Henric Nieminen, 48, who grew up in a Finnish family in the USA, happened to be in the right place at the right time when he became the corresponding producer of the popular car program Wheeler Dealers.

Henric was born in San Francisco to Finnish parents. His father is from Lahti on his father's side.

The Wheeler Dealers program, produced by Discovery Channel, has been made all or part of California since its 12th season and will be shown in 200 markets worldwide - including Finland, where TV5 and TV6 have shown all 15 seasons of the program.

- There was a coincidence in the Pestini Wheeler Dealer. I was among the first to know from my producer friend that the production of the show was being transferred from Great Britain to the United States, says Henric Nieminen.

Usually the jobseeker has to sell himself to the employer, but the Finnish man turned the situation on his head.

- In my first interview, the producers did not know what they were looking for. They just thought these two English guys would work on cars. The reality is much more complicated. I had been a regular viewer of the program for years. I told the producers what they should do. It wasn’t hard to sell them, Henric recalls.

The car man had the perfect background for the job. He practically grew up at his father’s auto repair shop in San Francisco, separating the bolts and nuts from each other and cleaning the spare parts. He had also completed his film studies at the college level. After getting a summer job in the film industry in Hollywood, the school bench was allowed to stay.

- I always had a passion for cars. I've owned in my life from 50 to 60 cars. I lean towards Mercedes-Benz, but I like all kinds of cars, like American classics like Oldsmobile. It was great to combine work and hobby, Henric sums up.

Henric Nieminen's most memorable car at Wheeler Dealers has been the Maserati Biturbo, now owned by his late father, who was redesigned in the program. Also pictured is presenter Mike Brewer (left).

Photo: Henric Nieminen's home album

Henric Nieminen started at Wheeler Dealers five years ago. The series was made 18 episodes a year. It was originally intended to describe only half of the United States. Host Mike Brewer and then chief mechanic Edd China moved to Orange County, California, for production.

Edd China left the show in 2017.

- I think he grew out of the program. He had been involved from the beginning and worked on a bunch of a hundred cars. There are a limited number of things that can be fixed in a car. Edd was an engineer down to his heart's blood and had a lively imagination. Not all of his thoughts could be realized on the show.

In California, the show takes advantage of local car enthusiast subcultures. These include low-riding and hopping groups, which are often surrounded by Latinos.

-Mike Brewer is like a crazy uncle who comes to a barbecue to joke, Nieminen describes the presenter of the program.

Photo: Henric Nieminen's home album

Wheeler Dealers has two main characters: Mike Brewer, who finds, buys and sells cars, and current mechanic Ant Anstead, who makes the necessary repairs to the vehicles.

- Mike Brewer is like a crazy uncle who comes to a barbecue party to tell and joke, Henric describes his colleague.

It may seem to an outsider that Brewer is buying cars in a sum of money.

- It's well calculated. There are cars that have stories behind them and have a place in history. Finding them and telling stories is what the show is all about.

The most memorable thing for the man himself is the car owned by his now deceased father.

- It was a 1985 Maserati Biturbo that my father had converted into an electric car. He drove the car daily until its batteries died. Their technology was not yet very advanced. My mom donated the car to our program where we renovated it.

Nieminen is a carpenter of spirit and blood.

Photo: Henric Nieminen's home album

Henric Nieminen helps to choose the cars in the program, is involved in deciding what repairs will be made to them and how the story of each drive will be told. He also oversees that production stays on schedule and on budget. Descriptions of the program were suspended early in the year due to the corona pandemic.

- We start shooting again when it is safe and we know how to implement it. Fortunately, only a small group of people are doing the program, a Finn sighs.

The car attendant is constantly tuned in for new programs.

- One is called Mike Brewer's World of Cars. It has not yet been shown on TV. We’ve been filming it at the same time as Wheeler Dealers. The program tells about car culture and the people who work with it, Nieminen reveals.

The Master Mechanic program is becoming its second production season.

- In the meantime, I am developing new concepts with my producer partner Jake Cardew. So a number of new car programs are expected, Henric rejoices.