LOS ANGELES – For Ant Anstead, things couldn’t be going any better.
Two years after moving to the United States to co-star in the popular car-restoration series “Wheeler Dealers,” the self-proclaimed “petrolhead” met wife, Christina, welcomed son Hudson London with the HGTV standout, and is currently hosting his new series, “Ant Anstead Master Mechanic.”
The show follows the British gearhead as he embarks on an all-but-impossible feat of building his dream car from the ground up – a legendary 1930s Alfa Romeo 158 Grand Prix race car – in just 12 weeks.
The car builder recently sat down with Fox News to discuss his newest series, airing exclusively on the Motortrend app, as well as all of the organized chaos that consumes his life, which comes complete with a slate of TV programming bearing his name, and his blended family with Christina.
For Anstead, that includes, son Archie, 13, and daughter Amelie Rose, 16, with his ex-wife Louise, while Christina shares children — son Brayden James, 4, and daughter Taylor Reese, 9 — with ex-husband and “Flip or Flop” co-star Tarek El Moussa. In order to keep up with so many moving parts, Anstead said it certainly helps when the parents and children are all on the same page.
Ant Anstead Master Mechanic
Fox News: How do you deal with the challenges of having a blended family with so many moving parts?
Anstead: I think it’s important to note that, you know, we live in a time where everything’s changed. The idea of blended families is now not foreign to anybody, it’s actually quite commonplace. And I think that we’re incredibly lucky because all of our children and all the adults have actually fallen into the right sort of mindset to make it work.
And that, I think, is the key. The fact is that you have to have the mindset that puts the children first. And if you ever come up with a decision that doesn’t put the children first, it’s the wrong decision. So I think it’s really important that the parents – the four of us, we all make the children our priority. And then the children just need the space to be creative in the space to feel loved and the space to be educated, because at the end of the day, they’re just being sponges.
And if we put them in a negative environment, they’ll absorb negative influences. And that’s not anything I want to create. And then certainly not Christina or Tarek or Louise. So between the four of us, I think, we’re actually doing a really, really good job. The children are… I’m incredibly proud of all of them. They’ve really taken to it really well. And, you know, I’ve enjoyed the blending of our families. It’s been really special.
Fox News: There is no manual, you just have to do it.
Anstead: Right, yeah. It’s really funny because when you have a new child and it’s not your first child, it straightaway took me back to that moment because I was a really young father. And you kind of… you go to hospital, you have your baby and then there’s that moment where all of that hospital bit’s over and you’re left with a human and you walk out of the hospital and you kind of look at this life and go, ‘Wow, I’m left with a child now. This is a human being and I’m responsible.’
And nobody gives you a manual. Nobody tells you what to do, the ABCs – but I guess within us it becomes instinctive. You kind of know your place in the world as a parent. And the minute you become a parent, is the minute you understand that. And for me now, you know, my oldest is 16 now. So for me now, 16 years later, it felt like it just came flooding back. I all of sudden knew what it took to look after a child again.
Fox News: How do you and your wife Christina handle disagreements?
Anstead: There’s this whole kind of fiction and image that marriage is perfect. And we both know marriage isn’t perfect. And there’s always going to be times where, you know, you fall out or you disagree with something. But, you know, Christina and I are incredibly lucky because we both come from the same place. We actually both want the same thing. It’s funny because we’ve kind of found this kind of synergy and balance between us where everything works. So I have to say, it’s very, very rare that we ever disagree or fall out about anything. And if we do, we can’t seem to get over it really quickly. It feels like we have a very open communication between us. We have honesty. We talk to each other an awful lot.
It’s funny because we often go to bed or get ready for bed in the evenings and, you know, an hour or even two hours is lost just chatting – normally about nonsense. But, you know, I just love talking to her. She’s just such a… She’s my person.
Fox News: Are there ever times when you have to tell Christina to slow down a little bit because she recently had a baby?
Anstead: Yeah, she – I mean, Christina is a very, very energetic, driven person and having a baby is tough. You know, I don’t think pregnant women or new mothers get enough credit for what it takes to physically create a child. And, I’ve been there. I’ve been there before. Christina has been there before. And you kind of just… the mind has this mechanism that plays tricks on you. It tells you how to get rid of pain, how to get rid of bad memories. And it tells you that actually childbirth is OK. But when you’re living it at the time, it really is… it’s such a huge impact on your body and on your family and on your mind that, you know, I just gotta hold my hands up and say, ‘Women, I don’t know how you do it,’ because this thing is admirable.
Fox News: How would you describe Hudson London’s personality? He seems like such a lively and energetic baby.
Anstead: He’s a cutie isn’t he? You know, the best way I can describe it – on the day of his birth, you know, what happens in a practical sense is that the baby is delivered and the nurse is checking at the table and I ran over and I looked him in the eyes. And it was that, you know, it’s monumental. It’s a life-changing moment for any father out there.
Ant Anstead Master Mechanic
And then, Hudson was then taken and given to Christina quite quickly and the first words… I’ve got chills – the first words that came out of her mouth was, ‘I love his vibe.’ And that’s the thing. You know, the way people vibe is really important. And, you know, you get it. You’re in a roomful of strangers and somebody walks in that you’ve never met before, but they just have this vibration around them — they have something where you just go, they’ve got it. I don’t know what it is, but they’ve just got it. And yeah. Hudson, he’s just got it. He’s our people.
Fox News: How much of Christina will fans see in the show? I imagine you’ve gained some of her fan following and vice versa.
Anstead: There’s a cheeky little bit of behind-the-scenes in the show, which I think is really lovely.
Yeah, it’s strange. Normally you have a big production and you have a crew and you set up a camera and sound. And you’re kind of… you’re well-prepared the day before shooting. But with this show, it’s genuinely — this is my personal build. I was doing the build anyway and when, you know, Motortrend said to me, ‘Look, we’ve got this little 12-week window off, do you fancy doing a TV show?’ I said, ‘Well, why don’t you just follow this show?’ So we have a very small, intimate crew. You know, I let the crew have access to my private life and that includes Christina as well. So she’s along with me with the build. She comes to the workshop; she checks the progress. So, yeah, it’s a really nice, kind of humble fly-on-the-wall insight into what it would genuinely be like to set about and build a car from scratch.
Fox News: Have you and Christina discussed building her dream car?
Anstead: Actually, it’s quite funny because in this show, the first time she came to the workshop to see the progress, I had actually forgotten to tell her that the car I was building only has one seat. So when she came and saw the car and very quickly worked it out. Yeah, the reaction in the show is quite funny, but it actually caused a discussion later on at home that evening because of course she said, ‘I can’t believe it. You never told me you were building a single-seater.’ And actually, this were completely led by Christina. Christina then start talking about what car would be next. And bear in mind, we have five children between us. So at the very, very least, we would need a seven-seater. That’s a big car. So my mind’s already ticking. What does a seven-seater scratch-build car look like? That’s the second series though, I think.
Fox News: Are any of your kids into cars like you were?
Anstead: Quite funny, actually, Brayden – oh yeah. Brayden’s a big petrolhead – big petrolhead. You know, he regularly tells me about his dreams of race cars. And now, I’ve got cars in the garage at home and he’s constantly walking into the garage and sort of climbing into one of my race cars or climbing into the Mustang. And he loves the sound of the engine and loves the sound of the horn. Yeah, he’s got it. Unfortunately, he’s been bitten by the bug for which there is no cure. So I’m sorry, but Brayden, when he’s old enough to have a car, he’s gonna be banging on the door.
Fox News: What was Christina’s first reaction when she saw your car collection?
Anstead: You know what, Christina is actually a car person? She loves a good car. You can tell that she engages me and my passion. I mean, at times she probably bears with me because I’m a complete car nut. But yeah, it’s nice to spend my life with somebody who loves what I love.
Fox News: If you and Christina were to go on a road trip across America and you could only do it in one car – what’s the car?
Anstead: Okay. Well, I would have to bring a European element to the road trip. Yeah, in the early sort of 1920s, 1930s, Bentley created a kind of an open-wheeled racer called a Bentley Blower. And that is raw driving at its very, very best. Unfortunately, Christina would have to put up with the lack of creature comforts; there’s no air conditioning, there’s no airbags, there’s no comfortable seats. But that car would be epic for an American road trip.
In fact, you know what I should do is, I should build a Bentley Blower with seven seats. (Laughs) Sorry, Motortrend. I’m gonna be banging on your door.
“Ant Anstead Master Mechanic” is currently available to stream on the Motortrend app.