Richard Hammond: Height To Near-Death Experience

By Tharmini Kenas

3rd December 2019

Richard Hammond: Height To Near-Death Experience

Richard Hammond’s height has been an interesting topic of discussion as much as his near-death experiences. 

If you are wondering how an English TV presenter, writer, and journalist can have all these up his sleeves, you are in for a ride. 

Richard Hammond’s life is nothing short of an adrenaline-pumping adventure and here we are trying to get a peek into that adventure! 

Back To His Early Years…

richard hammond height

Image Source/Metro

Richard Mark Hammond was born on 19 December 1969. Widely known to present Top Gear TV show, his involvement with cars started way back when his grandfather was a part of the Birmingham car industry. 

“My grandfather on one side was trained as a cabinetmaker but eventually worked as a coachbuilder and then built cars. I inherited from him a love of cars, but with no technical ability whatsoever, sadly!”

After graduating from Harrogate College of Art and Technology, he made his way to BBC radio station. 

From one BBC radio station to another including Radio Cleveland, Radio York, Radio Cumbria, Radio Leeds, Radio Newcastle and Radio Lancashire, he maneuvered his path until he auditioned for what would be his breakthrough: Top Gear

richard hammond height

Image Source/YouTube

Top Gear is a British motoring magazine and is also being produced as a factual television series.

The show revolves around cars and focuses on motoring-based challenges, special races, timed lapse of popular cars and the list is never-ending. 

Before That, Let’s Go Into Detail About His Much Talked About Height…

richard hammond height

Image Source/The Mirror

Why is it that much of a deal? Well, when your height is likened to the height of Tom Cruise, how could it not be a big deal? 

There is very little difference to Richard Hammond’s height and Tom Cruise’s height! 

Richard Hammond is 5ft 7ins while Tom Cruise 5ft 7.7ins. This bit of crucial detail came into limelight during the premiere of Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol. 

Pictures of them standing side by side gained attention as Richard is always being teased for being short. 

In fact, the reason behind his much-loved nickname is relevant to his height as well! 

What Is His Nickname And What Has It Got To Do With His Height?

While Richard’s nickname might be met with glee by those hearing it, but the same cannot be said for Richard himself. 

His nickname is Hamster and it was BBC motoring expert Zog Ziegler who named him that!

richard hammond height

Image Source/Motor1

Hamster came about because of his short height and his last name that sounds a little like hamster. 

He claims that it was meant for his daughter. But hey, look who it has stuck to! 

“My nickname, the Hamster, I owe to a man called Zog Ziegler who, in terms of big breaks, I owe more than anybody else.

“I took over a motoring show in Lancashire in 1990 and he was the motoring expert on it. I thought his job was amazing.

“He inspired me to become a motoring commentator. He also inspired me to go and live out Cheltenham way, which is where my wife is from.

“When we told him we were expecting our first child he clapped his hands together and said, ‘oh, a little hamster’, so, really, my daughter, Issy, was the first Hamster.”

You wish, Richard!

His Stint With Top Gear


Richard co-presented the TV show Top Gear from 2002 till 2015. His co-presenters were Jeremy Clarkson and James May. 

According to James May, the co-presenting between him and Richard Hammond worked because:

“We work because we hate each other. That’s the magic formula. It doesn’t work for bands. I think it works for groups of TV presenters. We get on each other’s tits massively.”

Currently, Top Gear is being presented by Paddy McGuinness, Andrew Flintoff, Chris Harris and Sabine Schmitz. 

However, car crashes are part of his job description and unfortunately, he was involved in a high-speed dragster crash while he was filming for Top Gear in New York in 2006.

What Is He Up To Now?


He has once again teamed up with Jeremy Clarkson and James May from his Top Gear days, together with Andy Wilman to host The Grand Tour

Streaming on Amazon Prime Video, the show premiered in November 2016 and its Season 4 is going to be aired on December 13!

With similar formats as Top Gear for the first three seasons, fans of The Grand Tour are expecting something different for the upcoming one. 

Quite The Philanthropist, He Is!

For many years, he has been an ambassador of The Children’s Trust, Tadworth which is UK children’s brain injury charity. 

More heartwarming is what he did for an eight-year-old girl who was terminally ill. In September 2013, he drove Emilia Palmer in his Lamborghini Aventador Roadster which was painted pink just for her!

richard hammond height

Image Source/Autoevolution

Due to short notice, he had to travel to meet her using his  Robinson R44 helicopter and brought her for a high-speed run on the main runway. 

A thoughtful and meaningful act like this truly deserves a standing applause! It proves that he has his heart in the right place. 

A Man Of His Cars? A Car Man? Well, Call It What You Want, He Sure Is Very Much Obsessed With Cars!

Having been the host and currently hosting among the highly popular TV shows that revolve around cars, it would not make sense if he doesn’t have his own collection

Admittedly, Richard Hammond loves and adores cars, so much so that his collection of cars are rather stately!

richard hammond height

Image Source/The Sunday Times

Some of the cars from his impressive collection are:

  • An original 1968 Ford Mustang GT 390 with a 6.4-litre V8 tucked messily beneath the bonnet
  • A rebuilt and restored 1963 Opel Kadett which he nicknamed Oliver
  • 1942 Ford GPW
  • A classic 1985 Land Rover Range Rover
  • A Jaguar E-Type Roadster which he gifted himself for his 40th birthday

Evidently, this car is very special to him, since he so dramatically expresses his love towards it.

“Its siren call has lured me out into the rain to paddle across the yard and peer at it through a crack in the garage doors.”

richard hammond height

Image Source/Maxim

  • Porsche 911 GT3 RS
  • A rare 1969 Porsche 911 T that satiates his love for classic cars. Apparently, it makes him happy since it has the character and lightness he desires. 
  • His first ever car, a 1976 Toyota Corolla liftback
  • 2009 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder
  • 2009 Aston Martin DBS Volante
  • A Morgan Aeromax for his love towards England’s automotive heritage

Rest assured, these are merely a few of his cars. It has been reported that he owns a long list of them!

He Has Come Face To Face With Death Quite A Number Of Times

He said the closest he has come to death is:

“Crashing that bloody jet car at 290mph. I wasn’t scared, there wasn’t time to be, I just figured that the parachute hadn’t stopped it, the car was rolling, there was no roof, I was about to die. And then I woke up. Not dead.”

richard hammond height

Image Source/Grand Tour Nation

His two major crashes are the infamous Vampire Dragster crash and the Rimac Concept One crash. 

The car accident in 2006 happened when he was filming for Top Gear. Driving a jet-powered car that he lost control, he rolled over and ended up suffering brain injury. 

What’s worse, he couldn’t even recognise his wife for some time due to the injury. 

In an interview with Jonathan Ross, he mentioned that he was in a coma for two weeks and suffered from post-traumatic amnesia and a five-second memory. 

The Second Major Crash…

The second crash happened while he was filming for The Grand Tour in Switzerland on June 10, 2017. 

Driving the Rimac Concept One electric supercar, he made it to the top of a hill where he crashed it. 

Fortunately, Richard managed to get out of the car before it burst into flames. 

Richard’s Tight Family…

richard hammond height

Image Source/Fortune

Growing up, he had a family who encouraged him and shaped him into who he is today. To top it, the family he built is nothing short of supportive, loving and well-knit together. 

Sharing his childhood memories, he said,

“A typical memory is of driving down with my parents and two brothers – I was the eldest – in our Ford Anglia, which had that strange smell of sour milk that all childhood cars used to have. 

“Apart from squabbling and singing songs, I’d watch the back of my dad’s head as he drove, wondering what magic he did at the controls, and what the machinery under the car was up to.”

Richard claims his brothers were his best friends and remarkably they are still tighter than ever. 

Despite having friends at school, they had come home from school and start biking around. 

Definitely #siblinggoals !

Moving on to the little family he built…

“She is tough, clever, pretty, resilient, funny, everything. I love her to distraction. And she gave us our beautiful daughters.”

richard hammond height

Image Source/Evening Standard

That’s what Richard said about his wife, Mindy Hammond who is a columnist for the Daily Express.

Richard and Mindy got married in May 2002 and have two daughters Isabella Hammond and Willow Hammond.

richard hammond height

Image Source/The Sun

He said some sweet things about his daughters as well:

“As one of three brothers, it has been amazing having daughters. I never had sisters, so when I had the girls a whole new world opened up. They are fascinating. 

“I hope I can be like my parents and help the children enjoy the lives they have. It’s been quite a journey, from a smelly Ford Anglia to a Land Rover full of hairbrushes and hockey sticks.”

Interesting Facts About Richard Hammond

He is quirky, talented, adventurous, loving and all things nice. So, we bet he has some interesting nuggets up his sleeves. You be the judge! 

richard hammond height

Image Source/ The Sun

  • He once threw up on stage in front of about 5,000 people! 
  • His car is among the most expensive things he owns. It’s a hand-built specially made English sports car Morgan AeroMax from the 100-year-old Morgan Motor Company.
  • He hates being frustrated, waiting, not getting his way, and being beaten at something. (All that we hate too!)
  • His favourite word is Fiasco.
  • He said love is like indigestion! 
  • From shovelling gravel into a water-filtration plant, collecting chicken eggs, serving in a petrol station to potato picking, he has done them all and don’t really fancy them!
  • He considers his two daughters as his greatest achievement and his wife as the greatest love of his life! (Adorable, isn’t he!)
  • At his funeral, he wants JJ Cale and Super Blue to be played.
  • According to him, Buttermere in the Lake District, along the tops to Haystacks is the most beautiful place on the earth!

Ending It With Richard’s Funny And Most Memorable Quotes! 

richard hammond height

Image Source/Daily Hawker

Quotes are often impactful and for many, they are life-changing. When it comes to Richard Hammond, his quotes are funny, memorable and they will definitely make your day! 

“You can stick a BMW badge on a dead cat – and people would still buy it.”

“Every summer they arrive, ruining our roads just so they can pull up side by side with their new best friends and pee in a bucket.” 

“They probably were entirely satisfied with the handling of their 911 Porsche right up until they hit the tree.”

“I’ve been in a car three or four times when it filled with water and it’s not a comfortable feeling.”

And The Best One Goes To:

richard hammond height

Image Source/The Daily Beast

Explaining understeer, he said: 

“You drive down the road, turn the wheel, but the car goes straight on, crashes into a tree and you die.” 

Meanwhile, he described oversteer as:

“You drive down the same bit of road, turn the wheel, but the back of the car comes round like this and you go off the road, crash into a tree and you die. Oversteer is best ’cause you don’t see the tree that kills you.”

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