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"Rush" Rivalry Between James Hunt And Niki Lauda Resurrected At The Bonhams Oxford Sale



During the 1970s, Formula 1 World Champion, James Hunt, and three-time World Champion, Niki Lauda, had a well-known rivalry both on and off the track.

This competition was so well known that it was in fact documented in the recent autobiographical blockbuster film, “Rush”.

At the Bonhams Collectors’ Motor Cars and Automobilia Sale in Oxford on 9 December 2013, the rivalry between the two men will be brought down to the hammer, as a helmet worn by James Hunt when he won the 1976 Formula 1 World Driver’s Championship goes to auction with an estimate of £18,000 - 20,000.

Known as “Hunt the Shunt” due to his eclectic racing style, another of Hunt’s Bell helmets worn by the driver during his Formula Ford and Formula 3 career between 1968-1971 is also for auction and is being sold by his ex-partner.

The black helmet, complete with Hunt’s name and three colored stripes, bears the scorched evidence of a dramatic crash at Zandvoort in 1971 in which he flipped his Formula 3 car and landed up-side-down, but survived uninjured.

The helmet’s estimate is £5,000 - 7,000 and comes complete with a photograph depicting the accident.

At the same auction, a helmet and race suit costume worn by actor Daniel Brühl when he played Hunt’s racing rival, Niki Lauda, in the film, is also going under the hammer. It is valued at £1,000 - 1,500.

The outfit comprises a Bell helmet painted in red with the ’Niki Lauda’ design and Goodyear and Romerquelle sponsor logos, and a red, OMP race suit signed by Brühl, together with a pair of light gray OMP driving gloves.

Toby Wilson, Head of Automobilia at Bonhams, said: "The fierce rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda was always thrilling to watch, and the fact it has been brought to life once again in the film Rush shows that public fascination with the two drivers remains strong.

“These items bring together the old and the new, but all of them reflect the excitement these two men singlehandedly brought to the sport.”


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world’s largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to


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