While Richard Hammond is famous for what we’ll politely call the ‘rapid disassembly of cars’, he’s recently revealed to the world his new company, The Smallest Cog, a car restoration business. To accompany this new business, just like co-presenter Jeremy Clarkson and his hit show Clarkson’s Farm, he’ll be documenting the process of starting this venture in a new show, Richard Hammond’s Workshop.
He was seriously hurt after crashing a rocket-powered drag car where he suffered brain damage, and got off lightly when he threw a Rimac Concept One off of a hill climb with him inside. But now, he has another challenge to fight through.
His goal in Richard Hammond’s Workshop, on Discovery+, is to combat accountants, consumers, and his family while establishing a new firm with automotive restorers Neil and Anthony Greenhouse. And in doing so, he’s already spent thousands of pounds of his retirement fund setting up the business.
“It was a bumpy ride,” he said. “The show became more about setting up the workshop rather than doing the restorations.
“It turns out to be a hell of a journey from starting in Neil’s little workshop to moving into a beautiful new big one.”
He admits he’s “still working” on persuading his wife Mindy that this has been a good idea.
“One of the themes of the show is coming home,” he says.
“I’ve lived out of my suitcase for 25 years. I’d walk across a landing with my washbag under my arm. There was no point in unpacking it as I’d be leaving in a few days.”
Richard Hammond has spend almost 20 years of his life alongside Jeremy Clarkson and James May as they travel the world behind some of the world’s most brilliant cars for The Grand Tour and previously Top Gear.
He said: “It’s tough to reintegrate into the rest of the house, because when you’re travelling around the world it’s very selfish.
“Then you come home to your family and realise all these other people have wants and needs more important than mine.”
Hammond admitted to missing family life:
“I did it always as a job to support my family, first and foremost, but what it meant was that I had to be away a lot,” he said.
“I’ve really enjoyed trying to reintegrate into that family unit. They’ve been great, they’ve accepted me back in.
“It’s not easy. I had a lot of things to learn. It’s been an intense year.”
He then begins to discuss how starting a car restoration business is extremely difficult:
“It’s not about harvesting a lot of new resources from somewhere else in the world.
“We’re about making do and mending something that was made 40, 50, 60 years ago, which is very much of the moment.
“I’m going to be really bold and say we’re heading for a boom time in restoration.
“People are also fascinated by these expressive, wonderful cars, in an industry currently worth £18billion a year.”
But before the profits start to roll in, he admits that he’s spent a lot of money so far: “I seem to have got through an awful lot of money.
“I’m going to have another awkward conversation with Mindy, because the money I’ve been spending I had saved up for my retirement.”
With talk of coming home and spending more time with the family, fans will no doubt be wondering whether he will return to The Grand Tour alongside Jeremy and James:
“The three of us can’t wait to get back out there.
“If I can persuade Jeremy to put his farm down for long enough, we will go and do our stuff. We’ve done it for 20 years. It’s my day job and it will remain my day job.”