'World of Cars' host Mike Brewer on why he loves visiting the UAE: 'The car culture is phenomenal'

The TV presenter tells us of his motoring adventures in the Middle East, and about how he wants to return soon

Mike Brewer Bill Rhine Nascar Restore Garage

British television presenter Mike Brewer discovered his passion for motoring at a very young age and his father was as much a fan, having spent his life customising cars.

Brewer used to help his father after school, and he later went on to open a dealership. It was in 2003 that his life took a drastic turn, when a conversation with a TV producer led him to take up a role in front of the camera as the co-host of a television show called Deals on Wheels.

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Today, about 17 years and 16 seasons on, Brewer continues to present the hit show on Discovery. Brewer spoke to The National shortly before resuming production last month, while he was wrapping up two weeks of mandatory quarantine in Los Angeles. "Me and my wife have spent the last two weeks re-energising, charging our batteries and I've been very busy talking to people and doing some producing and working from home. I have very much enjoyed it to be honest with you."

Back in March, Brewer and his team were nine episodes into making the new season of the show, but filming came to a grinding halt due to the global pandemic. Although restrictions have eased, the on-set experience will be different, he says.

“We have minimised the amount of people on set at any one time. We have one cameraman, one sound recordist and one mechanic, which is [Anstead] Ant and then there is me.”

Brewer says the new season is, in his opinion, the best one yet. "From a BMW Z3 M Coupe, to a Triumph TR4 and a Mazda MX-5, we have got some amazing cars that you would not find normally get a highlight on television."

He says that over the years, audience feedback has helped shape the show. A large portion of those fans come from the Middle East, a region that Brewer is very familiar with.

"I have been going to Dubai for 25 years. The car culture there is phenomenal. It's very, very similar to California. You know the Dubaians and Bahrainis, they absolutely embrace car culture. They love it and they love their vehicles.

“I love Dubai and Abu Dhabi. I love the Middle East. When I’m there, and if I was to post up a picture of me, the audience will say ‘we want to meet, we want to meet’,” he says.

"I've actually arranged a car meet before at the Dubai Auto Zone. We expected something like, 60 people or 60 cars to turn up but we had nearly 2,000 people come from all over the place."

<span>I love Dubai and Abu Dhabi. I love the Middle East. When I'm there, and if I was to post up a picture of me, the audience will say 'we want to meet, we want to meet'</span>

Seven years ago, while in the UAE, Brewer put a 1967 Chevrolet Camaro on sale. The car was sold very quickly. "Of course, we sold the car in a heartbeat. In fact, the car is still there. And I've often seen some pictures of the car, still there in the Middle East, still looking exactly as it was the day I sold it, which is fantastic."

Brewer says he is keen to film in the region again, telling us about the show World of Cars, which will have him "venturing around the world, looking at the motoring landscape". He says season two "definitely includes the Middle East".

Brewer knows exactly what vehicle he will hire when he returns to the UAE: the Toyota Land Cruiser. On another trip, the TV host and a colleague visited Dubai's Dragon Mart. The two parked their Land Cruiser and meandered around the venue for a few hours. Brewer says when they were ready to leave, they could not find their vehicle because there were dozens of identical Land Cruisers in the car park.

"We went up and down the lines in the parking lot pressing the button on the remote until finally our car flashed its indicators. It took us an hour and 15 minutes to find it and we missed our dinner reservation, but it was quite funny."

Perhaps, with his experience of customising cars, the host should give his Land Cruiser some unique identifiers when he returns – it may annoy the rental company, however.

The show airs on Sundays at 21:50 KSA time on Discovery Channel.