I bought and sold my first motor aged 11 – now Richard Hammond is opening my classic car museum 25 years later | The Sun

A PETROLHEAD who bought and sold his first motor at the age of 11 has now created a classic car museum, opened by Top Gear star Richard Hammond.

Patrick Hawkins built a business from the ground up before embarking on the new passion project in Taunton, Devon.

Patrick, 36, used his own savings and vintage motors to curate the stunning collection, which can now be viewed by the public.

Aged just 11, he struck his first deal, which would become the basis for his sales empire, spanning 36 garages in the local area.

Now, he has brought together over 200 cars and motorcycles dating from between the '60s and the '90s for the enjoyment of enthusiasts like himself.

He told BBC News: "I've been passionate about cars all my life and been a collector of cars over the last 25 years.



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"I wanted to bring the heart back into this town.

"I think it looks fantastic and I am absolutely overwhelmed by the support I have had."

And the dream was perilously close to being extinguished, as Patrick overcame a serious illness which inspired him to set up the showroom.

In 2018, he spent nearly a year in and out of hospitals after being diagnosed with a "rare heart condition" as the result of a birth defect.

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Discussing the traumatic period, he added: "When your life is on the line… I just thought it would be nice to give something back.

"I liked the idea of just doing a classic car museum for the benefit of everyone."

He found an ally in motoring journalist Malcolm McKay, who said he penned "the most important pitch of [his] life" to bring Top Gear and Grand Tour star Richard Hammond on board.

The TV icon attracted huge crowds to the opening ceremony this morning.

Speaking at the event, he praised Patrick's work, saying: "This isn't a building full of grand aloof supercars. These are the cars that shaped people's lives.

"These are the cars that took us to school, took us to work. Every corner your turn there's a reminder of what the car has done for us.

"I don't think that if you sat down with a piece of paper you would list these cars. The museum has grown organically and it has a lot to say."

In an interview with Somerset Live, he added: "It’s Pat’s own personal story, the theme of the museum being the cars we connect with – they are not the poster cars we dreamed about, they are the ones our neighbours had or the ones we went to school in and the cars we grew up with.

"I was invited to come and open the museum and when I got the email, I couldn’t resist."

It comes after an Aston Martin that was found rusting in a garage after 54 years was tipped to sell for a huge sum.

Meanwhile, the UK's top doctors called for a severe tightening of drink driving laws ahead of Christmas.

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