• Top Gear’s Richard Hammond Is Selling His Bike Collection.

  • 1932 Velocette KSS Mk.1
  • 1977 Moto Guzzi Le Mans Mk.1
  • 1959 Bentley S2
  • 1969 Porsche 911T

Well, some of it: apparently, he needs the money!

Star of Top Gear and The Grand Tour, Richard Hammond is auctioning off some of his collection of bikes and cars to help fund a new classic car restoration business, an undertaking that will be the subject of a new Disney/Discovery TV series, called The Smallest Cog. But does he really need the money?

Richard Hammond Is Selling His Bike Collection. Well, Some Of It!

Top Gear's Richard Hammond Is Selling His Bike Collection.
- image 1005456
1932 Velocette KSS Mk.1

Some people buy cars or bikes because they want that particular car or bike; maybe it reminds them of their youth or a favourite movie or an era for which they have affection.

For many, condition is important, for others it is less so. For still more, however, it is provenance that is important. Provenance, for those who don’t know, is a traceable history, usually involving well-known owners who add value to the object in question.

A good example of this is the Husqvarna Viking 360 that is coming up for sale soon, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s. Now, on its own, it might be a $20,000 motorbike. However, this particular one was once owned by Steve McQueen which some experts are saying will push the price into six figures. Naturally, the bike has been fully restored since it left the McQueen estate so one could ask, how is that now a bike that McQueen himself rode, but his name is listed as a previous owner and so the provenance is there. For me, it would have more value if it still sported the dented tank and assorted scratches McQueen put on it when riding the bike: but that’s just me.

Hammond’s New TV Series

Top Gear's Richard Hammond Is Selling His Bike Collection.
- image 1005454
1977 Moto Guzzi Le Mans Mk.1

This rather rambling introduction to explain provenance is pertinent because Top Gear and The Grand Tour’s Richard Hammond is selling off eight motorcycles from his prized collection to fund a new classic car restoration business that will be the subject of a new TV series.

Now, the cynic in me is whispering in my ear that this is a publicity stunt. I mean, none of the eight motorcycles is super-rare or desirable, unless you are into that sort of thing. There is no particular provenance attached to any of them - apart from being owned by a TV star - and so, one has to wonder exactly how much money they will raise; $100,000? $150,000?

Top Gear's Richard Hammond Is Selling His Bike Collection.
- image 1005455
1959 Bentley S2

Now, that’s not small money for many of us, but are you trying to tell me that Richard Hammond couldn’t dip into his own piggy bank and come up with that kind of money simply by writing a cheque? And let’s not forget that Disney and Discovery are involved; are you seriously trying to tell me that, with a name such as Hammond’s attached to the show, it wouldn’t recoup whatever money those two organisations put in, in short order?

Not Just Bikes, But Cars Too

I realise that there comes a time when, perhaps, space is needed. Hammond is selling three cars as well - a Bentley, a Porsche 911 and a Lotus Esprit - but are you trying to tell me that three cars and 8 bikes takes up that much space? They won’t be the only vehicles in his collection.

Top Gear's Richard Hammond Is Selling His Bike Collection.
- image 1005457
1969 Porsche 911T

But, putting my cynicism aside, the sale is taking place on Sunday 1st August and will be live-streamed on Youtube. The bikes on sale include;

1927 Sunbeam Model 2
1932 Velocette KSS Mk.1
1976 Kawasaki Z900
1977 Moto Guzzi Le Mans Mk.1
2019 Norton Dominator 961 Street Limited Edition

The new programme will be called The Smallest Cog and will follow the trials and, no doubt, hilarious tribulations of Hammond as he sets up his new business.

Harry Fisher
Harry Fisher
Motorcycling Contributor
Born and raised in England, he has lived in South Africa with his family since 2002. Harry has owned examples of Triumph, Norton, BSA, MV Agusta, Honda, BMW, Ducati, Harley Davidson, Kawasaki and Moto Morini motorcycles. He regrets selling all of them.  Read full bio
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