We find out more about Quest’s new series Salvage Hunters: Classic Cars – from hosts Drew Pritchard and Paul Cowland…

Classics World: Why should people watch Salvage Hunters: Classic Cars?
Drew Pritchard: Honesty. We reckon we’ve made the most real classic car programme on the market, alongside Wayne Carini’s Chasing Classic Cars. It’s not a made up show done on a set in three days; it’s taken nearly a year because the cars have gone through a proper garage and they’ve been bought by us with our own money. We’re the only people doing that.

Classics World: What cars will you restore?
Paul Cowland: A 1968 Jaguar MkII, a 1968 Mini, a Lotus Elan +2, a 1973 Mercedes SLC, a Volkswagen Golf MkI and a Porsche 928. What’s unusual is that we work on two cars per episode – we take two cars from start to finish in each programme. That’s another thing which sets us apart.

Classics World: What roles do you both play in the programme?
Paul Cowland: Drew is design led; my background is in the motor trade. I try to bring the sensibility to his sensitivity. He’s looking at how pretty it can be, how ‘right’ the car can be, whereas I want to make it commercially viable and make money.

Classics World: So the buying and selling continues off screen?
Drew Pritchard: Oh yes. It’s like an addiction – I can’t help myself. People know me best for antiques, but the first thing I bought and sold was actually a car. I’ve been buying and selling cars ever since.

Classics World: What do you look for when buying a classic?
Drew Pritchard: They have to make me laugh, make me a few quid or make me want to keep them forever. Those are the three things I look for.

Classics World: Do you run any classics yourselves?
Drew Pritchard: Paul’s got 35 cars; I’ve got between 10 and 13 myself (depending on what you class as a ‘car’) along with a massive stash of parts.
Paul Cowland: I’m terrible at selling them once they’re in my collection. I have a very understanding wife.
Drew Pritchard: Paul has his own car business and I have my own classic car dealership, DP Classics in North Wales. I’ve owned over 200 classic vehicles – many of them air-cooled Volkswagens – in my time, raced a few, collected a few, restored a few, as has Paul. Really, we’re doing the programme for ourselves.

Classics World: We get the impression that Salvage Hunters: Classic Cars has been on the cards for a while.
Drew Pritchard: I’ve been trying to get it off the ground for eight years; it’s the programme that I’ve always wanted to do. Salvage Hunters is a success because we don’t make any of it up – and this mind-set has carried over to Salvage Hunters: Classic Cars. When the cameras turn off, 25 mechanics don’t suddenly appear and turn the car around in three days. Some of the restorations took a while.
Paul Cowland: It’s unlike Turbo Pickers in that sense. Everything was put together specially for that programme. It was a great show, but we’re not planning on making any more episodes for the time being.
Salvage Hunters: Classic Cars uses Landspeed in Nottingham for the majority of the work; Drew then goes out and finds some real artisans to finesse the details. Landspeed is a real specialist and repair garage – once the cameras stop they’re open for business; you can take your car there.

Classics World: So would fans of Salvage Hunters feel at home?
Drew Pritchard: Definitely. You’re in the garage with us as we buy and restore these cars. Anyone familiar with Salvage Hunters will be familiar with the format. We really wanted to get across the reality of what can happen when you buy and sell classic cars. Some of the problems we ran into appear in the episodes. Not all of it was plain sailing!

Classics World: What kind of restorations can we expect?
Drew Pritchard: A mixture. Some of our builds are faithful nut and bolt affairs; other cars get tweaks to improve them visually. We’re not taking gearboxes apart or anything – what we’re doing is taking good cars that have fallen on hard times. We recognise their potential and put them back together properly.

Classics World: It sounds like the programme has plenty to offer.
Drew Pritchard: It does. We’ve put a lot into it – and it’s our money and reputations on the line.

Salvage Hunters: Classic Cars airs today at 9pm Wednesday, January 17, on Quest