As a racing car driver, adventurer and soldier, 37-year-old Briton Jimmy de Ville has been tinkering with and rebuilding engines and vehicles his whole life. Now, the self-styled "extreme engineer" is coming to our small screens, in the DMAX show Engine Addict with Jimmy de Ville.

What is an extreme engineer? "It's an engineer who is prepared to push something not to the limit, but past the limit. I like to see how far I can push things. As I found out during the series, sometimes when you push it to what you think is the limit, you'll actually step over and encounter some interesting things … certainly, when you're strapping jet engines to a boat it's quite hair-raising.

"Testing that engineering in some of the hardest conditions in the world may mean you are an 'extreme engineer'. Challenging your engineering and engines in some of the hardest natural environments is an amazing thing … to have go well. But I've also engineered with the British Army, in some pretty extreme conditions."

What is the most iconic engine you have found? "There is no one single iconic engine. Engines are like humans, they're all very different and they all do very different things.

"Throughout the show I track down six equally iconic engines, from a VW Beetle air-cooled engine to Rolls-Royce's Viper Turbojet engine to KTM's 125 SX engine, which won world championships. They've all done incredible things.

"For me the question is not what is the most iconic engine; it's what do we want to do with the engines. One great example is Frank Whittle, who came up with the idea to build a turbojet. It was completely incredible, and has given us global connectivity because we can now fly around the world in jet planes."

What is the most unusual machine you've built? "Wow … a jet-thrust boat. There have only ever been about five jet-thrust boats built. Two have been built in the United Kingdom, in 1952 and 1967, and both the people who drove them died in the process, because they crashed. They were trying to set the world water speed record. So to get to build one of those was an incredible achievement for me. I wasn't trying to set a world water speed record in my vehicle, but just to go through some of the technical challenges with the turbojet engine on my back and sitting on water was absolutely incredible."

Is your family sick of oil and grease? "Yes. That's the easiest answer I can give you. Not to mention there's a motorbike in my house. I do try and keep things clean, but I'll put on new clothes and then I'll just be walking past one of my vehicles or something I'm doing and I think, 'Oh, I just need to do that,' and before I know it I've ruined my nice jumper or trousers. New clothes don't last long with me."

Engine Addict with Jimmy de Ville premieres on Tuesday, at 8.10pm, on DMAX.