1930 Bugatti Type 35B Grand Prix Race CarSOLD
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Estimate: $600,000-$800,000 US

AUCTION RESULTS: Lot was Sold at a price of $605,000

130hp 2,262cc overhead cam inline eight-cylinder supercharged engine with roller bearings, four-speed gearbox, four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 2,380mm

The Type 35 Bugatti made its first appearance in the 1924 French Grand Prix held at Lyon, and was immediately acknowledged as being a truly outstanding machine that combined mechanical functionality and pleasing aesthetics throughout its design.

The front axle beam was hollow throughout its length but solid at its ends and incorporated two integral boxes through which the front springs passed. Similarly innovative, the eight-spoke road wheels, which were of cast aluminum construction, incorporated an integral brake drum, thereby simplifying the overall design while at the same time achieving improved brake cooling. The braking system itself was operated from a centrally mounted cross-shaft and open cables, but cleverly incorporated three differentials to ensure that an equal tension prevailed in each cable at all times.

But the real masterpiece of the car, as with most successful racing cars from the earliest days of the sport, was its engine, which was of classic straight-eight configuration. Its crankshaft, instead of having only three main bearings, had five main bearings and roller-bearing big ends, thereby raising its maximum safe speed by around 50% to yield a corresponding power increase. The paired cylinder blocks with integral heads featuring two inlet and one exhaust valve operated via crossed finger rockers from a single overhead camshaft.

The standard Bugatti multi-plate wet clutch drove a four-speed gearbox featuring a geared-up layshaft permitting remarkably rapid gear changes. The rear axle was of conventional construction but was suspended by a pair of reversed quarter-elliptic rear springs as had characterized all Bugattis since 1913 and would continue to do so on all later models.

The design of the two-seat bodywork was extremely attractive, its lines proceeding in one continuous smooth curve from the leading edge of its elegant horseshoe radiator to the tip of its pointed tail, complemented by a full-length undertray.

Although the Grand Prix formula limited engine capacity to 1500cc for 1926 and 1927, inevitably the Roots-type Bugatti supercharger in varying sizes was soon applied to the larger-engined versions for use in Formula Libre events, the Types 35 and 35T becoming the Types 35C (for “ Compresseur ” ) and 35TC respectively in blown form. The Type 35TC soon became universally known as the Type 35B which was the most powerful variant of the Type 35 to be produced.

Performance of the Type 35B Bugatti can be summarized briefly in a few figures: a top speed of 125mph, acceleration from rest to 60mph in six seconds, a standing quarter-mile in under 15 seconds and incredible tractability—50 to 70mph in top gear, for example, in about 4 seconds. But remarkable as these figures are, they are but mere statistics which can in no way convey the sheer exhilaration of driving such a machine against the background roar of the engine, the howl of the gearbox, the bark of the exhaust, the intoxicating smell of hot castor and the delightful feeling of being at one with an exquisite piece of thoroughbred machinery in which all the component parts are working smoothly and sweetly in unison. Only around 40 examples of the Type 35B Bugatti were produced, of which less than a dozen can accurately be described as having survived to the present day in essentially original form.

Chassis no. 4948
The Bugatti Type 35B Grand Prix race car chassis number 4948 and engine number 200T competed in the 1930 Monaco Grand Prix. It was driven by Guy Bouriat and finished third overall in a Bugatti dominated race. Following the race event it was sold by the factory to Joachim von Morgan of Germany. From there, 4948 was shipped directly to von Morgan in Germany who continued to race this 35B throughout the 1930 and 1931 racing season. Joachim von Morgan later returned the Type 35B to the factory in exchange for a new Type 51 Bugatti. The factory resold it almost immediately to Paul Pietsch, the future Auto Union team driver and German publishing magnate. After racing the Type 35B throughout the 1932 season, Pietsch sold the car to Herbert Wimmer. Wimmer competed in the Type 35B from 1933 to 1936. It is believed he sold the Bugatti to Heinrich Herbster following the war. The history then becomes a bit muddled, as Bugatti 4948 was involved with various German drivers and constructors involved in hillclimbs and as a monoposto car.

Eventually, 4948 found its way to America in a disassembled state. Shortly after its arrival, its curved side frame rails were sold to a Bugatti collector on the West Coast.

Over the ensuing decades, chassis number 4948 was stored until being purchased in the late 1970s by its current owner. A lengthy and painstaking restoration was undertaken with the aim of returning the Bugatti to its original 1930 Monaco Grand Prix livery. It was painted in French Racing Blue and fitted with a black interior. A new chassis was replicated to exact, original specifications. The correct chassis paint color was confirmed by the Nethercutt restoration facility, as was the approximate width of the brush with which it was applied. The original 130bhp, 2.3-liter supercharged straight eight-cylinder engine was completely rebuilt and is fitted with the original factory crankshaft and rod assemblies.

According to the current owner, the list of factory verified numbered parts include the upper and lower crankcase and crankcase arm, the cam box, blower drive and blower drive case, intake manifolds, accessory drives, blower, steering box, gearbox, rear axle and hollow front axle. According to their numbers, non-factory parts include the cam box lid, right front crankcase arm and right side front dumb iron, yet all these stampings appear period correct. The entire car has been thoroughly inspected by Bugatti authorities who feel 4948 was always a German owned car, as no SAE, English or non-Bugatti metric fasteners were found. This Bugatti is viewed by many specialists in the marque as one of the more exceptional examples of its kind given the large and impressive amount of original and authentic parts that had remained together for so many years of its life, despite the absence of its original chassis.

This 1930 Bugatti Type 35B Grand Prix Car is fully capable of handling any track or private road at high speeds with great aplomb. It can also be shown with pride at any concours event and comes with a detailed 1930s race record. A regular entry at the Monterey Historics and any all Bugatti club events worldwide, this vintage Grand Prix Bugatti is in excellent running order and is fully race ready.

Please note that this vehicle is a race car and therefore offered on a Bill of Sale

Reference Number 11504

as of 7/22/2007

Car 1930 Bugatti Type 35B Grand Prix Race Car
VIN 4948 
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