Richard Hammond launches new classic car workshop – and a TV show to go with it

by James Mills
21 June 2021 2 min read
Richard Hammond launches new classic car workshop – and a TV show to go with it

He is best known as the long-suffering sidekick to Jeremy Clarkson and James May, but now Richard Hammond is striking out on his own – launching a new car restoration business in memory of his grandfather.

The petrolhead TV presenter, who stars in The Grand Tour and The Great Escapists, has been inspired by the restoration of his own cars and influenced by his grandfather, who was a coachbuilder working with Mulliners in Birmingham and at Jensen in West Bromwich.

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“It’s in my bones. I’ve always wanted to prove to him that there’s more to me than driving around the world, talking about other people’s supercars, crashing them and then pretending to weld them up in a desert,” says Hammond.

In typical fashion, the name of the new venture – The Smallest Cog – is intended to be both light-hearted and make a serious point.

“Jeremy [Clarkson]  and James [May] might suggest otherwise, but it’s to highlight the fact that our attention to detail will be right down to the smallest cog… and the smallest cog is often the most significant whether it’s in a gearbox, engine or differential,” explained Hammond.

To establish the new venture and fulfil one of his own childhood dreams, Hammond has teamed up with restoration experts Neil and Anthony Greenhouse – the father and son team that has successfully renovated a number of Hammond’s own collection of classics. They are based on the outskirts of Hereford.

The new six-part TV series is described as ‘an entertaining character-driven series and a window into the world of the classic car repair business.’ It will be shown on Discovery+ later this year, and viewers will get to know a plethora of passionate personalities, including Richard’s wife, daughters, close friends, and celebrities, all working hard to get the new venture off the ground. Alongside barn finds, prestige cars and restored classics, the team will also work on Richard’s own extensive collection of cars and bikes.

Jaguar XK150 Richard Hammond

The Smallest Cog will make its public debut at the London Classic Car Show, held at Syon Park from the 25 June, where it will display three of Hammond’s project cars – before, during and after restoration. The resto project will be a tatty Ford Escort RS2000 project car that Hammond recently purchased at auction. The current project is an unnamed British sports car, while the complete project is a Jaguar XK150.

The new venture is about giving something back to the car community, says Hammond. “It’s also about a passion of mine to preserve crafts – my grandfather could work with wood, metal and just about anything. I wanted to do something real in the car industry rather than just being a commentator on the outside of it. This business is the perfect opportunity for me to do that.” 

RS2000 Richard Hammond

Keep an eye on Hammond’s Twitter account, as he’s sure to share more about the show in the coming months.

Read more

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  • Paul makin says:

    I am very interested on rebuilding old cars as I was pannelbeater I myyuogelhave made two front wings for mgtd

  • Art Mather says:

    Good to see another car restoration program. Hope it does well.

  • Andy says:

    Call me an old cynic ( you’re an old cynic, mate ) but I’d suggest that this is similar to those rich people who “build their own house”. They don’t, they pay others to do it. So I can’t see Mr Hammond getting down and dirty. He’s probably employing the other two to do it for him. That said, the more big names getting involved in Classic Cars at, perhaps, the lower end of the scale is all to the good.

  • Peter Tomlinson says:

    Where is this new business based? I hope it is going to be somewhere in the West Midlands where the prices charged by similar businesses in the Home Counties will not feature!

    • James Mills says:

      The Greenhouse father and son team are based at Tram Inn Garage, on the outskirts of Hereford.

  • John greenhouse says:

    Nice to see more classic cars being restored

  • Nick Redford says:

    These programs never factor in LABOUR costs >

  • Sheila Oliver says:

    To save the old classic cars from the scrap yard in any situation is a good move, and to see them back on the road is a wonderful site. We have run a Classic Show for a few years at Oakhurch Farm Shop, Stuanton On Wye but the last time the volume was to great to cope with, so this year we are moving to Gwatkins Cider Abbyedore HR2 0AL If you are free you may want to come.

  • Nigel herbert says:

    I am interested in gettting a 2. L
    Vauxhall astra gsi with the red top engine. For a complete restore.

  • steve oconnor says:

    I have a few classics in need of restoration if you need some vehicles

  • Yvonne says:

    We are not looking for national tv coverage necessarily or fame but would like to to see this car restored to it’s former glory for my brother to be taken for a run round the block by his son with his grandson who is 7 years old. Max completed a five year apprenticeship at a ford main dealers back in the eighties but due to his accident and further medical complications he is now living in a nursing home unable to realise his dream. We have pictures off the vehicle through it’s ages and it has an interesting history and V5.

  • Hilary Jones says:

    I’m looking to have a Bristol, 1975, 6.5 Chrysler engine (still goes) restored. Model 411c. Maroon. Body work not good. Have photos. Is the smallest Cog a real company or just pretend for telly?

    • James Mills says:

      Very real indeed, Hilary. I visited the new premises, which has had considerable investment and the latest equipment, while the Greenhouse family – notably Neil Greenhouse – have worked in the trade since the age of 10, believe it or not. Like all these things, any vehicle owner should do their homework, look at any restoration company’s previous examples of its work and seek references. But The Smallest Cog hopes to make a real impact on the scene.
      James Mills, Editor.

  • Steve G says:

    Where exactly are the new premises? I have searched and the old phone is never answered.

  • Mark Waterfall says:

    I have a 1967 Mgb GT. I want to restore it to new. Any interest from TV?

  • Ian says:

    I’m mad Manchester Alfa nut done a ts 2.0 1991 164 then bought 2 more Alfa’s 156 sport wagon been stolen trying now wit a 1992 busso cloverleaf 164 but now’t happening help!!!.

  • Ian says:

    Good to see petrolheads and skilled family team still hacking away at the things that make peeps tick.

  • Andrea Zachorecki says:

    We have a 1956 Austin Somerset in need of restoration
    we are a scrap yard in Scotland and this was a garage find

  • Dave says:

    I have a 1965 mk1 sunbeam tiger that needs a front end repair my own personal car that im unable to repair myself at the moment
    Thanks dave

  • John says:

    I have a mini pickup in need desperate need of restoration

  • john Hatchard says:

    Hi Richard, great idea to do some classics.
    I had the pleasure of working on your old 69 Charger, a wonderful car indeed!
    I have a 69-500 charger of my own that needs finishing, but time and money are a difficult thing to get right lol.

    best wishes from john H.

  • Jon Larcombe - CoastGuardJon says:

    My ’73 TR6 hasn’t rolled a wheel since early – mid 90’s, had planned this for my retirement project, but now I’m there, I’m not fit enough to do it, just wish I was, as I was so looking forward to getting it back on the road. Engine was rebuilt with Stage 3 head mid 90’s, very sound with no major rust, but micro-bubbles in paintwork from slightly damp storage – inevitable as I’m on the top of 200′ cliffs, and about 80 yards from the edge so very difficult to get dry storage conditions.

  • Rob Letterly says:

    Is there a reason why the ‘unnamed’ current project wasn’t named? It’s a Jensen Interceptor.

  • Mark says:

    I’ve got a 1998 2.2 vtec honda prelude 4ws that I’m needing help restoring if your interested Hamster 🐹

  • Nicola smith says:

    Have an etype Jaguar hard top series 2 been stripped and acid dipped ready to be restored would be interested in your company to restore it

  • John Abbott says:

    I have a 1989 Toyota Supra 3.0ltr turbo been off the road since 2012 needs paint and engine looking at. My funds had to go else where so on my drive it sits.

  • jaime says:

    How about a 1980 series 2 Aston Martin Lagonda ?!

  • Sam Dawes says:

    Series 1 escort rs turbo.
    Long stories short..
    Has been shotblasted and 3/4 of the rotten panels replaced, currently sits as a bare shell. Recent bereavement of my father means my garage will soon have to go 😢
    Got parts and funds, needs tlc on a nut n bolt restoration

  • Richard matchette says:

    Richard i got a 1970 1600E in 1977 its restored but fuel tank is badly coroded where can i get a new one

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