Any day that gives me the news that classic cars will feature on tv other than just in the background of an old film is always a bonus day.
Today is such a day, Classic Car Rescue it has been announced, will be a new classic car programme on Channel 5 and will be presented by Bernie Fineman and Mario Pacione and brought to our screens by Blink Films. Apart from having a cool logo, Blink Films are an award winning London based production company who have a string of successes to their name, including the documentary ‘Who Killed The Honey Bee?’ along with the successful comedy series, ‘Life’s Too Short’ and, if you remember it, or are brave enough to admit to seeing it, the near-cult classic – ‘Strange Love: My Car Is My Lover’ (go figure).
A little snooping around after the show’s hosts tells me that Bernie Fineman is Consultant Technical at Steiner Automotive, while I believe Mario Pacione is the Principal at HP Performance Car Centre.
Classic Car Rescue promises a lot. Not just limited to the UK, Bernie Fineman and Mario Pacione will search from the wilds of Canada through the whatever of USA as well as rainy old Britain for classics that have seen better days and deserve to see better days ahead.
As an added incentive, Andrew O’Connell, Channel 5’s head of Factual, News & Current Affairs, says that one lucky viewer each week will have the joy of being able to win a car featured in each episode. Hopefully after the car’s been restored.
We’ve had classic car restoration shows before of course, such as the well received Beetle and Campervan Crisis shows from a few years back that still air on day-time tv. So will this show be any different to what’s gone before?
What this programme promises to bring to the genre that no other has so far managed in my opinion, is a seemingly bigger budget that will enthral us with cgi technology that treats us to views of each vehicle’s suspension and other internal workings. Some of which will no doubt prove to be fascinating watching.
Initially, there will be just 6 episodes each lasting an hour, and each episode will also take a serious, more in depth look at the history behind each vehicle, focusing on the new methods of manufacturing that had developed for the time as well as looking at how the car in question may have influenced it’s country of manufacture’s economy.
The beauty of a classic car is all about the romance and the shape. The car can encapsulate a moment in time, like the Mini Cooper and the swinging sixties or the Cadillac and the American dream. This programme promises to deliver on that front too. It’s irrelevant to talk about a classic car’s performance and efficiency compared to modern vehicles, and perhaps adding a flavour of the time when each featured car was king-of-the-road will help fuel an understanding of the achievements of the varying ideas and designs that make up each – very different – featured car.
If I think about the way design has moved forwards since the fifties, I’d have to say that for me, one of the most intrusive new technologies that has influenced design and shape the most, is arguably the wind tunnel and the desire for each manufacturer to create a more aerodynamic car than their nearest competitor. The result? All mid-range cars more or less look the same to the untrained eye; yes, the smoke blown past such a shape will prove it’s worth, but aesthetically I think we’ve lost something in the process.
Classic Car Rescue fortunately will not have to work out whether they have found a rusting carcass of a nineties Micra or a Clio though (difficult), as the cars to be featured in the first 6 episodes are as follows:
- The legendary style icon – Jaguar E-Type
- The revolutionary – Mini Cooper
- The standard of the world – Cadillac
- The original rebel muscle car – Ford Mustang
- The greatest ever sports car – Porsche 911
- The bestselling sports cars of the swinging sixties – MGB Roadster
Now doesn’t that whet your appetite? Something for everyone surely, and I especially can’t wait to see the Mustang get it’s make over.
So what will be the goal of each restoration? Channel 5 suggest that it will be a nail biter. Just as Beetle Crisis had a couple of guys aiming to complete their restoration for a particular show, each episode of Classic Car Rescue will give the restorers a certain amount of time to complete a faithful restoration. Dan Chambers, the show’s Executive Producer says “..this is a truly turbo-charged car show like no other..”
I hope the show lives up to the hype and promise. While I’ve nothing against watching grease covered mechanics swooning over recently dipped shells that reveal no filler, (in fact, I quite enjoy it), I just have a gut-feeling Classic Car Rescue might potentially offer a little more.
Rumour has it that the shows are due to air in September, and I for one can’t wait.
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