Morrisons shopper, spokesperson for the Mexican tourist board and bona fide supercar expert, Richard Hammond has cheated death; on September 20 2006 he crashed a jet-powered car travelling at 288 mph; and returned stronger, if not taller. Part of the legendary Top Gear triumvirate with Jeremy Clarkson and James May, he continues to test drive the finest wheels on the planet and take part in challenges so extravagant they make the BBC's accounts department weep. He talks T3 through his garage (warning: jealousy likely)...
If you're going to have a supercar it should be ridiculous. For crying out loud, you can't go any faster than the Astra in front of you so whatever you're in it needs to be something that has some theatre, some drama. The Zonda has it; beautifully made in terms of technology and craftsmanship. Quite expensive though.
I collect American and British cars. A bit of both. I have a 1968 Mustang 390GT; that's the car in Bullitt. I also have a 1962 E-Type Jaguar, which is probably the most beautiful car ever made. I think there's room for both in the world.
My favourite Top Gear challenge was driving across Botswana. We wanted to prove you don't need a big 4x4 if you live in Surrey. We took two-wheel-drive cars on a trip across the whole of Botswana. That was one of the rare occasions where every moment was as good as it looked on the telly. I used a 1962 Opel Kadett. I couldn't believe it survived the journey,so I had it shipped home.
The hardest one was going to the Pole. Only for me though, the other two were in a car full of gin. I had to run in -40oC. The dogs are only there to tow the sledge, not me! I was running along behind the sledge remembering what I was told beforehand; If you sweat you die because it freezes on you; It was horrible, but I didn't get any sympathy.
The problem with hybrid cars is that it’s a distraction from finding a way to stop burning fossil fuels. The process of making hybrids is dirty. The components have to mined, shipped around the world, then assembled. It takes years to offset the process. I think you’re better off buying a fuel-efficient car. I would buy an electric car now if it had the range to get me from Herefordshire, where I live, to London. They’re not quite there yet.
Tech is increasing the value of ideas. As tasks are made easier by tech, the most valuable thing becomes people and their ideas. I struggle to see any reason to be against technology as it’s facilitating the things that we most want to do and distilling them down to their most important elements. Most of the time that element seems to be us, which is rather comforting.
I’m hosting the Carphone Warehouse Appys and I’ve been debating the nominees with T3’s Luke Peters. [T3: “You’re the same height”]. He’s a tall man. I’m actually standing further away than you think. Carphone Warehouse has distilled thousands of apps down to 50 and we try them. My daughter is better than me at Flight Control, which is just annoying.
Apple or Android? I’m Team Apple, I have been for a long time, because they… What’s that thing… Work! Yes, they work. That’s good.
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