F1 champion Jenson Button embroiled in legal row after being accused of ‘fraudulently’ selling prized 1970 Ford Bronco for £130k at auction by claiming it was his – when it ‘actually belonged to his US model girlfriend Brittny Ward’

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Written By Maya Cantina

Formula One Champion Jenson Button is at the centre of a legal row where he has been accused of ‘fraudulently’ selling a prized 1970 Ford Bronco for $166,000 at auction, by ‘falsely’ claiming it belonged to him.

Mr Button, 44, who took the 2009 title and is now an F1 pundit for Sky Sports, put the automatic dark blue truck up for sale on a website called Collecting Cars in January 2022.

The advert, which is still online, clearly states Button as the owner – and adds: ‘It has been in Jenson’s ownership for the last four years.’

It goes on: ‘This is an eye-catching custom truck that would make a superb weekend cruiser or beach car’, adding that there are ‘just 170 miles on the clock.’

It was bought by British company director Leo Eccles, 45, but he has now launched legal action against the GP ace, claiming he was ‘not the legitimate owner’ and instead it belonged to his ‘girlfriend’ Brittny Ward, who became his wife after the sale.

Jenson Button posted this picture to Instagram of him behind the wheel of the Ford Bronco with the caption: ‘Cruising in Brittny Ward’s Bronco, basically keep the battery charged for her!’

Leo Eccles (pictured) has now launched legal action against Button claiming he was ¿not the legitimate owner¿ of the Bronco

Leo Eccles (pictured) has now launched legal action against Button claiming he was ‘not the legitimate owner’ of the Bronco

Jenson Button and his model wife Brittny Ward pose for a picture together on holiday

Jenson Button and his model wife Brittny Ward pose for a picture together on holiday

Jenson Button and Brittny Ward attend a private dinner hosted by Michael Kors in London in 2016

Jenson Button and Brittny Ward attend a private dinner hosted by Michael Kors in London in 2016

Mr Button put the automatic dark blue custom truck up for sale on a website called Collecting Cars in January 2022

Mr Button put the automatic dark blue custom truck up for sale on a website called Collecting Cars in January 2022

Mr Eccles says he paid a premium on the car because he believed it was owned by Button – but he claims the car is worth a fraction of that value, around $32,000, because his girlfriend was the true owner.

As a result of the ongoing legal row, Mr Eccles – who is the director of a Gloucestershire-based gaming firm called Ginger Fox – and also has an address in Bromley, Kent, has still not picked up the car from the US, two years after the sale.

According to court documents filed in Los Angeles, and seen by MailOnline, Mr Eccles is claiming that although at the time of the sale the vehicle was advertised as owned by Button, it was in reality his girlfriend Brittny’s car.

It is claimed that the vehicle was registered in Brittny Ward’s name, not Button’s.

Brittny posted photographs of the Bronco on her Instagram indicating it was hers – tagging them ‘my girl’, according to the court documents, but the post appears to have since been taken down.

In 2019 Button himself posted a picture sat 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 featured on a podcast for Collecting Cars, the company that arranged the auction of the Bronco two years later.

Their website reveals it has also sorted out the sales of at least three other vehicles for Button, including a Porsche, a VW van and a Land Rover.

During the podcast interview, which is still online, Button lists the cars he owns, from a Baja truck to ‘a couple of Jaguars’, and adds:  ‘I’ve got a Bronco, which is actually really not mine, it’s my missus’ car, but I’ll say it’s mine’.

The court documents state: ’Button’s successful career and lucrative sponsorship deals turned him to a very wealthy man and his fortune is estimated to be between $150- $170million.

‘Yet, despite his riches, Button had no qualms in listing a vehicle for sale, and advertising it as owned by him.

‘His reputation resulted in the car being sold for $166,000,’ adding ‘even though the same car was sold for users earlier for a mere $32,000.’

After Button shared a picture behind the wheel of the Bronco, his wife Brittny replied: 'Naughty boy! It's [sic] doesn't have plates'

After Button shared a picture behind the wheel of the Bronco, his wife Brittny replied: ‘Naughty boy! It’s [sic] doesn’t have plates’ 

Button has been married to his wife Brittny since 2020 and the couple have two children

Button has been married to his wife Brittny since 2020 and the couple have two children

Mr Eccles (pictured) asked Mr Button to refund the $166,000 and cancel the sale once he discovered the true ownership saying that he ¿obtained the amount by fraud¿

Mr Eccles (pictured) asked Mr Button to refund the $166,000 and cancel the sale once he discovered the true ownership saying that he ‘obtained the amount by fraud’

The paperwork adds: ’Even though the sale amount far exceeded the intrinsic value of the vehicle it was unconnected to Button.

‘As it turns out, Button did not own the car, and never did. The car was owned and driven by his wife Ward, who posted a picture of the car on her Instagram account with the caption ‘my girl’.

Mr Eccles asked Mr Button, who also works as a senior advisor for Williams Racing, to refund the $166,000 and cancel the sale once he discovered the true ownership saying that he ‘obtained the amount by fraud’.

In his claim the married father-of-two – who is a keen yachtsman – added that Mr Button had failed to mention the car needed ‘substantial repairs’ when it was listed.

It is not clear what the ‘substantial repairs’ are as the listing for the vehicle states it is in ‘fair condition’ with a number of ‘paint chips’ – although it does highlight the fuel injection adjuster display is not working but probably due to ‘not being correctly connected’. It then goes on to say there are ‘no other known electrical foibles’.

The 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 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 that Mr Eccles would not have purchased the car if he had known Mr Button’s girlfriend was the legal owner.

He adds that when he approached Button to cancel the sale Button ‘offered a picture of himself in the car’ and to ‘re-register it in his name’.

The document which was filed at Los Angeles County Court formally accuses Button and his wife of fraud, intentional misrepresentation and breach of contract and business code.

Mr Button (pictured, during his racing career in 2009) claims Mr Eccles is backing out of the deal because he is ¿unable to register the car¿ in his own country

Mr Button (pictured, during his racing career in 2009) claims Mr Eccles is backing out of the deal because he is ‘unable to register the car’ in his own country

Mr Eccles claims the car (pictured) is worth around $32,000, a fraction of that value because Mr Button's wife was the true owner

Mr Eccles claims the car (pictured) is worth around $32,000, a fraction of that value because Mr Button’s wife was the true owner

Lawyers for Mr Button say that Mr Eccles was ¿looking for way out of the deal¿ as he had ¿buyer¿s remorse¿ over the car (pictured)

Lawyers for Mr Button say that Mr Eccles was ‘looking for way out of the deal’ as he had ‘buyer’s remorse’ over the car (pictured)

But Button has hit back 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 “set controversies at rest before they lead to repudiation of obligations, invasions of rights or commissions of wrongs.”

His claim states Mr Eccles asked him to ‘hold onto the vehicle and put it in storage until he could arrange for transportation and registration in his home country’.

It also adds how Mr Eccles asked Button to make ‘improvements to the vehicle’ which he did and which involved fitting rear seatbelts which he paid for.

Mr Button claims Mr Eccles is backing out of the deal because he is ‘unable to register the car’ in his own country.

The counter claim adds that Mr Button and his wife are ‘ready, willing, and able to deliver the vehicle to Eccles but he refuses.’

Lawyers for Mr Button say that Mr Eccles was ‘looking for way out of the deal’ as he had ‘buyer’s remorse’.

Button married US former 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 date has been set for the hearing in Los Angeles despite the paperwork being filed late last year.

Brown, Neri, Smith and Khan who represent Mr Eccles and Foley, Bezek, Behle and Curtis who act for Mr Button, and who are both LA-based legal firms, have also been approached. Neither party has made a comment.

Los Angeles

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