The Former Formula 1 Champion has serious car enthusiast credentials.
Not all race car drivers are into cars outside of them being race cars. Fellow former Formula 1 veteren Damon Hill was once quoted saying about cars for the road: "you don’t need the thrill, what you just want is something practical that gets you around.” That’s not always the case though. Some have serious car collections, and Button’s is one of the better we know of. For a start, it’s not all just crazy expensive contemporary supercars that guarantee all the likes on Instagram.
Button’s career in Formula 1 career spanned 18 years, including the Championship win for Brawn GP in the team's debut year of 2009. Button’s own debut was in 2000 with Williams before switching to Bennetton, then BAR in 2003 and taking third place with them in the driver’s championship. BAR was renamed Honda in 2006 and Button carried on with them until they became Brawn GP under Ross Brawn, and he took his F1 title.
Button was one of the more flamboyant characters of modern F1, and his love of cars and driving started early. In a Top Gear interview, he spoke fondly of his first car, a 2.0-liter Vauxhall Cavalier. He bought it with his prize money of £2,000 from kart racing, and immediately kitted it out with 17” wheels, Sachs suspension, and custom speakers. According to Button, "Actually, that thing drove bloody well, once I was finished with it, it was a good little car.”
As good as it may have been though, things got better from there as his budget rose dramatically for his cars.
Aged just 19 and entering Formula 1, Button bought his first Ferrari. His dream car at the time was an F40, but Button says this is still one of his favorite cars, and he was often seen driving around Monaco in his yellow V8-powered 355 GTS.
According to Button, he had three posters on his bedroom wall growing up. One was a picture of the Baywatch star Pamela Anderson, one was a picture of Bart Simpson, and one was of a Ferrari F40. He spent about a year looking for a low-mileage car in good condition before eventually finding the perfect specimen.
Button didn’t actually own his Bugatti Veyron for long. Trouble and costs of the hypercar led him to get rid of it. He didn’t want to deal with insurance and servicing, pointing out that damaging a tire cost £5,000 to replace required buying a new wheel to go with it. When Button realised he wasn't enjoying the fact he was continually worrying about the Veyron, so he sold it.
Following the Veyron, Button bought himself a Ferrari Enzo. He only owned it for two weeks though due to his disappointment in how it felt "cumbersome and lazy.” According to Button on Top Gear, "The problem was it felt like a race car, but wasn’t a race car, so what exactly was it? Really I should have held on to it because it would be worth a fortune now.”
Following the Enzo, Button went through a camper van phase. He bought two at the same time, one for the UK and one for his Monaco home. According to Button: "One was gold - a fifteen-window - the other one was a van, which was originally stickered up and painted as a Coca-Cola van. It had the original 1.2-liter engine in it so I got rid of that, stuck in a 2.0-liter VW engine, 200bhp, did all the suspension, added Fuchs wheels. I loved that car - still own it as well.”
A massive departure from what you would expect a Formula 1 star to drive is Button’s classic Ford Bronco. It showed up in his Instagram feed in early 2018, and it’s an absolute beauty.
The GT2 RS was Button’s last purchase largely driven by wanting the latest and greatest thing to drive. He enjoyed the track-focused Porsche but decided he wanted to focus on cars that meant something to him beyond that. Button was far from the only person to unload a GT2 RS at the time though.
Button's long relationship with McLaren makes the P1 an obvious choice, and Button expressed that he wished he had been part of the development team. A large part of the reason he loves the P1 is down to how it genuinely performs on the track as well as the road, pointing out: "It’s a car that will help you when you get into a difficult situation, but it needs to, it’s got 900bhp. It’s the only road car I’ve driven on a circuit that feels good. Most road cars don’t, they’re made for the road, they’re not quick enough, they don’t have the right downforce, mechanical grip, whatever.” Despite expressing that opinion, he later went on to sell it.
If you’re going to buy a muscle car, then the original GTO is a standout choice. Button obviously has a real soft spot for the car and its history as it was used as his wedding car when he married Jessica Michibata. Unfortunately, the marriage only lasted a year. We're not sure about those rims either.
One of only 500 built, the 1970s RS 911 is one of the most desirable historical Porsche models out there. It's the car Porsche homologated in the 1970s and only had to make 500 to qualify, but made 1,590 due to the high demand from enthusiasts. Button put the car up for sale in 2011 and, no doubt, made a solid profit.
Button has picked up a few Vintage pieces of Americana at auction for his LA home, and reportedly got a standing ovation for picking up an excellent example of a Trans-Am. The other’s include a Chevy Bel Air that came with a 500 horsepower LS7 engine installed, and a 1950's Chevy 3100 truck he calls the "Smurf truck.”
In terms of financial value, a decent 275 GTS is worth at least $2 million now. A little under 1,000 were made in the 1960s and if Button was to sell it, it’ll turn a tidy profit.
Jenson’s 2005 Ford GT went up for sale in 2017 at auction by its second owner. It was one of five of the 101 European allocations marked as VIP and destined for high flying owners. Between the second owner and Button, it went to its third owner with just 8,350 miles on the clock.
Button’s Corvette helps explain both his love of vintage cars and American cars. It was passed down from his father, so it’s unlikely Button would ever sell it.
You can’t live Button’s lifestyle without at least one Roller to swan about in. Button clearly likes a Roller as he’s both purchased one and, more recently, took part in a promotional campaign for the Wraith.