A new show on BLAZE® celebrates the art of restoring classic cars on a strict budget and timescale. Here are the episodes you can’t miss
Anyone who has restored, or even just tinkered with, a classic car will know that things rarely run smoothly. Not great when you’re the one with oil and an expensive repair bill on your hands, but there’s a certain vicarious thrill in watching other people face the pain – and pleasure – of turning rust into gold.
Say hello to Flipping Bangers on free-to-air channel BLAZE®, in which a pair of passionate petrolheads buy and restore down-at-heel classics with their own cash, then have to sell them for double the money in order to turn a modest profit.
And don’t think they’ve got all the time in the world to fettle their budding pride and joy with tender loving care. The second the car enters their workshop they’re up against it, as it is placed on an internet auction.
Let’s badger the bodgers
The secret to the show is the stripped-back reality and the genuine chemistry between designer, engineer and boat builder Will Trickett (the one with the mad sideburns), and respected car and travel photographer Gus Gregory.
“The hook is, it’s real,” says Gus. “There’s no background army doing the cars up. Will and I do the job properly, and there are definitely moments where you can spend a long time doing something before you know if it’s working.” As Will adds: “It’s very seat of the pants. When it goes wrong, it goes wrong – and we’re the ones who have to sort it out.”
The relationship between the pair can be likened to experienced expert and enthusiastic amateur. “Will is a trained engineer,” points out Gus. “So, I’m sure he rolls his eyes when I’m looking something up on the internet.” But both share a passion for turning maligned cars into something special. “The thing that drives us both is the determination to do the best job we can,” says Will.
Will and Gus lament how modern cars lack scope for tinkering. “The Audi A2 was the first car I remember with a plastic cover on the engine and holes for oil and water,” says Gus. “Today’s manufacturers don’t want you looking under the bonnet. There’s no gain in getting people into car maintenance.”
But Flipping Bangers isn’t only for experienced enthusiasts. “There’s always going to be a diehard audience,” says Will. “The key is bringing on youngsters or newbies – the sort of people who don’t realise their 1980s Ford Escort is a classic, and probably think it’s just a pile of junk. But old cars are still cool.”
After a successful first outing, Flipping Bangers is back for a second 10-episode run – starting this Friday 26 April at 9pm on BLAZE®. So, we asked Will and Gus to pick their must-watch moments from series two.
Episode 1 – MGB (26 April): Things start with a bang. Will and Gus spot a good-looking car, but soon notice problems that require a major rethink. “The classic tale of a classic car,” says Gus. “It looks like a bargain. Once you start poking round, it’s a world of pain. Apart from the engine and gearbox, everything was wrong with it.”
Episode 3 – Austin Maestro MG (10 May): Gus and Will want a classic British sports car, but settle for something more modest. The end results are something to see. “The Maestro was a much-maligned car by the motoring press and the public,” says Gus. “But I think they’re great cars, and this turned out to be something special.”
Episode 4 – Suzuki SJ (17 May): Will and Gus head off the beaten track with a budget 4x4. Off-road means ‘mud’, and a major clean of the Suzuki exposes a host of other issues, but the results live up to the ambition. “With the Suzuki, we managed to do exactly what we’d planned,” says Will. “And we had a great day off-roading in it.”
Episode 5 – Morris Minor (24th May): Like the MGB, Will and Gus face a world of welding woes and a race against the clock, budget and enthusiasm with this iconic classic. “Welding saps time, but it also saps you of energy,” says Gus. “It can be exhausting cutting and grinding.” The Morris may be a trial of love, but the results are worth seeing.
Episode 6 – Skoda Estelle (31 May): “I love Skodas,” says Will. “When I was young, everyone took the mickey out of them, but we managed to find a good example.” The build isn’t without its problems – thanks to some ‘Eastern Bloc’ fuel issues. But some innovative thinking on the exterior gives it a new lease of life.
Episode 8 – Volkswagen Beetle (14 June): As you’d expect with a motoring icon, good cheap examples are hard to find. Gus and Will find a project car at a budget-friendly £1000, but it hasn’t been well maintained. “The VW Beetle was difficult,” says Will. “We had one plan with great intentions, and then had to change it.” The question is, will they be forced to sell it as spare parts, or be able to pull off something spectacular?
Episode 10 – Saab 99 (28 June): The perfect car for the perfect finale – a classic bit of Scandi-car. “The Saab was very difficult to know what to do with, because it was at the end of its days,” says Gus. “But we genuinely gave that car a new lease of life.”
Episodes of Flipping Bangers air at 9pm every Friday on free-to-air channel BLAZE®, starting on 26 April. BLAZE® is available on Freeview 63, Freesat 162, Sky 565 and Virgin Media 216.
Find out more at www.blaze.tv