Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May are back on our television screens with The Grand Tour Presents: Lochdown now airing on Amazon Prime. However, they all have independent projects going on. Clarkson's Farm recently aired to considerable praise. James May is brewing up gin to serve in a pub he invested in. And Richard Hammond is starting a classic car restoration business.
At least one of the three is sticking with cars for a side gig, but Hammond is giving up some cars to make it happen. Specifically, he's putting eight vehicles – five motorcycles and three cars – up for auction through Silverstone Auctions. They will cross the block on August 1 during an event at UK's Silverstone Circuit, and all are offered at no reserve. Among the motorcycles are pre-war classics like a 1927 Sunbeam Model 2 and a 1932 Velocette KSS Mk1, though you’ll also find more recent machines like a 1977 Moto Guzzi Le Mans, a 1976 Kawasaki Z900 A4, and a 2019 Norton Dominator 961 that Hammond bought for his 50th birthday.
For our purposes, we’ll obviously focus on the cars and while there are just three, they are quite special. Everyone knows about Hammond’s passion for Porsche, and he’s parting with a fantastic-looking 1969 911T listed as being an early 2.2-litre C-Series car from California. The auction listing states the indicated mileage is around 56,000 miles, and it's said to be in original, "lovely" condition.
Gallery: Richard Hammond Car Collection For Sale
Photo Credit: Silverstone Auctions
Equally stunning is a 1959 Bentley that, per the auction listing, was recently refurbished to its original two-tone blue exterior. The gearbox was replaced two years ago; the interior is described as excellent, and mileage is said to be around 63,000. The big Bentley is listed as having five owners throughout its life, and the auction includes plenty of extra items such as some of its original tools, photos, an old logbook, and the original chassis build sheet.
The last car on the list is the newest and fastest of the bunch, by a wide margin. The 1999 Lotus Esprit Sport 350 is listed as being number five of 48 built, packing a mid-mount 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged V8 making 350 bhp. This car shows approximately 47,000 miles and is said to have had an engine rebuild "in recent years."
The reason for this sale is the aforementioned restoration business. A press release from Silverstone Auctions confirms all proceeds from the vehicle sales will go towards the business, named The Smallest Cog.
"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," said Hammond in the press release. "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."
The adventures of this endeavour will be chronicled in an as-yet-untitled television show for Discovery+, airing in the UK later this year.