A brand-new series of Car S.O.S. begins on National Geographic this evening with 10 new episodes. The show returns for its tenth season with presenters Tim Shaw and Fuzz Townshend once again restoring the beloved classic cars of 10 deserving owners.
The new season also includes a special anniversary show featuring the 100th car to be made-over on the series, which airs on Thursday 12th May 2022 and features an ambitious transformation of a classic petrol car to electric, a first for Car S.O.S. And whilst they couldn’t reveal what the car was, Fuzz did tell me that it was a real challenge for the team.
You can also expect to see some familiar celebrity faces on the show over the coming weeks. Some of the special guests include David Beckham, who pops up in the first episode and ex-England football legends Bryan Robson and Wes Brown, who are on hand for a very special Car S.O.S reveal at Old Trafford football stadium. Sir Paul McCartney also pops in, as does TV mechanic and motoring specialist Ed China and Emmerdale’s Natalie J. Robb.
The show continues to grow in popularity with car enthusiasts all around the world since its launch in 2013, largely thanks to its the two amiable presenters who I caught up with two weeks ago, to find out more about the cars that are featured in this latest series.
Background to Car S.O.S.
For those of you unfamiliar with Car S.O.S., Tim and Fuzz have restored some amazing cars over the last nine series, from an E-Type Jaguar and 1984 Audi Quattro in Series 3 to a stunning 1965 Mercedes-Benz 230SL Pagoda and Aston Martin DB6 in Series 5, which is probably my favourite car they have restored to date. There was the iconic Volvo P1800 Roger Moore drove in The Saint, which had Tim tracking down Sir Roger to ask him to sign the back of the restored driver’s seat in a classic episode. Then there was a heartfelt plea from James Nesbitt to restore a completely rotten old 1959 MG MGA and elaborate set up for the reveal so they can return the car to its owner in a London Mews on a make-believe film set.
Last season, Tim and Fuzz restored a unique and very rare MG Metro 6R4, which turned out to have once been driven by a Scottish rally champion. Tim then fell in love with a wonderful British classic from the 1960s – the Jensen Interceptor with its massive American Chrysler V8. Tim confessed that restoring this particular 1969 Jensen Interceptor persuaded him to actually go out and buy one, selling one of his beloved Mustangs in the process.
Series 10 – Episode 1 ‘1988 Fiat Uno Turbo’
The opening episode of the new series features the complete restoration of a classic pocket rocket from the 1980s, the little Fiat Uno Turbo, which was once the pride and joy of car fanatic Gerry who bought the car in 1989 and heavily modified it. However, he recently discovered that he was suffering from a rare form of blood cancer, and therefore unable to fix-up his car, which has sat outside slowly rotting away, like many Italian cars of that time did.
Following several months of chemotherapy which initially helped, it was then discovered that the cancer had spread to Gerry’s spine, and he has been told his condition is terminal. That’s when Gerry’s two friends Fergus and Kev got in touch with Car S.O.S. to see whether they might be able to lift his spirits by restoring his pride and joy to its former glory.
The car was in pretty poor condition with the poorly fitted body kit starting to peel off and the thin Italian steel underside badly rusted, so much so that when the car came back from the soda blasters, they discovered a lot of metal work reconstruction needed to be done in order to make the car roadworthy again.
The body kit had to be put back on, which not something they have done before on Car S.O.S., so bits that couldn’t be salvaged had to be fabricated. The little 1.3-litre turbo engine was also in a very sorry state, having clearly been thrashed and was therefore in need of a full rebuild and the turbo needed refurbishing. The car’s interior was dirty and tired but as it is very bespoke to its owner, it required a sympathetic and sensitive approach.
In episode 2, Tim and Fuzz bring a 1992 Saab 900 Turbo back to life which had only been driven all of a couple of hours before the engine packed in and has been left standing and rotting away ever since, as its owner could not bear to part with it.
Over the course of the remaining eight episodes, Tim and Fuzz go on to restore a classic Ford Escort RS2000 in episode 3, which can be seen at 8pm on 24th March on National Geographic. Episode 4 features one of my favourite cars – the Volkswagen Corrado. This particular 1992 16v model belongs to Ash, an electrician from Huddersfield. But after being diagnosed with testicular cancer and being close to death from sepsis, Ash was left too weak to be able to keep the car on the road and it has sadly been rotting away behind an industrial estate. Kristina his wife, knowing how much the car means to Ash, wrote to Tim and Fuzz to see if they could get the car back on the road and bring some much needed joy back into Ash’s life. You can see the Corrado’s transformation on 31st March.
Episode 5, which airs on 7th April, features a rather unusual vehicle, namely a Dennis Fire Engine. But Fuzz tells me that this is no ordinary fire engine, as this particular one is rather rare as it is fitted with a Jaguar 4.2-litre XK engine that is mated to a David Brown gearbox (similar to the ones you would get in an Aston Martin DB5), which was apparently quite normal for Dennis fire engines back in the 1960s and 70s. This particular fire engine belongs to a chap called James and a few other firefighters and had been his father’s ride when he was a fireman in the 1970s and James was hoping to do it up for his father but never got the chance too, and so some of the other firefighters approached Tim and Fuzz to do it up secretly for James. The restored fire engine will now be used to go around shows telling people about fire safety and as a show vehicle. Tim said it was a lovely reveal they did at the fire station with all the other guys there and their way of also saying thank you to the emergency services. It was however a real challenge for the Car S.O.S. team due the sheer size and scale of the restoration task and the fact that a lot of the parts are simply not available anymore. Fuzz tells me that they could not use their workshop and had to do it at a bus maintenance workshop down in Surrey, which in itself presented logistical problems with getting from their workshop in the Midlands, down to the workshop in Surrey.
A 1993 Mk4 Toyota Supra gets a makeover in episode 6, which airs on 14th April, while another classic car from the 80’s, a 1984 Opel Manta GT/E is returned to its former glory in episode 7, which airs on 21st April, which Tim informs me he painted himself. Then on 28th April, Tim and Fuzz tackle a Citroen Hy Van in what is perhaps one of the most moving episodes in the show’s history, as we follow the story of the Howe family who wanted to restore their 1963 Citroen HY Camionette into a milkshake and coffee van, but tragic circumstance meant that they never got the chance to do it. Taking place at Old Trafford Stadium, this is one of the biggest Car S.O.S. reveals that Tim and Fuzz have done, along with the help of ex-Manchester United football legends Wes Brown and Bryan Robson.
In episode 9, the Car S.O.S. team take on the restoration of rather sad looking 1994 Vauxhall Cavalier Turbo, which was a bit of a wolf in sheep’s clothing back in its day. There is also a very moving story behind the car, as the team also convert the car so that Darren, who was left tetraplegic after a horrific motorbike accident, is able to get into the passenger seat and experience his beloved car once again, something he ever thought would be possible.
Car S.O.S returns to National Geographic with a new Season 10 airing Thursdays at 8pm from 10th March.
Simon Burrell is Editor of Our Man Behind The Wheel, a member of The Guild of Motoring Writers, professional photographer and former saloon car racing driver.
Photographs courtesy of Car S.O.S. and National Geographic