James Hunt's Hesketh goes under the hammer

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It's highly likely that most AOL Cars readers have seen Rush by now – if you haven't, go and rent it ASAP because it is brilliant – and know the story of James Hunt's Formula 1 career inside out.

Good, because that means the majority of you will also know that the fearsome 485bhp Hesketh 308 was the first car to catapult Hunt from lowly Formula 3 up-and-comer to Formula 1 superstar... and it's up for auction.

Set to fetch between €350,000-€650,000 (£289,000 - £538,218), the V8-powered speed machine, which was the brainchild of Lord Hesketh's in-house engineer Harvey "Doc" Postlewaite, experienced the many highs and lows of Formula 1 racing.

Hunt qualified on pole for the Race of Champions at Brands Hatch, but after contact with another car caused a loss of front bodywork, he was forced to eventually retire due to handling problems.

Hunt's first race win in this car came at the Silverstone International Trophy race, beating Ronnie Peterson's championship Lotus with a daring late-race pass.

The car has changed hands a few times since retiring from Formula 1 racing, heading to journalist/driver Harald Ertl in 1976 and then sold once again in 1988 when it underwent various performance upgrades.

The fifth owner, aided by Lord Hesketh, undertook a full restoration back to 1974 spec and in 2006, when it was sold to its current Las Vegas-based owner, it underwent a second renovation.

RM Auctions will offer chassis 308-1 with its FIA Historic Vehicle Identity Form and ACCUS/FIA U.S.A. Technical Passport, as well as an extensive selection of spares.

James Hunt's Hesketh

James Hunt's Hesketh