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 is estimated $ 10M for sale by Gooding on August 21 in Pebble Beach, lot 135. It is illustrated along with other cars of its time in the press release.
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.
SOLD for $ 10.4M including premium