4 Top Gear / Grand Tour cars that Hammond should have kept
Aside from Oliver
Richard Hammond bought, restored, modified and [as often as not] crashed a long list of vehicles while filming for The Grand Tour and old Top Gear and he ended up keeping some of the vehicles he drove.
Obviously we’re all familiar with Oliver, the Opel Kadett that he bought and used for the Botswana Special and we’ve recently learnt that he actually kept the Buick he used in the ‘Lochdown’ special, having bought it back from Amazon Studios just a few weeks ago.
What do you think he should do to it?
Some interesting cars were destroyed or damaged while filming - the Toyota Land Cruiser he drove in Bolivia and the Mini from the India Special, for example - BUT I think there are other vehicles he should’ve kept and I made a list. Why not.
Chevrolet Silverado C/K (TGT ‘Colombia Special’, S 3 E 2-3)
The Chevy Silverado C/K (4th gen, 1995-98) that Hammond drove in Colombia was hysterically vulgar and unnecessary. It makes zero sense. It’s far too wide to be used anywhere, well, basically anywhere but the US and Canada (and Mongolia, I guess) and the 7.4 L engine under the bonnet converts petrol and air into noise, not performance.
And yet, driving this car is a bit like walking around in a t-shirt with silly statement on it. You won’t be winning any Pulitzer or Nobel prizes for it and some people will laugh, but it’s fun.
Ferrari 308 GT4 (TG ‘Supercars on a budget’, S 7 E 4)
Hammond has owned Ferraris in the past but he should’ve kept this simply because it would be worth a lot today. I know, I know. Hindsight is always 20/20, isn’t it? Back in 2005, the boys bought a trio of cheap supercars, each for under £10,000, something that would be completely impossible today.
A dear friend of mine actually owned a 308 and he sold it in 2016 for €31,000. It was in good condition and the price was fair at the time but just one year later, prices for second-hand Ferraris began skyrocketing and they haven’t stopped since. Hammond bought a 1979 308GT4 for for 10k, but today you can call yourself lucky if you find one for £40,000.
Alfa Romeo Spider (TG Alfa Challenge, S 11 E 3)
This is a bit personal because this is the very first Top Gear episode I ever watched and it made me fall in love with the TG and the trio in an instant.
For the Alfa Challenge, all three presenters bought a decrepit Alfa-Romeo for pocket money and Hammond got an Alfa Spider 2.0i (2nd series). The car wasn’t in great nick to begin with and Richard made it worse with the modifications for the concourse, where the Spider got the lowest score in the history of the competition: 9. But it’s still an Alfa, and it would've been fun to restore it.
Fiat X1/9 (TGT ‘Well-Aged Scotch’, S 3 E 7)
Clarkson and May mocked Hammond for the entire episode for buything this but the fact of the matter is the X1/9 is a quirky little Fiat that deserves a lot more credit and attention than we normally give it.
Designed by Bertone and manufactured between 1972 and 1989, the X1/9 was specifically built to meet US regulations and available with two different engines, both of which were located in the middle of the car, a Fiat’s first at the time.
The first series was powered by a 1.3-litre engine with a 4-speed manual, while the second series - the one Hammond bought - had a 1.4-litre and a 5-speed manual.
Hammond only paid £2,250 for it. It’s not a “baby Ferrari”, as he nicknamed it, but certainly worth it.