Phil Hill's racing life for sale in memorabilia auction

The personal effects of America’s first Formula 1 world champion, Phil Hill, are up for auction. Gordon Cruickshank explores the lot

Phil Hill memorabilia collection

From model cars to posters, trophies, oily overalls and worn crash hats, Hill kept a huge amount from his career

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Current page

133

Current page

134

Current page

135

Current page

136

Current page

137

Current page

138

Current page

139

Current page

140

Current page

141

Current page

142

Current page

143

Current page

144

Current page

145

Current page

146

Current page

147

Current page

148

Current page

149

Current page

150

Current page

151

Current page

152

Current page

153

Current page

154

Current page

155

Current page

156

Current page

157

Current page

158

Current page

159

Current page

160

Current page

161

Current page

162

Current page

163

Current page

164

Current page

165

Current page

166

Current page

167

Current page

168

Current page

169

Current page

170

Current page

171

Current page

172

Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Automobilia used to be a few items at the beginning of a car auction. Now there are specialist dealers and entire auctions devoted to the area. And just as with paintings and antique furniture, provenance is the watchword. Some items are attractive or fascinating in themselves, some of only mild innate interest – old race programmes or photos, say. But if that programme was filled in by an eager youth who grew up to be a champion, or that photo is signed by an ace, then it’s open season.

Case in point – Gooding’s sale, online as I write, of Phil Hill’s personal racing collection, the items that he simply kept during and after his impressive career – trophies, race suits, helmets, passes. They’ve been in the Hill family home ever since, so this is unimpeachable provenance. I spoke to Phil’s son Derek (right) about the sale and how the collection grew.

“My father just wasn’t wired to get rid of things. He had his trophies on display, but his home office was packed; all the linen closets in the house were completely stuffed with old race programmes, posters, etc. It really did take over the home and the garage.”

Not all comes from Hill’s own career. Derek says his father romanticised early racing history, learning about it from books and collecting early memorabilia. Few objects come up for sale straight from a famous owner like Phil Hill, so just as with a car, a traceable history matters – written notes, period photos of object with owner, an engraved name on an award.

Condition, too, matters – but not always the way you think. Objects which show evidence of their history have additonal redolence. Derek Hill again: “Dad just used his helmets until they wore out, and then pushed them to the back of the cupboard.” Collectors will treasure the resulting dirt and frayed edges that confirm the item’s tough life. Race suits too – the oilier the better. But beware – it may not be Ferrari oil. “They often ended up in the garage,” laughs Derek. “Useful overalls when he crawled under cars!” The same item – just workwear to one, yet precious history to its next owner. But it confirms a shift: some once prized gleaming perfection, whether in display objects or full-size cars. Now a car with its race-winning dirt on it must never be cleaned.

A third Gooding Hill sale (online March 15-25) is more unexpected. It’s non-racing material that also interested the American champion, such as vintage records and players. Again, a gramophone you can boast once belonged to a world champion is going to surge.

As for Phil Hill’s collection, what does Derek think may be top item? “Possibly Dad’s early Herbert Johnson helmet. He wore it for his first Le Mans win, then Monzanapolis, then his first grand prix, in France.” Just an old, worn crash hat. The estimate was $110,000; it sold for $193,750.


Racing memorabilia auctions

Phil Hill helmet

Phil Hill helmet

One of the American champion’s early hard hats, which he wore in 1958 during his victorious Le Mans race (his first of three wins in the endurance classic) and for his grand prix debut at Reims in a Maserati as well as other grands prix and international races. It is battered and frayed, proving its busy life. A prime item of racing history with exceptional provenance.

Sold for $193,750
Goodings & Co, online

 

Gordon Crosby drawing of 1924 GP du Tourisme

Gordon Crosby drawing

Many people rate Crosby as the finest motoring artist of all time, but he was also prolific since he was illustrating race reports in a hurry. Thus while it’s not rare for his pieces to come up, prices will soar for larger, dramatic, and signed works (not all were). This image hits all three marks — measuring  63x63cm framed, it shows Dauvergne’s winning Peugeot in practice for the 1924 GP du Tourisme at Lyons-Givors.

Estimate £2-3000.
Upcoming Bonhams, online, March 3-10

 

Felipe Massa race gloves

Felipe Massa race gloves

In past decades racewear was discarded or languished in driversí cupboards after use. Today, drivers and team publicists know that anything can be monetised immediately, especially if signed. Massa wore these mitts in 2008, and manufacture is dated to just before the Monaco race where he finished third in his Ferrari F2008. With dated carry pouch, signed by Massa ñ and nicely grubby with race grime.

CDN $1750
On sale Collectorstudio.com

 

Bentley Aero model

Bentley aero model

When team Bentley closed its doors after its successes at Le Mans in 2003 and elsewhere, many items were simply left behind at its base. Among them was this highly detailed two metre-long wind tunnel model of a Speed 8 in carbon fibre, complete with fitted flight case. If you went looking you wouldn’t find one, so at Historics’ December sale one collector was lucky to nab this for £6200.

Sold for £6,200
Historics.co.uk

 


My prized possession

Nick Tandy cogs

NASCAR gears

Nick Tandy, Factory Corvette racer and 2015 Le Mans winner

Nick Tandy portraitA friend of mine, Kevin, who worked with me at Porsche in America, knew I was a Jimmie Johnson and a No48 fan. He used to work at Hendrick Motorsports in the gearbox department, so on top of a few signed caps from Jimmie, he got me this used top gear ratio and dog ring which actually came out of a winning car of the 48. It’s ‘money can’t buy stuff’. He even welded them together in a display stand kind of configuration. It sits on my shelf with all my model cars.”

 


Wall fillers

Sick of staring at that dull old wallpaper during lockdown? Try these unusual hangers

 

F1 skateboardsCustom skate decks

Deckorate is a Belgian company making custom-painted skateboards with a racing twist, featuring F1, Group B and more. They can be hung, or add wheels and off you go.

From £58
deckorate.net

 

Paperlegend kits

German designer Florian Weber makes cool stuff from paper, and now so can you. Order your own kit to cut, fold and glue together stunning tributes to a raft of supercars.

From €24.95
paperlegend.com

 

Jordan Halmo sculpturesHalmo sculptures

If youíre after something truly eye-catching to commemorate your favourite competition car then look no further than these clever 3D sculptures from Italian designer Halmo.

From £95
halmosculpture.com