Cogs and the machines

Published January 5, 2023

Close up of cogs with a blue sheen

I’ve written about previously stumbling on Richard Hammond’s Workshop, the Discovery+ programme that follows Mr Hammond trying to get his new classic car restoration business off the ground. A second series just finished in December, and I enjoyed the second just as much as the first, although found it just as frustrating. Hammond still likes to throw money at a problem before actually sitting and thinking about the consequences but you can’t fault his enthusiasm. And to be fair, by the end of the series, business was picking up, so something must be working.

The real reason I want to talk about the second series is just to celebrate how brilliant the women were in this programme - effectively running the show.

I mentioned Mindy last time with her seeming unending store of patience for Richard’s over-excitable nature, but she took a more active role this time round. The accountant for the business roped her in to help try and talk sense into Richard over another of his hare-brained scheme, and Mindy had to come up with a system for keeping track of expenditure so that they could invoice correctly and actually make money. The best moments of this series are when Mindy marches into the building shouting for someone, and whoever is in the firing line immediately looks terrified. If only I could have that effect on people!

Secondly, there has to be a huge round of applause for Abbie Eaton who took Richard’s idea of creating a racing team as a form of advertising and really made it work. She had to test the car, she had to train her driving partner both in the hot seat and also literally running round the block, she had to tell the gang what they needed to do to organise their first race weekend, she even dashed off to find spare parts from another team when our hero’s car inevitably failed. She’s an absolute legend.

It was also fantastic to see Hammond and friends in a little campervan at the trackside, against a sprawling motorhome with Eaton Motorsport on the side. Show ’em how it’s done, Abbie!

These were great moments throughout the series, and made me constantly happy. But actually, the joy of the series is when the crew manage to fix up a car for someone simply for the effect it has on them - the income is a secondary consideration. I don’t care about cars one way or the other but you can tell when it really means something to someone and that makes it a pretty good business to be in.

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