Heart-warming classic car television show Car S.O.S will be back on our screens for its eighth season on March 12, featuring some of the biggest restoration challenges yet. It will see Tim Shaw and Fuzz Townshend renew their mission to seek out damaged classic cars with deserving owners, before sneaking the cars away and painstakingly resurrecting them.
The cars this season span across eight decades, and will include a 1964 Porsche 356, a 1961 Austin-Healey 3000 and a 1973 Hillman Imp. They’ve all been put back on the road, but it’s not all been plain sailing. We caught up with Tim and Fuzz to find out their thoughts on the new series.
You’re up to Series 8 now, did you ever think the show would be such a big hit?
Fuzz: Hell no. We did the first series and waited to see how it would do, then suddenly we got the call saying they wanted to make another series. Two series, we thought we’d done pretty well…
Tim: I’m remember having a conversation where we said if we made three, we’d be really happy with that. We’ve made eight now and it something we’ve both become so fond of. We’re both aware of how lucky we are and just hope it continues.
What can fans look forward to in this upcoming series?
Fuzz: We’ve taken on some massive restorations. We did a Porsche 356 that quite honestly should never have been restored. But we have a great team in the workshop, so we can take on these big projects and win. We’ve also done the oldest car we’ve ever done, an Austin 7 Chummy, which was Tim’s real initiation into vintage car driving. He’s now a vintage car convert.
Which was the background story that really grabbed you the most?
Tim: The Austin-Healey we did. It was the classic story of someone buying a car to do up as a lifelong ambition and taking it to a classic car garage. If you watch the episode, it’s a prime example of how easy it is to get stung. If you’re going to buy a classic car, take an expert with you.
Fuzz: Basically, he paid all his savings into having the car done, but it didn’t get done and various parts went missing. He then fell ill, so he was never going to get it back onto to the road again. When we came to do it, we had to undo some terrible work. With most cars we do, we generally have to backtrack and get to a datum point from which we can start again.
What’s been the biggest restoration hurdle you faced?
Fuzz: There have been cars that have been budget busters this series, but I think the most troublesome cars continue to be ’80s and ’90s cars, for all the plastic parts and electronics.
Tim: We struggle with those cars because we do all the usual restoration work and get to within a deadline of giving the car back, then all of a sudden it throws up an airbag light or something else, and then you find out its connected to the door switch and the problem is one of 30 wires running through the loom. Modern classics can be harder than classic classics really.
What was your standout restoration?
Fuzz: I think the Hillman Imp we did for a retired nurse was great. I had one previously and did at as a project. I liked doing it and I was glad to get an Imp through the door.
Tim: The Porsche. When I took on Car SOS there were cars on my bucket list that I wished we’d get applications to restore, but I never thought we’d get a lovely story to go with a 356. It’s one of my all-time favourite cars, and for me, aesthetically-speaking, it’s probably number one.
Was it worse than the patchwork Mercedes-Benz Pagoda from season five?
Tim: It probably was. I can’t think of another way, emotionally or financially, that it would be viable to get this car done, because it was just so bad. There were times when Fuzz and I were stripping this car to pieces that it was so depressing and so sad, we just had to find it funny for our own sanity!
Car S.O.S airs on National Geographic at 8pm on Thursday March 12.