Many car and motorcycle enthusiasts consider themselves to be far more skillful than your average drivers / riders. And true enough, some really are, constantly honing their skills during weekend track events. But the odds of an enthusiast becoming a Formula 1 World Champion are slimmer than winning a lottery ticket twice in a row.
Facing reality is never an easy task, but what can you do? Well, if your pocket can handle the cost, you can always keep your fantasy alive with some cool motorsports memorabilia like a famous driver’s racing helmet. Besides being a good investment, you’ll be the talk of the track day for sure. Check out our selection after the break, compiled from the extensive list found on The Memorabilia Experience (TME) sales site.
By Csaba Daradics
1. Emerson Fittipaldi - Price: $19,500
Used in the 1974 and 1975 Formula 1 championships, Fittipaldi's helmet is signed on the crown, and is accompanied by a picture of the Brazilian driver. Emmo was piloting the McLaren Ford M23 at that time.
2. Kenny Roberts - Price: $5,000
The father of Kenny Roberts Jr. wore this helmet in 1972. The scars denoting heavy usage make it even more appealing. Roberts went on to become two-time winner of the AMA Grand National Championship in 1973 and 1974. He also won three consecutive 500cc World Championships, between 1978-1980, and three Daytona 200 races. This is the only father and son duo to have won the 500cc title.
3. Jody Scheckter - Price: $15,000
This is the helmet that Jody Scheckter wore when he won his first Formula 1 race, the 1974 Swedish Grand Prix. Driving the Tyrrell Ford 007, he was also victorious in that year’s British GP. There are two Goodyear “flying feet” painted on the side, commemorating each victory.
4. Gilles Villeneuve - Price: Upon request
Gilles Villeneuve helmets are extremely rare, as it’s said that he only used 15 during his entire Formula 1 career. He wore this example in 1979, while driving for Ferrari. Manufactured by Bell, it was showing signs of fatigue, so the original logos were reapplied and the chipped paint retouched. Now ain't that a shame...
5. Mario Andretti - Price: $12,500
No, this is not Darth Vader’s racing apparel, but Mario Andretti’s Indy and possibly Formula 1 Simpson Bandit helmet, according to The Memorabilia Experience. It is signed, which makes it a good investment.
6. Ayrton Senna - Price: Upon request
This is an original Shoei Quattro, worn during several races of the 1993 Formula 1 season. It’s numbered and bears authentic inspection stickers. On the top, it has four air vents that were only used in some races. The radio was removed, but there is evidence of where it was inside the helmet, says the seller. In 1993, Senna was driving the McLaren Ford MP4-8.
7. Nigel Mansell - Price: $22,500
It seems that Nigel Mansell racing gear is also hard to find, so his fans should grab this Arai helmet while they can. Worn in 1991, it comes with the original metal breather tube. TME’s website states that Mansell himself confirmed that this is an original piece.
8. Jimmy Vasser - Price: $6,495
Jimmy Vasser won Indy Car in 1996 driving for the Chip Ganassi Racing team, alongside Alex Zanardi. He was the last American to win the series, which later became Champ Car. For this alone, the signed and inscribed helmet could mean so much more for some fans. Comes complete with the radio transmitter.
9. Valentino Rossi - Price: Upon request
Valentino Rossi is Moto GP’s Schumacher, only better. We say this in the light of the 8 World Championships he won, riding in three different classes. TME says Rossi helmets are also very rare. This one was made by AGV and features a special “sun and moon” graphic, alongside Valentino’s signature. The helmet was worn during late 1996 and then throughout most of 1997.
10. Michael Schumacher - Price: $25,000
We couldn’t have left Schumacher out of our Top 10. Behold his 1998 Imola helmet, made by Bell. It is signed and the race date is written on the crown. If you’re curious: no, Schumacher didn’t win that race. He came second driving the Ferrari F300. Nevertheless, we’re pretty sure wealthy fans would be very happy to own the helmet.