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Engines and Unfinished Business

‘‘ Being able to make our first journey as a married couple, in the vehicle we built together, was the perfect celebration. ’’

By Matt and SophieOctober 25, 2017

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Hi! Can you briefly describe your channel to new viewers?

We’re Sophie and Matt, a married couple who make videos of us restoring cars, drinking tea, and making silly jokes. It’s very light hearted, unscripted, and not at all suitable for children.

What is your professional background? What inspired you to start a Youtube channel?

Matt: I’m a computer programmer, and the founder of BugMuncher, a website feedback startup.

Sophie: I work in a pottery studio, and also like to dabble in photography, which is the closest thing we have to experience in film production 🙂

We are both fans of other automotive YouTube channels such as Mighty Car Mods, so when we bought the MR2 with the goal of restoring it, we thought it would also be fun to try making a YouTube series of our progress.

What is your experience in automotive mechanics? How did you develop the know-how to restore a car?

We’ve both always been interested in cars, and have done minor repairs and maintenance on all our previous vehicles. This is the first project of this scale we’ve ever tackled, and it’s required us to learn a lot of new skills, such as welding and bodywork repair.

We learn a lot from watching other YouTube videos from people like Eric the Car Guy, Welding Tips and Tricks, and Bad Obsession Motorsport.

The members of the MR2 Owners Club forum have also been really helpful, both in sharing their knowledge, and also selling us some cheap parts.

Why did you choose the Toyota MR2 as the inaugural project? What was the condition of the car and much did you pay for it?


Matt: I have always loved the Mk2 MR2, and always wanted one. I suspect it’s because they came out during my early childhood, and vaguely resembled Ferraris.

Also pop-up headlights, it’s a shame no new cars come with pop-up headlights anymore.

The car was in very poor condition when we bought her, although she was road legal, there was a lot of front end damage, the interior was moldy and falling apart, and the gearbox was, and still is, a bit broken (it works fine as long as you don’t want to use the 5th). It’s next on our list to fix.

We only paid £200, which was a great deal even considering the car’s condition. Originally the car was listed at £450, which was probably a little steep, so we low balled with £200, and amazingly the seller accepted it!

Just hope he’s not reading this now, as we would have happily paid £350.

Can you walk us through the major fixes done so far? How much money has been invested in the restoration?

So far we’ve:

Next up, we’ll be working on the engine and gearbox. We’d also like to revisit the body work at some point and maybe even get her completely resprayed.

In total we’ve spent just under £1,500. Although we didn’t log the hours spent, we’ve been working on the car in our spare time for roughly 10 months.

How do you plan to celebrate the finished car?

Project cars are never truly finished 🙂 Stage one for us was to get Misty presentable and road legal in time to be our wedding vehicle, which we did.

Being able to make our first journey as a married couple in the vehicle we built together was the perfect celebration.




We’re already looking to move onto other projects now, but there’ll always be things we’d like to do on the MR2.

Getting discovered as a new content creator is very challenging. What marketing channels have been effective in increasing exposure?

We’ve not really done much marketing other than submitting to a few choice sub-reddits. We grew steadily to around 500 subscribers and then in April 2017, the car news website Jalopnik wrote an article about our channel that took us to over 2,000 subscribers literally overnight. Since then we’ve returned to slow steady growth, mostly from Reddit. We also submit our videos on the MR2 owners club website and Facebook page.

We’re not really into self promotion, probably because we’re British 🙂

We never ask people to like, subscribe or share our videos. We love making them, and would still make the videos if no one watched them.

How competitive is the automotive space on Youtube? What drives views in this space?

It’s very competitive at the moment, although it seems to be more car vloggers than car projects. The barrier-to-entry for car vlogging is pretty low – all you need is just a camera and access to cars. But project car channels require more time to develop skills and work on the car, as well as tools and space to do so.

Project car channels seem to be popular as we are able to show more detail than car restoration TV shows ever do. And we don’t have manufactured drama or time constraints.

How has your experience been with Youtube AdSense? How do you plan to monetize once your audience scales?

While we do have Adsense, we deliberately only put the minimum ads on our videos (i.e. no pre-roll ads or ad breaks). This is because we both hate adverts on other shows and we don’t want to subject our viewers to those ads.

This means we only make about £1 / month from ads. But we’re not really bothered as we have no expectations of making a living from YouTube ads.

Some of our viewers have suggested setting up a Patreon, which seems to be one of the best ways to monetize a YouTube channel, and is definitely something we’re going to look into in the future.

What advice would you give to new creators who want to turn a hobby into a full-time job?

It’s hard to say, as we’re nowhere near full-time YouTubers. But based on the positive comments we’ve received:

Don’t try too hard – we’re just ourselves on our videos. There’s no script and we’re exactly the same off camera, which seems to resonate with our viewers.

Finally, what’s next for you (and Engines and Unfinished Business)?

Engines and Unfinished Business

We’re currently on a little break from making videos, as we’re just enjoying married life, and will soon be away for our honeymoon. We’re planning to return with some new projects, including a motorcycle restoration, as well as some more work on the MR2.

At some point we’d really love to rent a small workshop, so we can stop making the videos in our tiny garage and driveway.

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  • matthew Leeto

    Any hints on what type of bike you are looking to do next?

    • Matt Bearman

      We’d like to do a full strip down to frame restoration on an older, simple bike (air cooled and carbureted). Not found anything yet though.