The Grand Tour star Richard Hammond is selling his collection of classic vehicles for hundreds of thousands of pounds to fund his new TV show.
The former Top Gear presenter will use the proceeds from the sale of the eight motors to support a vehicle restoration business, The Smallest Cog.
Mr Hammond will turn the business into a new TV show called Richard Hammond’s Workshop, which will air on Discovery Plus later this year.
Several of the classic cars Mr Hammond is selling are personal favourites of his.
They include a ‘much loved’ 1959 Bentley S2 that was inherited from his family, a stunning 1969 Porsche 911T, a 1927 Sunbeam Model 2 motorcycle and a classic 1999 Lotus Esprit Sport 350 which is one of only 48 ever built.
Also featured in the collection is a 1932 Velocette KSS Mk1 and a highly collectable 1977 Moto Guzzi Le Mans Mk1.
Richard Hammond and his collection of three vehicles and five bikes. Proceeds from the eight vehicles, which includes a ‘much loved’ 1959 Bentley S2 inherited from his family, will support a vehicle restoration business, the Smallest Cog. The ex-Top Gear star’s new business exploit will be given a new documentary series, Richard Hammond’s Workshop, which will air on Discovery Pus later this year
Last month, he announced on Instagram that he was taking a ‘financial risk’ with the new venture.
He said: ‘I’ve taken the plunge, I’m taking a risk, I’m putting my money where my mouth is.
‘I’m setting up a classic car restoration workshop for real, and Discovery Plus are gonna be following my attempts to do so.
‘It’ll be landing later this year so keep an eye out for my new workshop show on Discovery Plus.’
The legendary Porsche 911 is the longest production run sports car of all time. Porsche asked coachbuilder German automobile manufacturer Karmann of Osnabrück, for whom they had a longstanding relationship, with helping with production, starting in 1966 with the 912. In 1968, while Porsche was working on prototypes of the forthcoming long-wheelbase 911, Karmann started building the 911T. Karman was involved in their production for only one year, during which time the Osnabrück firm built 3,561 911Ts
Hammond is selling his ‘much loved’ 1959 Bentley S2 inherited from his family. A ride oozing pure luxury, the extravagant S2 Continental was a high-performance variant of the Bentley S2, which was produced until 1962. The car’s special coach-built frame and ‘higher-than-standard’ performance levels thanks to lightweight body construction, robust engines and high gear ratios easily distinguish continental models from ‘regular’ Bentley models. They included lavish upgrades like press button window lifts, electric rear window demisters, electrically operated ride control, power-assisted steering, updated and more flexible AC and fully automatic transmission
In 1998 Lotus introduced the Esprit Sport 350 at the Birmingham Auto Show. Improvements included brakes, carbon-fiber wing, and magnesium wheels. The result was the most technologically advanced road-going Esprit supercar to date, with a top speed of 175 mph. Introduced in the early 1970’s, production began in 1976 and concluded in 2004. Based on the Lotus Europa, it was given the name Esprit in keeping with the traditional Lotus ‘E’ naming standard. The Esprit has been featured in movies such as Pretty Woman, 007, and Basic Instinct
With a great racing heritage, Moto Guzzi blew the racing world away with their exceptional V8 racer in the 1950s. Designed to take on Ducati, they rotated their V motor to be a transverse mounted across the frame unit. It came with one front brake linked to the rear master cylinder and the other working off of the front master cylinder. Moto Guzzi looked at engineering from a different perspective and challenged the motorcycling world with their fine engineering
The eight vehicles Richard ‘The Hamster’ Hammond is auctioning on August 1
- 1969 Porsche 911T
- 1927 Sunbeam Model 2 motorcycle
- 1999 Lotus Esprit Sport 350
- Velocette KSS Mk1
- 1977 Moto Guzzi Le Mans
- Ford RS200
- Two motorcycles that he bought for his 40th and 50th birthday will also be included but haven’t been named as of yet
Mr Hammond, 51, is selling the vehicles with no reserve at Silverstone Auctioneers, of Ashorne, Warwickshire.
He said: ‘The irony of me supporting my new classic car restoration business by selling some of my own classic car collection is not wasted on me.
‘It is with a very heavy heart that they go, as they have a great deal of personal sentimental value, but they will be funding the future development of the business and giving life back to countless other classic vehicles.’
Nick Whale, managing director of Silverstone Auctions, said: ‘We are delighted to have Richard both attending our sale on 1 August but also joining us on the rostrum to introduce the collection.
‘These vehicles clearly have a special place in his heart, so I’m sure it is going to be a day of mixed emotions for him, but we are confident we can deliver a keen bidding audience that will do his new business proud.
‘We wish him the best of luck.’
Hammond is one of Britain’s most recognised TV presenters fronting Top Gear and now The Grand Tour on Amazon Prime with Jeremy Clarkson and James May.
Sometimes referred to as ‘The Hamster’ by fans and his co-presenters on Top Gear due to his name and relatively small stature, Hammond almost died in 2006 when his jet-powered Vampire dragster spun off a runway at more than 288mph in a Top Gear stunt.
The father-of-two later revealed he experienced depression, paranoia and memory loss due to brain damage suffered.
The sale takes place on August 1 and Mr Hammond plans on attending the event.