Mike Hawthorn F1 Memorabilia
Mike Hawthorn - Charismatic World Champion - Motor Racing Legend, F1 Memorabilia is epitomised by Drivers like Mike, who’s Ferrari putJuan Fangiointo 2nd place in the 1953 French Grand Prix. It is epic races like this that the F1 fan or collector looks to in order to source scarce mementos from unforgettable races.
Mike Hawthorn (1929 – 1959) was born in Mexborough Yorkshire sadly his life ended on the Guildford by pass at the age of 30. Certainly the 50s was an eventful time and it is easy to feel he packed a lifetime into those short nine years.
As a youngster Mike spent his leisure time around his father’s famous Tourist Trophy Garage, which his father had bought to be close Brooklands motor circuit, at weekends he would accompany his father to the racing circuits where his dad used to tune and modify entries in the pits garage.
Having already shown an interest in Motor cycles Mike soon turned his attention to Racing cars and with the encouragement of his father Mike started competing in races making his Motor racing debut at the Brighton speed trials in 1950, which he won driving a 1934 Riley Imp 1100cc, this was followed by two minor wins in Ireland, Mike was instantly recognisable in those early days as he usually drove wearing a bow tie and county clothing.
In 1952 Mike upped a few gears by switching to Formula 2 racing cars making his name in a Cooper Bristol at the Easter Trophy meeting Goodwood.
His entry into F1 followed soon after when at the 1952 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa, in the third round of the World Championships, he was placed 4th in the Cooper Bristol ahead of the other British drivers, the winner Alberto Ascari driving a Ferrari.
Mike followed up with 3rd in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, winner Ascari, on this occasion Mike was ahead of 17 British drivers. In August he was placed 4th in the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort.
Mike Hawthorn F1 Memorabilia from these early races is scarce and items on offer are variable there are many prints of autographed photos (worth very little), however there are good examples of Presentations sets, Montages, and Hand signed Autographs. What the collector really wants are items which are directly associated with these early events, such as original press photographs, all enclosure passes, programmes, marshals’ badges, race attire and car parts.
The Motor Racing fraternity were well aware of Mikes outstanding talents as was Enzo Ferrari who had been following his progress closely, Ferrari signed him for the 1953 season and were soon rewarded at the French Grand Prix at Reims when he took 1st place on the podium, closely followed by Juan Fangio in his Maserati. This win put him into 2nd place in the World Championships table on 14 points which was headed by Ascari on 28 points. This win made him the youngest F1 driver to win a Grand Prix.
Motor racing collectables associated with Mike Hawthorn’s early races, especially 1952 Spa and 1953 Reims Gueux, (closed in 1972), are very collectable, I was fortunate to be able purchase car park badges and a hand signed presentation plus several autographs from the events, at auction.
It is always advisable when collecting any sports memorabilia to concentrate on a nominated category, pre-war or post war, Motor Racing Collectables from the modern era although desirable will not receive the same attention shown to earlier examples. For instance you could concentrate on post war Mike Hawthorn and his fellow peers from the same era, this way you would include some of the most illustrious names in Motorsport, check out results for F1 Championship races 1952 -1958 for example and you can see what I mean. Concentrating in set areas like this can be very rewarding.
It is prudent to consider the condition of Memorabilia, although one must be realistic and bear in mind age and usage when valuing race worn attire and car parts.
1954 was a bad year for Mike on a personal level, his father was killed in a road accident shortly afterwards he suffered a bad crash at Syracuse circuit in Sicily, driving a Ferrari 625. The race was won by Giuseppe Farino in a Ferrari.
On returning to racing later in July he finished the season with a 4th at Spa, 2nd at Silverstone, 2nd in Germany and Italy followed by long awaited win in the Spanish Grand Prix at Pedralbes, Barcelona, the places were taken by Luigi Musso in a Maserati and Fangio in the Mercedes straight 8 Fuel injection W196.
1955 was a miserable year Double World Champion Ascari was killed at Monza testing a Ferrari 750 Monza Sports, followed with the appalling accident in the Le Mans 24 hour race where Pierre Levegh driving a Mercedes 300 SLR sports car and 83 spectators were killed and many injured. The race winner was Mike Hawthorn in a Jaguar D type.
During the 1956 season Mike drove for BRM, Maserati and Vanwall finishing in 12th position.
In 1957 back with Ferrari Mike achieved 4th place in the World Championship.
1958 Mike Hawthorn became the first British driver to win the World Championship with Stirling Moss one point adrift, it was a season which saw the deaths of his team mates and close friends Luigi Musso lap 10 in the French Grand Prix at Reims and Peter Collins also on lap 10 in a Ferrari Dino 246 at the German Grand Prix Nubergring. Mike, some say disillusioned and with health problems on the horizon decided to retire from F1.
Stirling Moss had demonstrated admirable qualities during the Championship, Mike had been disqualified during the Portugese Grand Prix for pushing his car preventing him from taking a 2nd place finish, due to Stirling intervening the decision was reversed and his points were reinstated, interesting when you consider Mike won the championship by just one point.
Mike competed in his last race the Morroccan Grand Prix on October 19, 1958, his Ferrari finished in 2nd place behind the Stirling Moss Vanwall.
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