You don't have to be a fan of Formula One or IndyCar to know the name Nigel Mansell. The racing icon claimed the F1 championship in 1992 and followed up with a CART championship in 1993. His duels with Aryton Senna are nearly as legendary as his moustache, and he endures as one of the greatest British racing drivers of all time.
So when we learned that a sizable portion of racing memorabilia from his personal collection is headed to auction with RM Sotheby's, we had to peruse the listings. Labeled Nigel Mansell’s Legacy Collection, there are 330 lots all total and we aren't just talking trinkets here. There are trophies from his championship-winning seasons, helmets and racing suits spanning two decades, and a plethora of gorgeous automotive art. In short, you can buy an entire F1 legacy – if you have the cash.
But that's old hat. Everyone wants racing trophies and cool helmets, but how about actual old hats? How about ashtrays, wine glasses, stylized knives, or a Honda minibike with Ferrari badges? We uncovered a goldmine of curious oddities in this collection, and we couldn't resist sharing some of the unlikely Mansell memorabilia we covet for our own motorsports collections.
Here they are in no particular order of weirdness.
One cannot consider 330 items from Mansell's career without nabbing at least one trophy from his 1992 F1 blitz. While most are exquisitely designed cups in the classic sense, grabbing a podium at the Spanish Grand Prix resulted in a snazzy bottle of Sherry with arms and a hat. And we're just fine with that.
Amid all the race cars and race-themed items, you can get a replica ... bulldozer? It's listed as a model of the first Cat crawler built in 1925, and while we don't know the backstory of how or why it's in Mansell's collection, it's a neat piece of kit. And with an estimate of approximately $150, it's an item we could afford.
Mansell joined the Ferrari F1 team in 1989, and apparently, this little Honda was a means for zipping around the pits. It could be the only instance where putting Ferrari stickers on a Honda is justifiable.
Meanwhile in America, knives are presented as tokens of accomplishment. Mansell won this accolade by being the fastest qualifier for the Budweiser GI Joe's 200 race in Portland, and it's not the only pointy item on this list.
Mansell scored 72 podium finishes during his F1 and CART career. That's a lot of hats to cover sweaty helmet hair, and 36 are up for auction. All have Goodyear branding with some measure of blue, but we opt for the hat from the 1992 Spanish Grand Prix to match the cool Sherry trophy.
There's a luggage set offered in this collection, but a red leather briefcase with a Prancing Horse stitched to the side makes one feel important. We'd get this case, handcuff it to our wrists, and let people wonder what kind of secret Ferrari files we were transporting around the track.
As with the Caterpillar model, we'd love to know the backstory of this artful dagger. The writing on the plaque mentions the history of the dagger, but it's unclear if this was merely a gift or related to a motorsport event.
This completes the Mansell collection you never knew you wanted. A knife from the US, a dagger from Japan, and a sword from England. Mansell was a Special Constable for the Isle of Man, though like the aforementioned dagger, we don't have a backstory for his possession of this sword.
These aren't just any old wine glasses. The auction listing states they are race-dated F1 crystal wine glasses, though we don't have any details regarding specific races. There are 31 all total, and rumors suggest a high-level Motor1 editor covets this lot for a holiday gift.
Remember ashtrays? Or perhaps a better question might be, do you remember stylish ashtrays? Branded with Cadbury's Race the Ace, these apparently come from an event held at Brands Hatch in 1995. And it appears they've been at least moderately used over the years, which may or may not make these Mansell trinkets even more appealing to collectors.