It’s always entertaining to find and watch old Top Gear footage featuring Jeremy Clarkson. The jokes sometimes fall flat, and the hair is… something else. However, not many people know that fellow host Richard Hammond was making car content even before Top Gear.
The lovable “Hamster” cut his teeth, as it were, on a TV show called Granada Men & Motors. As a self-proclaimed Top Gear/Grand Tour fan, I’ve watched M&M content before. It’s basically just Hammond and the cameraman, very low-budget and entertaining, a bit like modern-day YouTube.
Richard reviewed both motorbikes and cars over several seasons. The videos were entertaining simply because of his developing personality, but I’ve never realized the footage from Men & Motors can be as old as 25 years.
Maybe as a way to celebrate his part achievements or simply because he wanted to get a good laugh, Richard Hammond decided to do a reaction video of his younger self for DriveTribe magazine, which he co-owns. You know what they say: If old you makes you cringe that means you’ve grown and changed since then.
The first video is him checking out a Morgan V8, at the Geneva show by the look of things. Richard is immediately shocked, left gasping by the stupid things he said about the car having a wood chassis. The funny thing is Richard later made enough money to buy a Moran Aero 8, a limited-edition hardtop version of that car. And he sold, because Miss Hammond hated it, to a gentleman in Australia who plans to be buried inside it. Two years, he bought another one, the Morgan Plus 6, which is a roadster.
The crazy shirts started many years ago
Next up is a review by the Hamster of the original (reboot) MINI Cooper S. Like a bad magician, the 20-years-younger reviewer reveals all his trade secrets by opening the video with a conclusion: that the car is “fab.” 2022 Hammond has an interesting story about that too. Apparently, he couldn’t afford a car and had to rent a bright yellow Nissan, drive to the filming location and figure out what to say in an hour. And you thought your grind was hard!
He did this for seven years on very little money. Eventually, he got the big break when he landed a TV presenter role on Top Gear, apparently because of a joke and the LHD Porsche 911 he turned up to the audition in. Hammond joined the team in 2002 when they did a refresh of the format. I think that’s the year he got married as well.
Next up is a review of the first-gen Ford Focus ST170. Richard is shocked that this review is from when the car was brand new, and now it’s a classic. You don’t even see these on the road anymore; they’re that old.
Generally speaking, the presenter is shocked by and hates the shirts he’s wearing while also being critical of his rushed reviews. But I think old Men & Motors content is golden, worth watching if you’re a fan of this man and have been watching him for a long time. I’ve left a couple of full-length videos in this story just so you can find the source.