Formula One champion Jenson Button is at the center of a legal dispute in which he has been accused of “fraudulently” selling a prized 1970 Ford Bronco for $166,000 at auction, “falsely” claiming it belonged to him.
Button, 44, who won the 2009 title and is now an F1 expert for Sky Sports, put the dark blue automatic van up for sale on a website called Collecting Cars in January 2022.
The ad, which is still online, clearly states that Button is the owner, adding: “It has been owned by Jenson for the past four years.”
He continues, “This is a striking custom truck that would make a great weekend cruiser or beach car,” adding that there are “only 170 miles on the clock.”
It was bought by British company director Leo Eccles, 45, but he has now taken legal action against the GP ace, claiming he was “not the rightful owner” but rather belonged to his “girlfriend” Brittny Ward, who She became his wife after the sale.
Jenson Button posted this photo on Instagram of him behind the wheel of the Ford Bronco with the caption: ‘Navigating Brittny Ward’s Bronco, basically keep the battery charged for her!’
Leo Eccles (pictured) has taken legal action against Button claiming he was “not the rightful owner” of the Bronco.
Jenson Button and his model wife Brittny Ward pose for a photo together while on vacation
Button put the dark blue automatic custom truck up for sale on a website called Collecting Cars in January 2022.
Eccles says he paid a premium for the car because he believed it was owned by Button, but claims the car is worth a fraction of that value, about $32,000, because his girlfriend was the true owner.
As a result of the ongoing legal dispute, Mr Eccles, a director of a Gloucestershire-based gaming company called Ginger Fox, who also has an address in Bromley, Kent, has yet to collect the car in the US. . since two years ago. after the sale.
According to court documents filed in Los Angeles and seen by MailOnline, Eccles claims that although the vehicle was advertised as Button’s property at the time of sale, it was actually his girlfriend Brittny’s car.
The vehicle was allegedly registered to Brittny Ward, not Button.
Brittny posted photos of the Bronco on her Instagram indicating it was hers, labeling it “my girl,” according to court documents, but the post appears to have since been deleted.
In 2019, Button himself posted a photo inside the car with the caption ‘Cruising in Brittny Ward’s Bronco, basically keep the battery charged for her!’.
Then, in November 2020, the former F1 ace appeared on a podcast for Collecting Cars, the company that organized the Bronco auction two years later.
Its website reveals that it has also settled sales of at least three other Button vehicles, including a Porsche, a VW van and a Land Rover.
During the podcast interview, which still onlineButton lists the cars he owns, from a Baja truck to “a couple of Jaguars,” adding, “I have a Bronco, which isn’t actually mine, it’s my wife’s car, but I’ll say it’s mine.”
Court documents state: “Button’s successful career and lucrative endorsement deals made him a very wealthy man and his fortune is estimated at between $150 million and $170 million.”
“However, despite his wealth, Button had no qualms about putting a vehicle up for sale and advertising it as his property.
“Its reputation resulted in the car being sold for $166,000,” he added, “despite the fact that the same car was previously sold to users for only $32,000.”
After Button shared a photo behind the wheel of the Bronco, his wife Brittny responded: ‘Naughty boy! It (sic) does not have license plates’
Button has been married to his wife Brittny since 2020 and the couple has two children.
Eccles (pictured) asked Button to refund the $166,000 and cancel the sale once he discovered the true owner, saying he “obtained the amount by fraud”.
The documentation adds: ‘Although the amount of the sale far exceeded the intrinsic value of the vehicle, it was not related to Button.
—It turns out that Button didn’t own the car and never did. The car was owned and driven by his wife Ward, who posted a photo of the car on her Instagram account with the caption “my girl.”
Eccles asked Button, who also works as a senior adviser for Williams Racing, to refund the $166,000 and cancel the sale once he discovered the true ownership, saying he “obtained the amount through fraud.”
In his complaint, the married father-of-two, who is a keen boater, added that Mr Button had not mentioned that the car needed “substantial repairs” when it was listed.
It’s unclear what the “substantial repairs” are, as the vehicle’s listing indicates it is in “good condition” with a number of “paint chips,” although it does note that the fuel injection adjuster display is not working, but it’s probably due to ‘not being connected correctly’. He then goes on to say that “no other electrical weaknesses are known.”
Auction website Collecting Cars shows it has sold at least four cars listed as owned by Jenson Button and two that had previously belonged to him.
The court document says Eccles would not have bought the car if he had known that Button’s girlfriend was the legal owner.
He adds that when he approached Button to cancel the sale, he “offered a photograph of himself in the car” and “registered it in his name.”
The document that was filed in Los Angeles County Court formally accuses Button and his wife of fraud, intentional misrepresentation and breach of contract and commercial code.
Button (pictured, during his racing career in 2009) claims Eccles is pulling out of the deal because he “cannot register the car” in his own country.
Eccles claims the car (pictured) is worth around $32,000, a fraction of that value because Button’s wife was the true owner.
Mr Button’s lawyers say Mr Eccles was “looking for a way out of the deal” because he had “buyer’s remorse” over the car (pictured).
But Button has responded with his own claim for “declaratory relief,” which under California state law is a legal procedure designed for those seeking “preventive justice.”
Specifically, its purpose is “to put an end to disputes before they lead to the repudiation of obligations, the invasion of rights, or the commission of grievances.”
His claim states that Mr Eccles asked him to “retain the vehicle and store it until he could arrange transportation and registration in his home country.”
He also adds that Mr Eccles asked Button to make “improvements to the vehicle”, which he did and which included the installation of rear seat belts, for which he paid.
Button claims that Eccles is pulling out of the deal because he “cannot register the car” in his own country.
The countersuit adds that Mr. Button and his wife are “ready, willing and able to deliver the vehicle to Eccles, but he refuses.”
Mr Button’s lawyers say Mr Eccles was “looking for a way out of the deal” because he had “buyer’s remorse”.
Button married former American model Brittny, 33, in 2022 – after the sale of the Bronco in January of that year – and they now live in Los Angeles with their two children.
He had a 17-year career in Formula 1 and won the 2009 title while driving for Brawn.
MailOnline has attempted to contact both parties and no hearing date has been set in Los Angeles despite paperwork being filed late last year.
Brown, Neri, Smith and Khan, representing Mr Eccles and Foley, Bezek, Behle and Curtis, acting for Mr Button, have also been contacted and are both law firms based in Los Angeles. Neither party has made any comment.