- Would you let Rick 'Spanners' Hammond tinker with your classic?

Restore it with Rick!

What should they restore on the new show?

12w ago

I'm always quite excited when I hear about a new show from Clarkson, May or Hammond. As well as enjoying good old fashioned, proper, 'muck and bullets' Top Gear, I've greatly enjoyed the Grand Tour, at least for the bits when they weren't waving dildos about and cracking cheap 'willy jokes'. I enjoyed James's Toy Stories. I've been enjoying Clarkson's Farm far more than I expected to. Though this is largely down to the bafflingly watchable Gerald, who just brings any scene he's in to life...

Hang on Mr. Hammond has done stuff too!

Yeah, I know, he did that Brainiac, science things for kids - which was great and he commentated for Wipe Out - he did that with style and ease. However, none of these projects really allowed him to go 'Full Rick Hammond'.

I think that's a shame. I suspect that Top Gear and Grand Tour aside, he's only ever really been able to go full 'Rick Hammond' on his West Country radio show.

So what's the new show about?

Well, unless you've been living under a rock, you'll know Mr. Hammond has been busy. VERY busy. On top of producing gold standard television, attaining his private helicopter license and bringing up his kids... He's been on a mission. Admittedly a slightly slow mission. That mission has been to restore some of his classic vehicles to their former glory. My personal favourite is his Honda Motorcycle. He's had it on the bench for a while now, but I think the project is so close to his heart that he can't bring himself to allow anybody else to work on it. That bike will be spectacular when it's done. Watch this space in 2045!

I'm not interested in Richard Hammond's personal scrapyard!

Well aside from bits of automotive junk lying about, Bollitree Castle also houses quite an interesting collection of classic cars. As well as being a professional Clarkson-baiter, Richard is also a genuine classic enthusiast. He has a very nice classic classic Mustang, a lovely Lagonda and you may be interested to learn, an old yellow Opel Kadett that he picked up whilst on a relaxing 'budget' fly-drive holiday to Botswana. The really interesting car though, the car I think that sparked the idea for a classic orientated 'Wheeler Dealer' type thing is the Mist Grey Jaguar XK 150.

I've seen that! It looks nice! But...

Wasn't it actually some bearded git and his moustached friend who restored the car? Yes, okay it was. Richard will often use self-deprecating humour to point out his lack of spannering skills, but I think he DOES have some genuine ability to get old cars working. Years of bunking down with James and Jeremy in the middle of jungles and deserts while limping along in ancient falling to bits examples, straight from the automotive dictionary of 'Cars you probably should never buy', will mean he MUST have got his hands dirty at least once or twice... Even if he did have an army of cameramen, producers and support crew at hand to help. Also let's not forget Richard's grandad was a coachbuilder at Mulliner so maybe this sort of work in his genes? Or maybe he attempts this sort of work in his jeans? I digress...

The thing is though, Richard's Jaguar has generated a lot of interest. It's been a popular aspect of DriveTribe's media outlet.

I think there IS something magical about watching a man crying with frustration, hands covered in grease, colleagues somewhere over the horizon... But then there's also the enormous satisfaction, the overwhelming sense of victory, one gets from fixing the unfixable. I think we were all cheering that time Richard managed to coax Oliver back to life after nearly drowning him in a river.

Great! So Mr. Hammond is going to do car restoration show. What's he restoring?

Well, that's the thing. I have no idea. I imagine he MIGHT start with some of his abandoned projects knocking about the castle, but then he might not. There's no word yet. So, in the spirit of speculation I've compiled my own list of things I think it'd be great to see receiving a nut and bolt restoration.

#1 My Porsche 911

My 997

My 997

Now I know it's only 15 years old and is actually in pretty good shape. However I recently sent it to be serviced at an independent specialist and I ended up spending about Β£2000 with a list of things which will ALSO need doing in the near future. The alleged expert who looked down the borescope suggested the piston liners are showing a tiny amount of wear meaning the engine is probably good for another 40,000 miles before I should consider an engine rebuild. Now I'd like to think I'm going to own the car for at least that many miles if not a few more and that engine rebuild is NOT a cheap job. The suspension and exhaust are also a little tired and could do with freshening up. There are a few spots of rust and issues with the paint that could do with sorting. Think of it like this, my good friend and colleague would have a nice simple, easy project to set the ball rolling and I could get my Porsche 'factory fresh' without spending any money. Everyone would be a winner!

#2 Series 1 Land Rover



There's nothing like a Series 1 Land Rover! And Richard has always been a fan of the marque and the model. The mechanical simplicity of these early machines means they're great to work on and most of the parts are either available or easily fabricated. It's also a project lots of people would be interested in watching, as they're thinking of doing one themselves. Hell doing an automatic petrol V8 Defender 90 with a galvanized chassis is DEFINITELY on MY list of projects to regret having never gotten around to when I'm old and past it.

#3 Morris Marina 1800 Super



What?! Madness!? No, no. NO! This would be great! I mean, there are literally LOADS of shows where people carefully restore sought after classics like Jaguars, DeLoreans, Ferraris and so on. These cars are restored to death. But who restores things like this? They might have been objectively awful at the time they were popular and even WORSE now, but that sorts of makes them interesting? Flaws give character, so surely the Morris Marina is a car that's brimming over with character? Plus I didn't go TOO far and suggest an Allegro so...

#3 Bond Bug



I have fond memories of that episode of Grand Tour when Richard and James made an amphibious Bond Bug and Jeremy set a new world record in it. I enjoyed it so much I wrote a lengthy article on it!

The thing is I thought the Bug was a really cool car already and I'd like to see one restored properly rather than just bolted on top of a Jet Ski. Imagine swanning out of the office in your brown flares, Cuban heeled winkle-pickers, orange and cream flowery shirt and massive kipper tie, jumping into your Bug to go and do cool 1970's style stuff like getting stoned or enjoying the winter of discontent. Smart thought they were clever with their For2 offering but Bond had already achieved the same design in a much more fun and interesting way decades earlier. Plus it'd give Richard a chance to show off his near-legendary fibre glass repair skills.

#4 Jaguar E-Type



There is no more iconic classic than the Jaguar E-Type. Voted the most beautiful car of all time, it's an evocative shape from a time gone by. They're also worth a lot of money when completely restored. They may in fact be one of the few cars you can restore and make a profit on. What I'd like to see isn't Rick and the boys tarting up something like the barn find in this photo. I'd like them to take a rusty E-Type chassis, half-buried in a field, dig it out and make it into a stunning resto mod. They say the E-Type is the only classic that can never be 'unrestorable' so let's test that! It can be a challenge! Get them a rusty, broken in half E-Type chassis with a barely readable chassis number on and set them to work on it. Admittedly this project may end up taking up a lot of screen time. Similar projects have been cited to take nearly 3000 hours of skilled man hours so it would have to be a VERY long series if they did this!

#5 Oliver!



Now I know Oliver has already undergone a sympathetic restoration. I get that. However, Richard Hammond has the attention span of a fruit fly and is now rumoured to be quite bored of his little automotive chum, despite their epic adventure together. So how about a really creative resto mod project? Let's lower and firm the suspension, fit a whopping 7 litre supercharged V8 and make it 4WD! Let's paint it metallic lime green and give it massive wide tyres and flared wheel arches. Why not make it a convertible? Oliver could rise like a phoenix from the ashes and be reborn as some sort of hideous 'Fast and the Furious' tribute that would make Vin Diesel spill jizz all over his Fast & The Furious part 14 'Dom costume'!

But what do you think?

Those are a few ideas, but I want to know what you'd like to see Richard and his colleagues restoring! Well, erm, Richard's colleagues restoring while he makes a brew?

Martyn Stanley

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Comments (87)

  • For their first season i think they kind of have too do something that most people could afford, but it has too be aspirational. I reckon a dolomite sprint would be good

      2 months ago
    • That’d be interesting! He had one in a British Leyland challenge once i think.

        2 months ago
    • Yes, that challenge really made me intrigued in leyland cars when I was younger, and I really want an sd1 v8 and a dollie sprint because of that challenge

        2 months ago
  • Toyota Celica gt4 or Mitsubishi 3000gt

      2 months ago
  • 69th lile

      2 months ago
  • I can't believe nobody has voted for the Marina at this stage! :/

      2 months ago
  • 4 jaguar e type

      2 months ago