Sold for $187,000 at 2009 RM Auctions. At the Paris Motor Show in 1927, Bugatti introduced their Type 44 touring model. Production would continue through 1930, with a total of 1,095 examples being produced. The engine was a straight eight-cylinder engine in two cast iron blocks of four, a single overhead camshaft and two inlet and one exhaust valve per cylinder. The total displacement was 2,991cc and produced an estimated 80 horsepower. The car earned the moniker 'The Buick of Molsheim' thanks to its crankshaft that was fitted with a vibration damper giving the car great smoothness of operation.
This example has been chronicled in Bugantics 18-2-9 (the Quarterly Journal of the Bugatti Owner's Club), in Hugh Conway's 1962 Bugatti Register, the American Bugatti Register of 1988, and in Pur Sang 16-4 (the Journal of the American Bugatti Club).
The car was originally invoiced to Magasin, Paris and later owned in the 1930s by Alber Bovy of Belgium. Jean De Dobbeleer later purchased the car and sold it via Gene Cesari to Moe Sherid of Pennsylvania. In 1962, E.R. Thompson of Ford City, PA purchased the car from Sherid. The car was driven to Thompson's home and put in his garage, where it would remain for a number of years. Thompson sold the car in the early 1970s to noted collector Edsel Pfabe. Pfabe treated the car to a restoration, re-chroming the bumper and replaced engine number 238 with engine number 658. Parts from the original engine were incorporated into 658. Currently, the only discernable engine number, however, is '238', the number of the original engine, which is stamped on the lower half of the block, on the driver's side.
After the completion of the restoration, the car was donated to the Crawford Auto Aviation Museum, where it was on display prior to being brought to auction. Currently, the car has no top and is not in running condition. The engine is not seized and it does turn over.
It is believed that this is the only two-door, four-passenger phaeton known to exist.
In 2009, this Type 44 Touring car was offered for sale at the Vintage Motor Cars of Hershey sale presented by RM Auctions where it was estimated to sell for $85,000 - $120,000. As bidding came to a close, the lot had been sold for the sum of $187,000, including buyer's premium. By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2009
This Bugatti is one of the last Type 44s to be completed and one of just eight Fiacres built by Jean Bugatti - of which only four are known to survive. The midsize Type 44, built from 1927 to 1930, was the marque's most popular model with over 1,100 examples sold. It has Bugatti's race-proven, twin-block, 8-cylinder, 2991cc engine, based on the racing Type 35. This car is the only unrestored Fiacre, it is one of two with side-mounted spare tires, and is has other unique features such as an original wooden steering wheel, interior side skirts with an engraved 'Ettore Bugatti' signature, and outside rocker badges stamped 'Carrosserie Bugatti.' Fiacre translates to horse-drawn carriage; Jean Bugatti wanted to design a carriage like those his father, Ettore, grew up seeing. Interestingly, the Fiacre body took twice as long to build and cost twice as much as a standard body, which may explain why so few were produced.
The Bugatti Type 44 was produced from 1927 through 1930 with over 1000 examples being created; by far the largest of the Bugatti 'Type' variants. The Type 44 sat atop the chassis used in the Type 38 but was given a newly developed 3-liter eight-cylinder engine capable of producing 80 horsepower. The running gear and components were borrowed from the Type 38, 40, and 43. It was suspended in place with semi-elliptic leaf springs.
The Type 44 marked Bugatti's first attempt at creating a true touring car with all of the creature comforts such as a powerful engine coupled to a chassis that was smooth and quiet. Unlike its predecessor, the Type 38, the Type 44 was a refined automobile. Coachbuilders such as Kellner, James young, Weymann, Gerber, Gangloff, and Graber were given opportunities to outfit the Type 44 in various body styles; it quickly became a favorite for many of these builders.
The engine was created from two cast iron four-cylinder blocks. A single overhead camshaft operated two inlet and one exhaust valve per cylinder. The engine was matted to a four-speed manual center gate transmission that provided power to the rear wheels. By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2006
The Bugatti Type 44 was introduced in late 1927. It was fitted with a three-liter, 80 horsepower eight-cylinder engine and served as a replacement for the two-liter 38. The Type 44 sold in great numbers and would become Bugatti's most popular and successful touring car. Between 1927 to 1930, there were 1095 examples produced.
The engine was a departure from traditional Bugatti practices, which were to form the engine from two blocks of four-cylinders. The Type 44 still had two block but they were separated on the aluminum crankcase by the shaft, and bevel-gear drives for the camshaft and engine auxiliaries. This two-piece crankshaft was given a total of nine main bearings. Instead of using roller bearings, Bugatti used poured plain bearings, which is ideal for this medium-speed touring application. Additionally, the plain bearings were less expensive and they were much quieter than rollers. The early Type 44 engines were given jet lubrication. This was later changed to full-pressure lubrication of the main bearings.
The frame was new but continued Bugatti's use of live-axles and leaf-spring layout for the suspension. There was a four-speed transmission which was separated from the engine.
Depending on the coachwork, the Bugatti Type 44's were capable of speeds in excess of 80 mph, and could maintain a comfortable cruising speed of 65 mph all day. By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2009