‘Classic cars are time machines’: Richard Hammond tells us about his workshop and new TV show

Published: 03 November 2021

► Richard Hammond's Workshop: streaming on discovery+
► Revealed: the storylines in episodes 3 and 4
► And Hammond could work on your car, thanks to Sky VIP

PROMOTIONAL POST in association with

Richard Hammond is in good spirits when he talks to us about his new TV series – Richard Hammond’s Workshop – streaming on discovery+. But he’s running late, so he’s speaking hands-free from the wheel of one of his classics, a Land Rover Defender. 

The big question is: what came first, the show or the workshop? 

‘The workshop came first,’ replies Richard. ‘[My business partners] Neil and Anthony have been working on my cars for years, and then one week they said they were losing their workshop. So I thought “Why don’t we set up a business together?”

‘I was some way through the process before thinking it might make a show.’

You could win a day in Richard’s workshop – thanks to Sky VIP

The workshop is called The Smallest Cog, and one lucky car enthusiast and a guest will get to visit and have Richard and his crew work on their car – courtesy of the Sky VIP loyalty programme. Read on for more details or, if you're a Sky customer who can't wait to enter, download the My Sky app here.

This year, over a million people have enjoyed a VIP experience with Sky VIP. Whether you fancy rubbing shoulders with A-listers or meeting your sporting heroes, Sky VIP can make those experiences come to life. Head to the My Sky app to find out more.

What got Richard into the restoration game?

Why has Richard, a renowned motoring TV star and bona fide lover of classic cars, sunk his own cash into The Smallest Cog?  

‘Classic cars are time machines. You can read them like a story and it’s hugely important to preserve them,’ he replies.

‘The classic car industry is worth £18 billion per year. Despite that it’s not about the money, it’s about skills and people. I love the make-do-and-mend philosophy. Preserving a classic has a much smaller carbon footprint than making a new car.’

Making big sacrifices to fund The Smallest Cog

In episode four Richard is forced to sell some cherished cars and bikes for funding. How did you decide which ones?

‘It was really difficult,’ recalls the TV star. ‘It pains me to think about it. I sold the ones that I thought would sell for the most. It was horrible.’

And what have you learned? ‘On the business side - running a classic car restoration business is very expensive. Pushing for the quality is not easily done. 

‘On the craft side, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve always loved the craft and have always been involved with it as a customer. But now I’m trying to hone my own skills. My welding is improving massively. Painting has improved. I’m not there with fabrication work…!’

What does the future hold for the business?

‘The good news is that work has really picked up and we have work coming in. We’re taking on new staff and apprentices. We haven’t even found the time to fix my Jensen Interceptor!’ – a 1970 model which stars in episode 2 of Richard Hammond’s Workshop.

Synopsis of episodes three and four

Episode three: After what seemed like a successful day at the London Classic Car Show, Richard faces the harsh reality that the team’s efforts to drum up business haven’t paid off.

In a desperate effort to bring Neil and Antony work, he finds a classic Mini that needs restoring. The only catch is the owner is his daughter’s boyfriend and he has a limited budget...

To make matters worse, costs of the new workshop are escalating so Richard comes up with a drastic plan – he’ll sell some of his own cars to help pay for the business.

Episode four: Richard’s dream to set up a classic car restoration business hits a bump in the road as he’s forced to sell precious cars and motorbikes from his own collection to fund the new workshop. 

To promote the sale, he offers his beloved vintage vehicles at auction with no reserve, a huge gamble which could easily backfire.

Meanwhile, Neil and Anthony get to work on a mystery vehicle from the 1930s – it’s not quite the quality work they had in mind when they agreed to set up with Richard.

Here’s how to watch Hammond’s show – and enter the prize draw

Ever watched Richard on TV and thought, 'he's the man to help out with my pride and joy'? Well now's your chance.

One fortunate winner will be picked to spend the day with Richard in his workshop, working on their own car. Transport for your car, overnight accommodation, and all travel and expenses are included.

Sky Q customers can get 12 months of discovery+ free as a gift from Sky VIP. To activate, simply say "get discovery+" into your voice remote and follow the on-screen instructions. No voice remote? Head to the Upgrade tile in Apps on your Q box. To find out more and to enter for your chance to win a day with Hammond, head to the My Sky app.

CAR magazine is not responsible for running or administration of the competition and entrants release it from any liability in relation to their participation in the competition.

By CAR's road test team

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