See also : Cars 1920s Cars 1930s Cars 1930-33 Cars 1934-35 Cars 1936-37
Chronology : 1929 1931 1934 1937
1929 Bugatti 35B
2021 SOLD for $ 5.6M by Gooding
Nevertheless the 35C remains the most successful in racing with its top speed of 202 km/h quite comparable with the 210 km/h of the 35B.
The day of fame of the 35B went on June 30, 1929 at Le Mans when a newly built works car driven by William Grover-Williams won the Grand Prix Automobile de France after leading from start the 37 lap 4:30 hour race. Its image with its driver is shared by Wikimedia from a press agency photo.
That competition was managed by the Automobile Club de France which had some specific rules concerning the fuel consumption. Back from Le Mans, the winning car was fitted with the usual pointed tailed body of the Type-35 Grand Prix. It was sold to Louis Chiron who drove it to victory in the Spanish Grand Prix at San Sebastian a few days later, on July 25, 1929.
Returned in 2006 to a period appropriate appearance using much of its Molsheim Grand Prix bodywork, this twice Grand Prix winner is still fitted with its original engine, chassis frame, supercharger, gearbox, rear and front axles. It is painted in French blue.
It was sold for $ 5.6M from a lower estimate of $ 3.5M by Gooding on August 14, 2021, lot 133. It is illustrated in second position in the press release shared by the auction house.
Sporting a powerful 2.3-liter, eight-cylinder engine fitted with a Roots-type supercharger, this 1929 #Bugatti Type 35B was the winner of the 1929 French and Spanish Grand Prix with Williams and Chiron. #PebbleBeachAuctions— Gooding & Company (@goodingandco) July 8, 2021
Learn More: https://t.co/9KpoRDWITw pic.twitter.com/UIke7oE95p
1931 La Royale
1987 SOLD for £ 5.5M(including premium ?) worth US$ 9.8M at that time, by Christie's
The prototype demonstrates the feasibility in 1926. Times change. The King of Spain, targeted as the emblematic client, is in difficulty. The economic crisis arises. Bugatti had planned 25 units. Only 6 are produced, each with another body type. The only king who shows interest in La Royale, Zog of Albania, is not accepted by Bugatti.
The business failure of La Royale is obvious. Three cars are sold. Ettore Bugatti's personal car will enter the Schlumpf collection in the 1960s. The other two, chassis 41140 and 41151, are acquired together in 1950 by Briggs Cunningham. Cunningham sells 41151 and keeps 41140 for his museum which closes in 1986.
Built in 1931, 41140 retains its original bodywork by Kellner, a two-door coupe for five passengers. It was sold on November 17, 1987 by Christie's for £ 5.5M, worth $ 9.8M at that time. I guess this figure includes the premium. It passed at Kruse in 1989, far below a reserve price of $ 15M.
The image is shared with attribution : Arnaud 25, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
1932 Type 55 Roadster
2016 SOLD for $ 10.4M by Gooding
The situation is uneasy. In racing, the glorious Type 35 is no more competitive and its successors Types 51, 53 and 54 do not reach the performance of their Alfa Romeo competitors. Too expensive, the Type 41 La Royale limousine appealed only three customers and its target of 25 units in production will never be achieved.
Fortunately the commercial success is maintained by a deluxe coupé designed in 1929 by Ettore and Jean, the Type 46 nicknamed La Petite Royale. Jean is 20 years old.
The Bugatti brand introduces in 1931 the Type 55 sports car with three factory bodywork options : coupé, cabriolet and roadster. Designed by Jean, this roadster introduces an increased elegance within the Bugatti range. In the following year, Jean gets inspired by this avant-garde experience to equip in roadster the La Royale purchased by Armand Esders.
From 1931 to 1936, 14 of the Type 55 chassis are equipped with Jean Bugatti's roadster. One of them made in 1932 was sold for $ 10.4M by Gooding on August 21, 2016, lot 135.
Despite the differentiation between sports and competition models, the car for sale had entered the Mille Miglia in 1932. Piloted by Achille Varzi who was then an official driver to Bugatti, it had to stop after the piercing of the fuel tank by a rock.
This car retained a high level of authenticity. It was completely dismantled for a careful restoration. The original engine and gearbox, replaced by replicas during the re-assembly, are included in the auction lot.
2020 SOLD for $ 7.1M by Bonhams
Victor Rothschild, heir to the barony of the British bankers, is not mistaken. Aged 21, he is a student at Cambridge where he leads a playboy life. He does not order La Royale or La Petite Royale but a Super Sport Jean Bugatti, which is assembled in August 1932. In 1936 he will be the very first of the three customers of the Bugatti Atlantic.
The 55 Super Sport generates passions up to current day. In 1985 Dr. Edmonds, a physicist at Boston University, learned that the Type 55 ex Rothschild was going to be auctioned at Sotheby's in London. He jumps into a Concorde and becomes the owner of the wonder for £ 440K, at the extreme limit of his financial possibilities, beyond the maximum price he had himself set.
Edmonds puts the car back into working condition with all its original equipment. In 1993 his Bugatti is First in class at Pebble Beach. He will never part with it. It was sold from his deceased estate, for $ 7.1M by Bonhams on March 5, 2020, lot 123.
1934 Type 59
2020 SOLD for £ 9.5M by Gooding
The 59 only wins two Grand Prix : at Spa because the Alfa Romeos had a crash and, more deservingly, in Algeria. The traceability of the Grand Prix Bugattis is based on the engines and not on the chassis, and it is impossible to discriminate between the individual cars their participations in the competitions.
These discouraging results could have been anticipated : the 59 is too heavy, too rigid, not powerful enough, with an outdated gearbox and poor brakes. It will not be replaced : following the success of his high-end sports car, the Type 55, Jean Bugatti gives priority to the roadsters.
In 1935 four 59 were sold to English customers. The car with the No. 5 engine undergoes a long series of modifications at the factory. Accustomed to its presence in their premises, the mechanics affectionately nicknamed it Grand-Mère.
Grand-Mère is now a Bugatti 59 Sports, bodyworked as a two-seaters for competitions on French roads where the Alfa Romeos do not come. Driven by Wimille, it achieves many successes in 1937. Significantly, its new chassis had been numbered like a 57, ultimately erasing the page of the 59s.
A great lover of luxury cars and an outstanding patron of the brand, Léopold III of Belgium acquires this one-off 59 Sports in 1938. Rediscovered in the former royal garage in 1967, it remains authentic in the configuration of its delivery by Bugatti to the king.
Grand-Mère was sold for £ 9.5M by Gooding on September 5, 2020, lot 4. Its image at Goodwood in 2012 is shared by Wikimedia with attribution : David Merrett from Daventry, England [CC BY].
1937 Bugatti Type 57
In its time the 57 S was only exciting the true connoisseurs. Its production was stopped in May 1938 for focusing onto the other variants whose commercial success was flourishing. Only 42 chassis 57 S have been produced.
The 57 S is offered in the catalog of the brand with a wide range of bodyworks : Galibier berline, Ventoux coach, Stelvio and Aravis cabriolets, Atalante and Atlantic coupes. They are manufactured in Colmar by Gangloff, a subcontractor of Bugatti. The Aravis cabriolet originally fitted 19 chassis 57 S. The supply of chassis to independent workshops on specific request from a customer or a retailer is also encouraged.
Jean Bugatti was one of the great innovators of automobile design. The lowered variant 57 S of the chassis type 57 paves the way for unprecedented solutions mingling sport and luxury, including the 57 S Atalante and Atlantic. From the beginning their rarity makes them true works of art, contemporary to the Mercedes-Benz 540K Spezial Roadster.
The ultimate Bugatti 57 variant is the supercharged SC, a very attractive option for the users because the car can now reach 190 km/h. A high proportion of 57 S were upgraded into 57 SC.
57 S / SC Atalante
2020 SOLD for £ 7.9M by Gooding
Also president of the Bugatti Owners' Club, Earl Howe closely follows all the developments of the brand. For the Grands Prix he uses a Type 51 in 1931, a Type 54 in 1932 and a Type 59 in 1935 and 1936. A 57 T specially built for him by Bugatti in 1935 was sold for € 710K by Bonhams on February 8, 2018.
For his personal use, this aristocrat wants the best. In November 1936, he orders to Bugatti a Type 57 with the new 57 S lowered chassis and the new Atalante coupe bodywork developed on behalf of Jean Bugatti. His car is ready in May 1937.
In 1960 a further owner of this Atalante, sick and reclusive, stops taking care of it. After his death in 2007, his heirs found it untouched for 47 years, covered in dust, with only 42,000 km on the odometer.
The car surfaced in the Bonhams sale at Retromobile on February 7, 2009, lot 142. Its cleaning confirmed that it was still in its original configuration, apart from a few secondary elements such as mirrors and bumpers and a supercharger added in 1948.
Bonhams experts estimated that its engine, which had not been running for half a century, could be operated again after disassembly and reconstruction. The car was sold for € 3.4M.
The original engine restarted as predicted. The Atalante was sold for £ 7.9M by Gooding on September 5, 2020, lot 15. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
57 S / SC Roadster by Vanden Plas
2016 SOLD for $ 9.7M by Bonhams
No American customer is interested and the Bugatti - Vanden Plas car returns to London. It is appreciated by Bugatti who pictures it in the 1937-1938 catalog and exhibits it at the 1938 London Motor Show, but it will nevertheless remain unique.
The car resurfaced slightly modified in 1947 as a Type 57 SC sports tourer. Its compressor will be replaced later by a similar equipment more in accordance with the original design of a Type .
This masterpiece of the Franco-British pre-war automobile was sold for $ 9.7M by Bonhams on March 10, 2016, lot 139. Its perfect working condition is demonstrated in the video shared by the auction house.
57 S / SC Atalante
2013 SOLD for $ 8.7M by Gooding
Made in 1937, it had been one of the first units to return to the factory for being equipped as an SC.
This car retains its original engine and body and is presented in an elegant original-like black finish.
57 SC Atalante
2008 SOLD for $ 7.9M by Gooding
The 57 SC Atalante coupe of 1937 was sold for $ 7.9M. A 35 B of 1928 originally owned by Louis Chiron was sold for $ 1.45M. A 55 roadster was sold for $ 1.75M.
This collection from an estate is unique in the range of models and the personality of their former owner, a professor of medicine whose passion for automobiles were raised exclusively for that brand and who was president of the American Bugatti Club. The proceeds from the sale will go to medical organizations.
Dr. Williamson had also owned one of the two surviving Bugatti 57 SC Atlantic. This car was sold for more than $ 30M in a private sale facilitated by Gooding in 2010.
57 S Cabriolet by Vanvooren
2017 SOLD for $ 7.7M by RM Sotheby's
Assembled in 1937, one of them has been carefully preserved by its successive owners and retains its original chassis, body, engine and gearbox. It was repainted in the early 1960s with elegant primrose yellow sides that reinforce its resemblance with an Atalante coupe.
This car was sold for $ 7.7M by RM Sotheby's on March 11, 2017, lot 232.