Grandma is microcar mad

Jean Hammond and microcars
Have you ever wondered what happened to all the pint-sized motors like the Peel P50 and Opperman Sterling?

Well, chances are that if it's weird and wonderful, it will be in Jean Hammond's incredible collection.
The 82-year-old grandmother owns the largest private collection of microcars in Britain, with a selection of 46 miniscule models.

Her husband, Edwin, started collecting the cars but when he died 13 years ago, Jean took charge.

"He was an engineer and was fascinated by the workings of these clever machines," she said.

The age of the micro-car dawned after the second world war when cheap transport was a must for many in the country.

"People at this time had aspirations to own cars, but didn't necessarily have the money to spend on expensive vehicles.
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"So the car industry catered for these people by producing small, cheap and well-designed automobiles that could get people from A to B.

"Right up to the mid-70's students would buy one for 20 or 30 quid so they could travel the country.

"They were built so Joe Public could go out and buy a car," Jean added.

So, how did the collection start? Jean's husband refused to let their teenage son ride a motorbike so instead they bought him a 196cc Irish Heinkel and the love affair blossomed.

Jean ensures the cars don't deteriorate by inviting enthusiasts to come and get spanner-handy and take the vehicles for regular runs around the local fields in Kent.

Not stopping there, Jean produces a monthly magazine called Rum Car News, aimed at increasing awareness of the quirky cars and providing a useful resource to owners and fans.

With puny proportions, the cars are too difficult for her to drive, so sadly the daily duties now fall upon a trusty old Nissan Micra.

Check out our gallery to see the little and large collection.
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