5 worn-out classics that are crying out for Hammond’s love

Which car should Hammond restore next?


As most of you know, Richard Hammond has decided to put his money where his mouth has always been and start his own restoration business.

A little over a month ago, Richard sold some of his classic cars and bikes to help fund his new endeavour and I thought it’d be interesting to put together a list of cars he should consider restoring. Check out the results in his new show on discovery+.

Porsche 914 (1969-1976)

The Porsche 914 preceded the 924 and it was designed in partnership with VW, which also provided three flat-four engine options for the car: a 1.7, a 1.8 and a 2.0-litre unit.

Despite being less popular than the 924, it isn’t exactly rare – Porsche sold more than 100,000 units in 10 years – and it is a lightweight, compact two-door targa. The problem with classic Porsches is everybody wanted a 911, but because it was so expensive, they all turned to the 944 and the 928, and those became expensive as well. Then some ‘settled’ for the 924, which also became expensive.

The 914 isn’t cheap, and it isn’t easy to find, but it is attainable and original. Certainly a project worth working on.

Alfa Romeo GTV (1994-2004)

The GTV is probably one of the most beautiful Alfas ever designed – hopefully you're sitting there nodding sagely. And yes, the idea of working on a classic Alfa for a restoration project isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but who cares. It’s an Alfa.

The bad news, well, it’s an Alfa, and it’s likely going to need a lot of work. The good news is the GTV is still relatively inexpensive to buy and you’ve lots to choose from.

Alfa used a total of seven different engines for the GTV, ranging from the entry-level 1.8-litre Twin Spark inline four to the 3.2-litre V6 and everything in between. We’d go for the 2.0-litre JTS.

Skoda 110 R (1970-1980)

Skoda never really got the credit it deserved but it’s an interesting brand with a rich history behind it.

The 110 R is a great little car, with an unusual design and a usable, utilitarian 1,107 cc engine under its bonnet. The Czech automaker first launched the 110 R in 1970 and it remained in production for 10 years – around 50,000 were built.

I think it looks great. With the fastback profile and the Mercedes-style (sort of) ‘twin headlamp face’. I love it.

Buick Skylark (1953-1998)

You’d have to be completely mad to buy a Buick Skylark in Britain and restore it. And that’s exactly why I think it suits Hammond.

Buick launched it in the 1950s and the brand changed the car’s design several times during six production runs in 46 years. The fourth, fifth and sixth generation models look dull, just generic-looking American sedans. The first generation is a little too old and so is the second gen, if we’re honest.

I’d go with the third generation, the 2-door version (obvs). And then I think it’s a case of ‘go big or go home’. That’s why I think he should either get the 231 cu in (3.8-litre) V6 or… the 350 cu in (5.7-litre V8).

Rover P6 (1963-1977)

Richard Hammond secretly wants to be an American, we all know that, but he was born near Birmingham, which is probably the most Britain British city that ever Britained, and that’s why at some point, he’s going to have to restore a Rover. It’s like a rite of passage.

I know you’re gonna laugh like hyenas but… I still think he should restore a Rover 200. Specifically, a 1984 Rover 200 with a Honda-sourced two-speed automatic transmission. Okay, I’m just kidding.

He should, however, restore a Rover P6, the 2000 TC Mark II. Why? Because both he and it… were born in Solihull.

Which car(s) should Hammond restore next?

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Comments (7)

  • A P6 3500 V8 would be more fitting. Built near Birmingham, powered by an American heart - basically Hammond in a nutshell!

      27 days ago
  • All those suggestions sound great. As a side project, he ought to do a restomod of some huge tractor and drive it back and forth in front of the Diddly Squat Farm shop so Clarkson sees it.

      25 days ago
  • Chevy Nomad . Because MacGuyver has got one. .

      26 days ago
  • Citroen CV2

      27 days ago
  • A suggested list of cars worth restoring .

    I’m trying to remember the list of cars Dave Schwartz of Rent a Wreck gave to P.J. O’Rourke.

    It went something like this :

    Full list is in “ Driving Like Crazy by P.J.O’Rourke “

    Anything by AMC .

    Ramblers .

    ‘60s Mustangs.

    ‘60s Buick Skylarks .

    Chevy Nova 2 ( George McFlys car on Back to the Future ? )

    To that I would add

    Any and all Studebakers .

    ‘60s Holdens six cylinders ( some of the baby six cylinders get 32 mpg )

    ‘71 to ‘85 Holden Kingswood one tonners .

    My choice would be a 202 cu in six cylinder , 4 speed manual .

    I’d fit the V8 front anti sway bar , a radiator out of the V8 automatic Statesman,

    LPG ,

    and I’d go with manual wind up windows , a bench seat , and I’d get extra leaf springs fitted , taking the total up to 7 on each side at the rear .

    A Ford F100 canopy can be fitted as a useful option .

    The six cylinder one tonners weigh just 1192 kg dry , but with the extra leaf springs they will haul 1.5 ton on the tray no probs .

    Good all rounder , of comparable sturdiness to the 60s and 70s Skylark .

    Nice and slow and steady , top speed about 65 mph .

    You get the heavy duty gear box , prop shaft and 4.44: 1 ratio diff , and with just 110 hp or so , the drive train should last forever .

      27 days ago