The entire collection from the Hammond Collection of Microcars goes under the hammer with Charterhouse Auctioneers later this month

Words: Paul Guinness

The museum was established by Edwin and Jean Hammond, whose microcar obsession began in the mid-1970s when they bought a Heinkel bubble car for their son, Andrew. It marked the start of a major collection, with the Hammonds going on to buy a Nobel 200, Scootacar Mk1, AC Petite Mk2, Frisky Family 3, Messerschmitt KR200, Berkeley SA322, BMW 600 and Allard Clipper among many others, along with a vast array of spare engines and automobilia. The couple went on to purchase a rural pig farm that they then converted into a microcar museum.

Sadly, Edwin later became ill and passed away in 2003, but Jean continued with the project and moved the collection to a purpose-built museum where the collection of over 40 microcars was put on display. Now that Jean has moved into a care home, however, the complete collection is about to be auctioned off as separate lots.

“This fabulous and fascinating collection of microcars has been built up over the past 40-plus years,” explains Richard Bromell of Charterhouse Auctioneers. “Edwin loved his microcars and was well known for saving them from the scrapyard. Once, he famously bought a burnt-out Isetta in exchange for a pile of scrap, with many of his friends remarking that nobody could see the difference!”

The Heinkel that marked the start of the collection back in 1975

Included in the sale is the Heinkel that marked the start of the collection back in the mid-1970s, although the most valuable lot is sure to be the Hammonds’ 1963 Peel P50 – one of the rarest and most famous microcars of all time – that’s guided £85,000–100,000. Also of particular interest is a 1958 Opperman Stirling, a sporty looking coupe and the only survivor from just two examples made; at the time, Stirling Moss thought the company was taking advantage of his name and took out legal proceedings to prevent Opperman from using it.

In addition to the 40-plus microcars being auctioned, the sale includes a large quantity of spares, engines and automobilia, with the entire collection almost certain to achieve a significant six-figure sum.

Viewing is available on site at the museum – located in Hawkenbury, Kent – on Wednesday, October 26 from 9.30am to 5.00pm, with the auction being held online by Charterhouse at its Dorset saleroom on Thursday, October 27. The catalogue will be available to view and download here.