Top Gear’s Richard Hammond says he sold most of his cars and now drives pick-up truck


Richard Hammond fears he might be going through a mid-life crisis but, unlike most men, he is not splashing out on sports cars. In fact, he says he has done just the opposite

Richard Hammond flaunts luxury car collection in February

Richard Hammond suspects that, at 52, he might be having a mid-life crisis.

But the man who probably has more cars than anyone else on TV isn’t following the well-worn path of males of a certain age by splashing out on flashy sports cars.

In fact he’s done just the opposite.

He asks: “Am I having a mid-life crisis? The archetypal, stereotypical thing is buying a sports car and I’ve got rid of most of mine.

“I mostly drive a pick-up truck or Land Rover now. So I think, yeah, maybe I am. Men do – we evaluate things.”

It’s two decades since Richard became household name on the BBC ’s Top Gear alongside Jeremy Clarkson and James May.

Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May


Getty Images)

The trio, who left the show in 2015 to front Amazon’s Grand Tour, still enjoy a bond and the odd barney.

“Oh God, we bicker,” says Richard. “But we never fall out because we still work together. If you think of anybody you’ve spent the last 20 years with, you’ll know how it works.

“If I talk about motorbikes it annoys Jeremy because he hates them. And if Jeremy and James talk about Second World War aeroplanes that annoys me because it’s not my subject.

“We know each other’s buttons but we don’t press them very often.”

Viewers are aware of the merciless mick taking between the three. But after Richard’s 2006 catastrophic crash his co-stars showed the depth of their friendship.

Richard and his family


Dave Benett/Getty Images for Longines)

A tyre on a Vampire jet car he was driving blew out at 288mph, spinning the vehicle over and dragging his crash helmet along the surface.

Airlifted to hospital, he lay in a coma for two weeks with a significant brain injury. But he responded with a smile when Jeremy said he crashed because he was a “crap driver”.

Richard made a full recovery. But a decade later came another horrifying accident, this time when his supercar careered down a Swiss mountainside and burst into flames.

Naturally, the crashes changed his life. He no longer throws himself into perilous stunts because he feels wife Mindy, 56, and daughters Izzy, 21, and Willow, 18, have had enough worry.

Richard probably has more cars than anyone else on TV



Richard says: “Mindy never says no to my doing dangerous things because I’ve never asked her. I just wouldn’t do it now out of respect for her and the girls.

“I don’t want to risk taking myself out of their lives because we all have a lot of fun together and I wouldn’t want not to be there to fulfil that role.”

Richard Hammond says he sold most of his cars


Channel 4 / Rob Parfitt)

Mindy will be relaxed about her husband’s latest programme, Richard Hammond’s Crazy Contraptions, which holds no dangers. The Channel 4 gameshow pits teams of engineers against each other to make ingenious machines from everyday materials such as loo rolls, string and books.

During lockdown Richard tried to engineer a device to make breakfast at the pull of a lever. It didn’t work.

Our frontpage on September 21, 2006


Daily Mirror)

The Sunday Mirror’s frontpage on June 11, 2017


Sunday Mirror)

He admits: “I have tried inventions before and they’ve never worked.

“So when Channel 4 rang and asked if I wanted to present the show on more or less the same subject I said ‘Yes please’.” The series challenges contestants to make crazy machines to do mundane tasks such as making beds, feeding dogs or running a baths.

Despite their obvious talent, not all the engineers’ outlandish designs work.

So have there been times when Richard has had to turn away from the contestants to stifle a laugh?

“Well, yes,” he says. “We’ve all done it. We get caught on an idea and stick with it past the point of realising we need to do something else.”

Richard has one concern about the show and he’s at pains to make sure it’s clarified. It’s based on the premise the engineers are working in Richard’s house and opens with shots of him inside a massive stately home.

“I’m a little bit concerned about that. It very much isn’t my house and I don’t want anyone thinking it is.

“So if you don’t mind stressing that I’d be very, very pleased because I’m worried sick people think it really is mine. I wish it were.”

Surely Richard’s real home, the £2million Bollitree Castle in Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, is just as big?

“Well, it’s not THAT big.”

Richard Hammond’s Crazy Contraptions, tomorrow night, 8pm, Channel 4.

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