1998 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster Replica, Chassis no. BC146
Lot 268
1998 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster Replica
Registration no. UC 6140 Chassis no. BC146
Sold for £214,300 (US$ 286,445) inc. premium

Lot Details
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1998 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster Replica
Registration no. UC 6140
Chassis no. BC146
Manufactured in Argentina
• First registered in 2001
• Engine and running gear made by Crosthwaite & Gardiner
• German TüV approved

Footnotes

  • By the early 1930s Ettore Bugatti had established an unrivalled reputation for building cars with outstanding performance on road or track; the world's greatest racing drivers enjoying countless successes aboard the Molsheim factory's products and often choosing them for their everyday transport. In 1927 Bugatti had produced the Type 43 Grand Sport - the first 100mph Grand Prix-engined sporting chassis suitable for everyday road use. It was in effect a close-coupled four-seater touring model powered by the supercharged Type 35B Grand Prix engine. Because of its lengthy run of success, Ettore Bugatti remained stubbornly committed to this single-cam engine, only adopting the more advanced double-overhead-camshaft method of valve actuation, after much prompting by his eldest son Jean, on the Type 50 of 1930. From then on Jean Bugatti took greater responsibility for design, his first car being the exquisite Type 55 roadster, a model ranking among the finest sports cars of the 1930s.

    The Type 55's 2,262cc, supercharged, twin-cam, straight-eight engine was carried over in slightly de-tuned form from the successful Type 51 Grand Prix car - successor to the legendary Type 35 - and fitted in the Grand Prix Type 54's ladder frame chassis. The precocious Jean Bugatti added his own individual touch, designing a sublime two-seat roadster body that is universally acknowledged as one of the finest ever to grace an automobile. Unlike the Type 43, this new model was invariably a two-seater that was often referred to, quite justifiably, as the 'Super Sport'. Aimed at only the wealthiest clientele, the Type 55 sold in commensurately limited numbers, a mere 38 being built between 1932 and 1935, the vast majority of these in the first year of production. Indeed, it truly was the ultimate exclusive supercar of the early 1930s. Even its closest rival, the 8C Alfa Romeo, was produced in far greater numbers, the majority of which were in long-chassis form and often fitted with four-seater coachwork. In contrast, almost half of the 38 Type 55 Bugattis built were fitted with Jean Bugatti-designed roadster or closed coupé coachwork, the classic roadster being considered by many cognoscenti to be by far the most outstandingly attractive sports car ever offered to the motoring public.
    This Bugatti Type 55 re-creation was constructed with the minutest attention to detail, using a combination of original and reproduction parts, by South Trading of Argentina. It was obviously a very expensive project, and their only attempt at that particular model. The car was completed in 1993 but not registered in Argentina until 2001.

    The dickey-seat coachwork is built to an exceptionally high standard and includes a full set of carpets and tonneau cover to protect the front compartment. Paintwork is in period-correct red/black, understood to be similar to the first production car; indeed, this Bugatti Type 55 is almost completely indistinguishable from an original, even down to the full roller-bearing crankshaft and supercharger. The main running gear components: engine, gearbox, steering, brakes, etc were made new using original drawings by the renowned Crosthwaite & Gardiner, one of the world's leading manufacturers and suppliers of parts to the historic motor racing industry.

    After being imported into Europe, and with EU taxes paid, the car was TüV matriculated in Munich, Germany. Since then the Bugatti has been in the very capable hands of the former proprietor of noted classic car experts, Hofmann's of Henley. Over the last eight years, much money has been spent on sourcing and manufacturing correct components to make this Bugatti Type 55 indistinguishable from an original. Being a perfectionist, the current owner removed the engine, stripping it down to its individual components together with the axles and brakes. Having been stripped and minutely checked, they now conform to Bugatti specifications, with special attention being paid to the engine oil-tightness and tuning. This Bugatti Type 55 now performs just like a standard original model, and in 2013 was driven on a tour of Sicily, behaving impeccably.

    Aside from that, the owner's involvement with Rolls-Royce has offered few opportunities for its use, and the Bugatti has lain idle, though started regularly and given regular five-mile runs to keep it in full working order. The car is offered with a UK V5C Registration Certificate and all necessary documents from the DVLA, together with a UK period-style number plate, road tools, and some spares. With original matching-number examples worth millions, this Bugatti Type 55 represents a rare opportunity to acquire an authentic looking recreation at a fraction of the price.
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