Richard Hammond’s 10 Best American Cars

ext: Richard Hammond’s 10 Best American Cars



1953 Chevrolet Corvette

“It’s one of the most beautiful cars. I think it was one of the first proper two-seater sports cars made in America, and it still stops traffic. It’s desperately beautiful.”





1955 Chrysler C-300

“It’s no secret, I love muscle cars. Because of the sense of humor! They’re usually bright yellow or lime green, and it’s all about fun. The 300 was the first one with a Hemi V8 in it, so it was in a way one of the first muscle cars. It’s brutally handsome – not a subtle thing, but it looks what it is, big and powerful. I’d love one in my garage … of course I’d never afford one.”





1969 Dodge Charger

“I used to own one, it was lime green. The Dukes of Hazzard car, of course, but it’s a strangely beautiful thing. Again, like America, if you ignore its size, it’s has some fabulously subtle design details. Some of the lines are breathtaking. I sold mine, though, because it couldn’t fit in most towns in Britain.”





1968 Ford Mustang 390 GT

“I replaced my Charger with one of these. You have to have a pony car in there because they are so pretty, such an emblem. It rocked everybody’s socks, and still does, and it puts a massive smile on my face whenever I take it out of my garage.”





Pickup Trucks

“I love pickups, I really do. Either a Dodge Ram or an old ’50s Ford or Chevy, because they are beautiful. My wife — if I’m ever feeling flush, I’m going to have to buy her one, because it’s what she wants more than anything else in the world, a restored vintage pickup. She has a horse truck, a Land Rover, a diesel John Deere Gator, a Harley, a tractor, and she’d love to add a pickup. It’s terrifying — what did I marry? [Laughs]”





AMC Pacer

“Every nation needs a terrible car. You need something comically and heroically bad. Britain had the Austin Maxi, which was a similarly shaped ordinary family shopping cart. The Pacer has that same slightly sagged look, it’s pretty dire. I would love one, it’s hilarious.”





Striker Fire Truck

“It’s the most powerful fire truck in the world — and typically, it’s American. I asked the guy on the show, ‘Does it have to look that cool?’ And there was kind of a pause, because I don’t think it does [laughs]. If you’ve got a bunch of drab, dreary people coming around the corner in a boring machine, you wouldn’t be inspired to think you were safe. But if you see an American fire truck, it’s chromed and beautiful and the guys look cool, and there’s a sense of, ‘I’ll be okay, because I’ve got those superheroes raging around my city.’ When a British fire truck goes by, you think, ‘Oh… somebody’s having a bad day.’”





2012 Jeep Wrangler

“I dismissed it at first; I thought it was going to be awful. But it’s fabulous, and got me thinking about the Wrangler in general: It’s a retro car and you could knock it for that, but you know what? It works, it’s competent, it’s efficient for its size. You can still take the doors and the roof off, and that still makes you feel good. And if a car can do that, who cares how fast it goes around a corner at the Nürburgring?”





Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

“I’m going to have to have two Corvettes. The ZR1 is a genuine, worldwide-competitive sports car, and it’s staggering. It can stand up to the best from anywhere else. I like American cars, but you haven’t made many sports cars. Supercars, muscle cars, yes, but the ZR1 is a true sports car. It’s an amazing piece of kit.”






“It’s a range-extended electric vehicle, not a hybrid in the same sense as a Prius. It’s a very clever, pragmatic approach. Hopefully hydrogen fuel cell cars will be the solution eventually, and if hybrids are just a stopgap, it is a much better one, and it looks glorious. It’s got to look cool! Cars are costumes, we put them on to tell the world something about ourselves.”

Leave a Reply