specialist to bring the Citroen back to life. “I looked online, I read reviews and I asked for recommendations. It’s about doing your research” says Brewer.
Mike’s research led him to Paragon MoT and Service Centre in Northampton and their near neighbours Cosmetic Autocare. “I didn’t know either of the companies, but I did my research – I wanted to show that anyone could do it, not just a Wheeler Dealer!”
While Paragon have been charged with the mechanics, Cosmetic Autocare have been looking after the body. “It’s getting a full respray in the original Vert Agenta green so will look as good as it did 40 years ago.”
When it comes to restoration projects it’s easy to let the costs spiral, but again, Mike is keen to keep things grounded. “The budget’s not endless – I wanted this to be a realistic project. I reckon by the time I’m done the car would have cost me somewhere around £10-£12,000 and the result will be a car that I’ll use and enjoy and one that’ll be worth considerably more than that on the open market.”
Mike’s plan is to have the car ready for this year’s Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show at Birmingham’s NEC from the 11th to 13th November. “We want to have it on the stage at the show, so we’ve got just over a month to get it finished.”
For more information on the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show, the various ticket prices and booking details, visit www.necclassicmotorshow.com.