Days after Richard Hammond sold a number of his classic cars and bikes to fund the growth of his company, The Smallest Cog, The Grand Tour presenter has revealed that wanted to go home and get “hideously drunk whilst weeping softly”.
Richard, who has followed in the footsteps of his co-presenters Jeremy Clarkson and James May, has started his own business in the car restoration industry alongside two others who he’s worked with on his previous projects, father and son Neil and Anthony Greenhouse. To accompany this business, like Jeremy, he’s started a show to follow his adventures.
The show is published to Discovery+ and is available to watch now in the UK.
Richard spoke to DriveTribe about his background with the industry: “It’s in my bones. My grandfather was a coachbuilder; he worked at Mulliners in Birmingham and thereafter at Jensen in West Bromwich.
“I’ve always wanted to prove to him that there’s more to me than driving around the world, talking about other people’s supercars, crashing them and then pretending to weld them up in a desert.
“It’s also about a passion of mine to preserve crafts – my grandfather could work with wood, metal and just about anything.
“I wanted to do something real in the car industry rather than just being a commentator on the outside of it. This business is the perfect opportunity for me to do that.”
Now, to pay for an expansion to match the growth of the company, he had to sell a number of classic cars and bikes to raise the funds.
Hammond revealed that he needed to raise £100,000 for this expansion, but selling his prized possessions left him wanting to get “hideously drunk while weeping softly”.
He sold a number of cars including a 1969 Porsche 911T, a 1999 Lotus Esprit Sport and a 1927 Sunbeam Model 2. Plus a host of bikes including a 1932 Velocette KSS MK1 and a 1977 Moto Guzzi Le Mans.
“The deed is done,” he said. “I have betrayed my beloved treasured possessions and cast them aside for money.
“It didn’t go badly, none of them really ran away. The Porsche did okay, solid, the Lotus did well.
“Disappointed in the two vintage bikes, the KSS and the Sunbeam. I wouldn’t, by choice, have let them go for that, definitely.
“But the overall bundle of vehicles, what they’ve done – their noble sacrifice – has raised enough for me to go shopping.”
He continued: “I’m now going to become hideously drunk whilst weeping softly about all the empty bays in my garage – it’s horrible.
“I wouldn’t be saying this if you’ve been watching TV show about this, and I’ve been very stoic and brave, because you know for a broader bunch of people I wouldn’t expect them to appreciate what it means.
“I’ve got lots of cars, so I’ve sold some and I’ve got some left.
“But you know where my heart is, you know that each of those was something that I was connected with.
“The Sunbeam was the first ever vintage vehicle I owned. The Z900 was my 40th birthday present, the Norton my 50th.
“They were all really important to me, but I’ll live without them.
“And actually, it’s not just a line for telly, it’s true: I’m indulging my passion for classic cars and bikes, but in a different way.
“In that instance, not by owning the classic cars and bikes themselves, but by owning the means, the wherewithal, the machinery, to restore others to a beautiful state.
“It’s just as exciting and I will be every bit as thrilled the first day I open the door to the workshop and there’s all that fabulous array of top-flight, top-end kit to do good work with. It will have all been worth it.”