Bugatti news, 2020 Plus events

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Until January 27, 2020 Bugatti Exhibition Polytecnic museum, Moscow, Russia

With info, miniatures and some cars.

More info.

Thanks to Dmitriy V. Lisin

January 16-17, 2020 RM - Sotheby's Arizona Auction Phoenix, Arizona, USA

More info.

February 5 - 9, 2020 Retromobile Porte de Versailles, Paris, France

I have no confirmations yet, but usually there are more Bugattis at Retromobile then expected.

And always something unusual....

February 5, 2020 RM Sotheby's - PARIS Auction Place Vauban, Paris, France

More info.

February 6, 2020 Bonhams Auction, Les Grandes Marques du Monde au Grand Palais Paris, France

1913 Bugatti Type 13 Sports
Chassis no. 13 506 R, Engine no. 155

  • 1,327cc 8-valve engine
  • Alan Wragg replica chassis
  • New body by Michel Blanchard
  • Registered in Belgium

The Type 13 offered here consists of the 1,327cc 8-valve engine number '155' (ex-chassis '506'), a replica chassis frame built by Alan Wragg, and a new body made by Michel Blanchard. This car's major mechanical components passed through the hands of several well-known Bugatti collectors over the years before coming together as a rolling chassis while owned by John F Comey Sr of Ohio, USA. Among the genuine Bugatti parts Comey used were a non-braked front axle, a steering box and column, an oval radiator, and non-demountable wire wheels. In this form the Bugatti was sold from the late Mr Comey's estate at a US auction in June 2005, finding a new owner in France. The new body was ordered circa 2007 while the car was with Atelier Renaissance Automobiles. In early 2015, the body was modified by Theo and Juri Castricum of Castricum Collector Cars; the handbrake was moved outboard, new wings fabricated, a new fuel tank made, and the rear end redesigned to accommodate luggage.

Since returning to Europe, this Type 13 has been displayed at Époqu'Auto, Lyon (2008 and 2013), Rétromobile, Paris (2011) and Techno Classica, Essen (2010, 2011 and 2014). The Bugatti has belonged to the current (Belgian) owner since 2017. A full account of this Type 13's history and owners may be found in the accompanying Provenance Report compiled by Kees Jansen of The Bugatti Registry.

1922 Bugatti Type 23, (No further info yet)

1926 Bugatti Type 39, Chassis no. 4607 (No further info yet)

1927 Bugatti Type 40 'Grand Sport' Roadster
Chassis no. 40273, Engine no. 217

  • Delivered new in France
  • Highly original
  • An older restoration
  • Present ownership since 1997
  • Registered in France

Bugatti Type 40 number '40273' was delivered new as a rolling chassis, provisionally for a two-seat body, on 14th February 1927 having been ordered by Jerôme Wagner of Mützig, France. The Wagners were very close friends of the Bugatti family; Jérôme Wagner's father, Camille Wagner, was proprietor of Bières Mützig, and together with his friend, Baron Augustin de Vizcaya, a prominent Strasbourg banker, helped Etorre Bugatti to set up his factory in Molsheim in 1909. Following a Type 13, Jerôme Wagner owned several Bugattis: a Type 40 (this car), a Type 49, and finally two Type 57s.

'40273' has been in the same ownership since 1997. The present owner acquired the car via Jean-François 'Frankie' Du Montant, who apparently had sold it to its previous owner, a gentleman in France, nearly 10 years earlier (circa 1988/1989). It is likely that Du Montant had brought '40273' to France from England around the time of Morand's purchase of the car.

Whatever the case, it is certain that '40273' spent many years in the UK where it was totally restored at some point. It is believed that the car received gearbox number '23' (with cover number '40') perhaps at a time when the well-known Bugatti aficionado Jack Lemon Burton was still active. A photograph of a portion of the chassis of '40273', taken during restoration, appears in Barrie Price and Jean-Louis Arbey's book Bugatti Type 40 (page 15). It shows an alternator mounted on a pulley on the gearbox. The pulley remains in place today. It is assumed that the car received its current 'Grand Sport' coachwork while undergoing restoration in the UK. The style or type of its original coachwork is unknown. At the beginning of 2000 the engine was rebuilt in France by Novo, while the interior was restored four years ago.

We are advised by the vendor that '40273' has no suspect or disguised parts: the chassis ('288'), engine ('217'), rear axle and most of the rest are completely original to this car, while the gearbox and cam box are not original to this chassis but are authentic Bugatti parts.

1931 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster
Coachwork by Figoni
Chassis no. 55221

Following 56 years in the ownership of one British family, Chassis no. 55221 will be offered for the first time at auction next year. One of only 38 examples of the Type 55 Super Sports model produced between 1932 and 1935, it is one of just 29 known surviving models

Powered by a 2.3-litre, supercharged, twin-cam, eight-cylinder engine – a detuned variant of the engine in the Grand Prix-winning Bugatti Type 51 – at launch, the 110,000 FF ($7,500) model boasted blistering acceleration, covering 0-60mph in 13 seconds and setting a new road car top speed of 115mph. To the discerning motor car fan, the Type 55 was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a Grand Prix challenger in a sports car body.

This fine example started life as a works entry in the 1932 24 Hours of Le Mans, driven by charismatic French racers Louis Chiron and Count Guy Bouriat-Quintart, and fitted with a temporary four-seater body in order to meet the event’s regulations. Unfortunately, the fuel tank split after three hours’ racing, and the Type 55 was forced to retire.

Fresh from Le Mans, Count Bouriat sold the Bugatti to wealthy French magazine publisher Jacques Dupuy, who immediately did away with the much-praised, doorless body, designed by Jean Bugatti, son of Ettore. Instead, he commissioned noted Parisian automotive designer Giuseppe Figoni to create a unique two-seat Type 55 coachwork, including full doors complete with wind up windows, providing ease of access and protection from the elements while retaining a continuous bodywork. Many argued that Figoni’s design considerably improved upon Jean Bugatti’s work.

New owner Dupuy then entered the Type 55 into the 1933 Paris-Nice Rally, La Journée de l’Elégance et de l’Automobile au Bois de Boulogne concours d’élégance. Predictably, it excelled in all three.

The Second World War put a stop to all racing activity, and in 1962 the Bugatti was brought to England by A.A. Morse, who the following year sold it to leading Vintage racer Geoffrey St John in 1963.

And in the St John family hands it has remained ever since, receiving first a restoration in 1966, and once again thirty years later following a road accident in France. Following this accident, the chassis was painstakingly repaired by specialist Gino Hoskins.

Of the rare auction piece, Director of Bonhams UK Motor Cars Sholto Gilbertson commented: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire an extremely historic and important motor car owned by the same family for 56 years.

“Over the years, the family have resisted many offers and we are very much looking forward to presenting the Bugatti for sale in Paris next February. Everyone will now have an equal opportunity to secure one of the most important motor cars to come to market in recent years.”

1938 Bugatti Type 57 Atalante Coupé
Chassis no. 57633, Engine no. 463 (No further info yet)

1939 Bugatti Type 57C Cabriolet 4 seats, Coachwork by Gangloff
Chassis no. 57836, Engine no. 93C

At the end of May 1939, G. Groslambert, owner of Garage Carnot in Besançon, ordered a drophead coupé Stelvio type 57C from the Bugatti factory. Chassis 57836/93C arrived at carrosserie Gangloff on June 8th 1939. The body was completed on July 24th for the sum of 30 000 francs. The drophead was delivered at Garage Carnot for Georges Groslambert, on July 28th 1939. The invoice amounted to 108.000 francs. No cars were delivered by the factory between July 8th and 28th 1939, for the obvious reason of summer holidays. This Bugatti Stelvio is one of the last two completed by Gangloff before the war was declared : 57834/103C and 57836/93C came out of the Colmar workshop in July 1939. It was the last Stelvio sold before the war. In May 1940 the last type 57C Gangloff drophead coupé, chassis 57805, was built and kept by the factory during the war.
Georges Groslambert was the owner of Grand Garage Carnot , at 10-18 avenue Carnot in Besançon. He was a stockist agent for Bugatti and covered the Doubs, Jura and Haute-Saône departments.

After G. Groslambert's passing, his widow sold the Bugatti to one of his friends and clients, Pierre Sironi. He was also a native of Besançon, born in 1912 and the owner of the company « Éts Croméclair-Pistolux » whose offices were in Paris, 16 rue Clovis-Hugues and factories at Noisy-le-Grand, rue du 26 août 1944. He specialised in pneumatic pistols, cellulose and synthetic varnish sprayers for cars, bikes, pieces of furniture, radiators.... P.Sironi prided himself on having painted the ocean liner France. He registered the 57C drophead at his Parisian office address, 16 rue Clovis-Hugues. The car was registered in the new registration system under Georges Groslambert's name at his address, 61 avenue de la République, with plate number 6431 FZ 75, on May 7th 1957. The change to Pierre Sironi's name on the carte grise is dated June 9th 1957. According to Christian Groslambert's memory, grandson of the industrialist from Besançon, an engine breakdown of the vehicle stopped P. Sironi on his first drive from Besançon to Paris. Mrs Sironi could remember travels to Chamonix during the winters of 1958 and 1959... It is quite possible the car was used a few times before the final breakdown.

The mechanicals remained dismantled for a long time and the car would never really drive again. Nevertheless, it seems that it was repaired before being sold. On a nice day in 1969, looking for a Delage D8S he could not find, young Alain Galopin, drove through a small village in the Oise department when he noticed through the open gate of a mansion... half the grille of a Bugatti 57 in a garage at the bottom of the park. He got in touch with the owner, M. Sironi, and the deal was sealed under the control of his wife who appeared to be in charge of the couple's finances. The beautiful 57C was repainted in a less than flattering red by Sironi. In 1977, the car entered finally A. Galopin's collection who entrusts its restoration to the Établissements André Lecoq in Saint-Ouen. The original ivory colour was found on some parts of the bodywork and the Bugatti regained its original livery. The mechanisms were serviced by M. Sochon, appointed mechanic of the restorer.

When bought by A. Galopin the odometer read circa 30.000 km. It shows today a genuine 47.000 km! Three or four years after the sale, the Delage D8S of his dreams was offered to A. Galopin in exchange of his drophead 57C. He declined the offer having promised the vendor's family never to sell the car and also after having tested both vehicles on the road ! From 1978 on, the new owner used his proud drophead coupé regularly on few and rare chosen occasions. He was a faithful attendant at the Festivals Bugatti in Molsheim every year in September. The former race department chief mechanic Robert Aumaitre, he met at one of the Maurice Trintignant Jubilees in Carpentras in May 1982, was often his privileged passenger. He would give precious pieces of advice to the young Bugattiste... like the one suggesting to change to fourth gear as soon as possible over 60 km/h : « Take top gear, there's a blower ». Indeed the engine flexibility allows it and the engine would respond instantly with no lag time. The only fault with this method, was that consumption jumped to 24,5 litres. The two big 50 litres tanks were then very useful. On the highway, this grande routière finds its pace at 150-160 km/h then up to 180 km/h and shows modern cars that a Bugatti is still competitive. Lockheed brakes are very efficient to stop the drophead coupé weighing 1,700 kg.

Inspection of the vehicle confirms its history as a vehicle having been barely used :

  • On the left side of the 57C dashboard, one finds a very rare Jaeger Chronoflight with a white background. It is visible on the photos taken at the time of the discovery of the car. Exclusivity of the brand, first reserved on airplanes, it became fashionable on most desirable sports car dashboards in the thirties, like Bugatti's Atlantic.
  • The dashboard is of the six dial type 57C model.
  • The tachymeter was never connected : The vendor's family states that Ettore Bugatti put it like that because G. Groslambert usually mistook km/h with rpm !
  • Henri Novo unsuccessfully tried to convince A. Galopin to make it functional. So you have to drive by the sound...

More info.

February 7, 2020 Artcurial Retromobile Auction Retromobile, Paris, France

1927/28 Bugatti 37/44 monoplace
Chassis n° 37334 Engine n°(44)686
  • Pre-war built
  • Well documented, known history by David Sewell
  • High performance

This car began its career as a Bugatti 37 with a 1.5-litre engine. When it was owned by the wife of John Houldsworth, who used to race it, the car suffered a major engine failure, with the conrods going through the block. Houldsworth, a Bugatti enthusiast, then contacted a specialist who also raced Bugatti, Jack Lemon Burton, suggesting he buy the car for scrap. Which Burton promptly did in the 30's, for approximately £50, using it to build himself a " special " that was fast and suitable for hill-climbing. In place of the modest 4-cylinder original engine, he decided to install a 3-litre 8-cylinder Type 44 Bugatti engine, twice as big as the Type 37 engine and fitted with a supercharger. He recalls in a letter dated 23 July 1976 " That was hard work. (…) The steering wheel was a gift from R. Thomas to the younger brother of J. Duller, who thought it would go well on this car. " As the 3-litre engine was considerably longer than the original 1.5-litre engine, the Type 37 chassis, the hood and the engine mountings were all modified. The front axle was replaced with a wider Type 43/44 element with bigger brakes, better suited to the increased weight. The gear box and rear axle came from a Grand Prix Bugatti, although the transmission was subsequently replaced with an Armstrong preselector gearbox, which is still on the car and has made it possible to remove the standard clutch. It was then given a single-seater body allowing Jack Lemon Burton to take part successfully in his machine in various hillclimb and sprint events.

Burton then sold the car to his friend Kenneth Bear, another Bugatti enthusiast. Bear ran the car without the supercharger (powered by four carburettors) with a bit more gusto than his predecessor, finishing 2nd in a hillclimb at Prescott in 1939, just behind the Type 59 of Arthur Baron. When he died at the end of the 1940s, the car was bought by Bert Raven who continued competing in it, achieving some good results in the late 1950s. He kept the Bugatti until he passed away at the end of the 1980s, when it was restored by the specialist Ivan Dutton and offered for sale by Dan Margulies, one of the most well-respected British dealers. A copy of a letter dated from 1992 from the Bugatti Owners Club, coming in the file, confirms to him the car was built by Jack Lemon Burton before the SWW and is fitted with a genuine original Grand Prix Bugatti chassis frame.

According to a letter from the Bugatti historian and specialist David Sewell, the chassis is an authentic Type 37, in all probability n°557, which corresponds to car n°37334. It has a Grand Prix radiator with parallel sides and the centrally-mounted steering box has " R " stamped on the top and the side. The aero screen is an Avro and curiously, the bodywork has an Ettore Bugatti coachwork plaque fixed in the cockpit. The registration number, NPH 254 dates from August 1949. The engine is stamped with number 686 as well as the number of the chassis it came from, n°44999. The car comes with a history file and various letters and we advise anyone interested in this particularly original machine to consult these.

Eligible for VSCC and other historic events, this car has a lightweight chassis and an engine that is considerably more powerful than the original one. It has an unusually high performance, with the personality of a " muscle car " ahead of its time. Created as an indirect result of the failure of the original engine, it is typical of the modifications carried out by experienced enthusiasts, at a time when the value of the car didn't prevent creativity. Such a modification wouldn't be carried out today making this car an exciting testimony to the period, appealing to those enthusiasts who like the unusual.

1934 Bugatti Type 57 Cabriolet par Vanvooren
Chassis n° 57162, Engine n° 134

  • Original body, matching numbers
  • One of two surviving examples
  • Owned by a number of art lovers
  • Unregistered

Bugatti and Vanvooren
The collaboration between the Molsheim constructor and the coachbuilder from Courbevoie coincided with the arrival of Robert de Prandières at Vanvooren in 1929. He was largely responsible for the relationship with Bugatti, and also happened to be a close friend of Dominique Lamberjack Junior, the largest Bugatti dealer in Paris with a showroom at 68 rue Bayen. From 1930, Vanvooren designed for Bugatti several closed bodies on 3-litre Type 44 chassis. There was also a coach and a faux cabriolet body available for the 5-litre chassis. In 1931, a 2-door, 4-seater coach Type 49 was added to the range. At the end of 1931, Lamberjack obtained exclusive rights to sell Type 55 chassis delivered in Paris, and between 1932 and 1935, six Type 55 chassis were bodied at Courbevoie.

The Type 57s bodied by Vanvooren
When the Type 57 went into production in 1934, Lamberjack sent several of these chassis to Vanvooren to be fitted with 4-seater cabriolet bodies. There were numerous 4-door, 4-seater Type 57 saloons built in Courbevoie between 1934 and 1936. Four Type 57S chassis were given Vanvooren cabriolet bodies between 1936 and 1937. Three coupés and a roadster were built between 1938 and 1939.

The Type 57 cabriolets by Vanvooren 1934-1939
The numbers of this type of body produced were limited compared to the number of coach and saloon bodies built for different chassis between 1930 and 1936. Following extensive research into the Type 57 chassis delivered and not bodied by Bugatti or Gangloff, we have compiled a fairly accurate list of Type 57 chassis given cabriolet bodies by Vanvooren. It appears that there were no more than twelve examples built between 1934 and 1939, the whole period of production. Two cabriolet designs were offered to clients by the coachbuilder from the spring of 1934. The first design was for a cabriolet with fold-down windscreen, with sloping vents on the bonnet, suicide doors, flanges on the rear wings and no sign of a trunk. The second cabriolet model had doors opening from back to front, a fixed windscreen, vertical vents in the bonnet and metal rear trunk.

The car presented in the sale, chassis 57162, was built from the second design. In 1934, just four Type 57 cabriolets were produced by Vanvooren and 57162 was the last of these, delivered to Lamberjack on 10 November 1934. It had the spare wheels on the front wings. In 1935, Vanvooren produced three Type 57 cabriolets including 57269, which was the fourth and last car to be built from the second design, and the only one not to have spare wheels on the front wings. Between 1936 and 1939, only four other 4-seater cabriolets were built by Vanvooren, with a 2-seater cabriolet, chassis 57430, delivered in 1936 and a 2-seater roadster, chassis 57808c from 1939, completing the list. Of the twelve known cabriolets built, just four bodies have survived on their original chassis, including 57162.

The Cabriolet Vanvooren chassis 57162
The chassis 57162/engine 134 was assembled at the factory in October 1934 along with 22 other chassis fitted with engines 100 - 124. It was delivered by rail, on 10 November 1934, to the largest Bugatti dealer in Paris, Dominique Lamberjack, at 68 rue Bayen. His client was Baron Charles Brincard, son of the President of Crédit Lyonnais. The coachwork was built in the Vanvooren workshop on Rue Pierre Lhomme in Courbevoie to be finished by Christmas 1934. The car was delivered to the Baron's private mansion at 1 rue Saint Dominique, Paris VII.

Charles-Henri BRINCARD (1899-1970)
Brincard was born in Deauville on 31 August 1899, at his parents' holiday home on Rue des Villas. The family lived in a huge private mansion on the corner of rue Saint Dominique in the 7th arrondissement in Paris. Baron Charles Brincard was a regular client of the Molsheim marque. He acquired a 3-litre Lavocat & Marsaud Torpédo in 1928, and another 3-litre car in the spring of 1929, before ordering a 5-litre model in February 1930 and a Type 50 roadster the following July. A typed note from the showroom on avenue Montaigne states : " 57162. Mr Brincard Charles ,Baron, 1 Rue St Dominique, Paris. " The car was delivered to him, as was his Type 50, by the Parisian dealer Dominique Lamberjack .
We know of no other Bugatti Type 57 in the Baron's name, and assume that he kept his cabriolet 57 for several years. The car left Paris for a period of time to return again in the spring of 1940. It was registered at the Paris Prefecture with the number 9879 RM 3 on 28 May 1940. It is believed to have spent the war in a Parisian garage, before being sold in Gironde afterwards.
We come across it again in Arcachon at the end of winter 1947. The cabriolet was registered 3792 GC 3, on 5 February 1947 in the name of : Jean Bové, Insurer, Villa Vermeil, Boulevard de la Teste, Le Moulleau, Arcachon. There is a photo of the car, probably taken in Arcachon that shows the 1940 Parisian number plate. This leads us to believe that Bové drove around for a while with the old 1940 plates, and must have bought the car in Paris before 1947. Three years later, on 27 June 1950, the cabriolet returned to the capital, with the registration 2674 G 75, in the name of Fernand Bezé, engineer, living a 22 rue d'Estienne d'Orves in Colombes. He kept the car for two years before selling it at the end of 1952.
On 29 December 1952, the Vanvooren cabriolet was acquired by: Pierre LOEB, retailer, living at 2 rue des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He was not a simple retailer, however, and the address 2, rue des Beaux-Arts, was a special place.

Pierre LOEB (1897-1964)
The twins Edouard and Pierre Loeb, were born in Paris on 24 September 1897 to Alsatian parents, at their home, 11 rue Ambroise Thomas in the 9th arrondissement. The twins were called up in 1916, and at the end of the war, they joined the family wholesale lace and tulle business, as travelling salesmen. In an interview for the Express in 1964, Pierre Loeb recalls : " I sold lace for my father, and with my savings I bought paintings… My father said to me, you love painting, well, go and sell them ! Et voila ! "
It was a family friend, Doctor Tzanck, a collector of artists such as Pascin, Derain and Friesz, who introduced him to painting and encouraged him to take this path. The Galerie Pierre opened on 17 October 1924 at 13 rue Bonaparte, with an exhibition of work by Pascin. At the opening, Loeb met Picasso. By 1925, the gallery had already shown work by Gromaire and Miro. The first Picasso exhibition at Galerie Pierre, which had moved to 2, rue des Beaux-Arts, was in December 1927. Forced into exile during the war, the Loeb family went to Marseille in December 1941 and on to Havana. It was due to Picasso's intervention that the gallery was returned to Pierre Loeb in November 1945. After the Liberation, the gallery hosted work by such artists as Giacometti, Artaud, Dora Maar, Zao-Wou-Ki…The first exhibition of the Canadian painter Jean-Paul Riopelle took place in May 1953. Pierre Loeb bought a large part of his work and once the artist's career had been launched, success came quickly. At this time, Loeb was using his Bugatti cabriolet Vanvooren and offered his friend Riopelle the means to enjoy the same passion : Riopelle bought two cabriolets in 1956 and 1958 that he kept until his death in 2002.
On 15 April 1955, the cabriolet Vanvooren was registered in the name of : Bernard Dufour, Artist painter, living at 7 rue de la Grande Chaumière, Paris VI. His studio was opposite Gauguin's at number 8, the residence of painter Charles Maussion who drove a Bugatti Type 40 roadster.

Bernard DUFOUR (1922-2016)
Born in Paris on 21 November 1922, Bernard Dufour was originally an agricultural engineer before becoming an artist after the Second World War. He exhibited at the Salon in May 1946 and at the Galerie Maeght in 1948. It was Pierre Loeb who really launched the artist's career. He held exhibitions for his friend Dufour at the Galerie Pierre every year between 1955 and 1963. The first show was held on 10 - 25 June 1955, shortly after the transfer of ownership of the Bugatti. In an interview published in 2012, Dufour confided : " I had two Bugatti, a large eight-cylinder cabriolet, and a small four-cylinder car from 1924. I had a passion for these machines that I had repaired at the Bugatti factory in Molsheim. "
On 30 October 1957, the Bugatti moved to the department of Eure, registered with the number 454 CM 28. The new owner is believed to have been an American by the name of Phillips. Shortly afterwards, the car sold to Jean Chevalérias, 101 avenue du Maine. He was a great Bugatti enthusiast who also owned a Type 57 Galibier, a cabriolet 57C Gangloff and several Type 40s. At some point before 1961, the cabriolet Vanvooren was acquired by Henri Petiet, of 8 rue de Tournon in Paris. He appears as the owner in the " Bugatti Register " published by H.G.Conway in 1962. The car was then registered in the department of Eure, with the number 252 EK 27.

Henri PETIET (1894-1980).
Petiet was a visionary collector. His father, a railway engineer, was the 4th Baron of the Empire. His older brother, Baron Charles, was Vice-President of the A.C.F., who had many roles in the automotive field including being the constructor of Ariès vehicles, an adventure that Henri Petiet became involved in. In the mid-60s, the cabriolet Bugatti Vanvooren was sold by Petiet to the collector André Laporte (1915-1996), president of the F.F.V.E from 1980 to 1991, who lived in Hérault. He didn't restore the car which was no longer driving by then as the engine had seized. After his death, the Bugatti sold at a Poulain-Le Fur auction in Montpellier on 4 October 1998. During this sale, it was noted that the car, with just 32,320 km on the odometer, had light blue coachwork, blue leather upholstery and a hood requiring repair. The buyer undertook a full restoration and the cabriolet Vanvooren then joined a big Spanish collection.
The car presented today is one of two survivors of four Type 57s by Vanvooren to design no.2 (the other being 57274). If it is permissible for an artist to produce eight examples of a work, the " type 57 model N°2 " series was never finished by Vanvooren. In the garage that will be this car's new exhibition space, it should be surrounded by a portrait of Pierre Loeb by Denise Colomb, next to a nude by Bernard Dufour, a lithograph by Riopelle and a print by Picasso from the Petiet collection. If you take the car from Rue de Beaux-Arts, to Rue de la Grande Chaumière and on to rue de Tournon, it will show you the route it knows so well.
The Bugatti is not a static work of art, but a rare industrial object displaying precision in movement, created by a brilliant artist and built by talented craftsmen. The enlightened visionaries who have spent time looking at it were not mistaken.

1935 Bugatti 57 torpédo "Paris-Nice"
Chassis n° 57300, Engine n° 57300/154

  • Outstanding competition history
  • Just one owner between 1940 and 2004
  • Restored to original configuration
  • German title

Presented in 1933 and equipped with a brilliant 3.3-litre twin-cam engine, the Bugatti Type 57 was one of the best Grand Touring machines on the market, while not claiming to have particular sporting pretensions. At the Paris Motor Show in 1934, the constructor made an initial attempt to give it a more dynamic image by presenting a " Grand Raid " version with several modifications to the chassis. One of the most notable of these was the driving position, moved further back to allow sportier coachwork to be fitted. In total, it is believed Bugatti built 10 examples of these special versions.

It was one of these chassis that caught the eye of Gaston Descollas, who was then the Bugatti agent in Marseille and an amateur rally driver : in 1934, he won the French Rallye des Alpes and the international Coupe des Alpes at the wheel of a Type 57 Galibier, and no doubt the more sporting character of this new version is what appealed to him. He bought chassis n° 57300 and had a lightweight and minimalist torpedo body fitted, in aluminimum over a wooden structure. According to a friend of the Descollas family, this was carried out by the coachbuilder Dubos, from Marseille, and the car was registered on 3 January 1935 with the number 5822 CA 7.

Once the car was ready, it took part in the Ladies' Paris-St-Raphaël rally on 27 February, driven by Gaston's wife, Claire Descollas. This was a very popular event amongst women drivers, and over the years many well-known names have taken part, including Hellé Nice, Betty Haig, Claudine Trautman, Annie Soisbault and Marianne Hoepfner. In 1935, the winning driver was Olga Thibault in a Peugeot 201. Soon after this Gaston Descollas entered the 'Critérium international de tourisme Paris-Nice' known simply as the " Paris-Nice ", which set off on 13 April. There were over 100 participants, and this was a rally attracting experienced drivers. The previous year it had been won by Jean Trévoux who, at the wheel of a Hotchkiss 20 CV, was just beginning an impressive career that would see him win the Monte-Carlo Rally. Gaston Descollas performed magnificently, winning the event, before clocking up two other victories in the Rallye de la FNCAF and the Alpes Françaises. He had less luck in the Liège-Rome-Liège, in August, when he was forced to retire.

In 1936, the Bugatti was fitted with a closed Ventoux body, built by Gangloff, more comfortable for touring. On 24 March 1936, the car was registered in the name of Mr Giniès, with the number 4473 ZA 3 (Vaucluse), before returning to the Bouches-du-Rhône a few months later. It was registered in the name of Mr. Vives on 6 May 1936 with the number 6426 CA 8. Vives was a Spanish businessman, and it is possible that he imported the car into Spain. The Bugatti was still there on 18 December 1940 when it sold to Mr Senchermes, based in Barcelona, who registered it B-67.700. Astonishingly, this Bugatti then stayed in the same ownership until 2004, the year it was bought by the current owner, a German enthusiast. By 2004, the Ventoux coachwork had been replaced with an open body. Using photos sourced by the Bugatti Trust, the owner was able to restore the car to its torpedo configuration at the time of the 1935 Paris-Nice rally.

Apart from the rebuilt bodywork, most of the components are original, including the gearbox and the rear axle n°154, with assembly number 024. The engine block, which had been damaged, was replaced with an original block, and various parts were sourced through the Bugatti Owners Club. The bonnet is original and the car was repainted by the Matzner workshop. This is a piece of history, the 'missing link' between the Type 57 tourer and the future 57 G competition model that would win the Le Mans 24 Hours. Having rediscovered its original configuration, it is a stunning testimony to a period when an amateur driver could take part in an international rally without extensive race prep, and win.

More info.

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