This supercharged 1.5-liter, 4-cylinder Type 37A was owned by legendary Bugatti driver Pierre Veyron, winner at Le Mans and hero of the French Resistance, who also gave his name to the current Bugatti super-offering. The Type 37 was launched in 1926 using a slightly modified Type 40 engine and was an instant winner on Grand Prix circuits. Bugatti sold many naturally aspirated cars to sporting owners but it was the supercharged Type 37A that proved to be much more successful. Of the 290 Type 37s built, 67 were supercharged Type 37As. The sound of the supercharged engine was described as 'ripping calico.' To distinguish them easily, the Type 37s often had wire wheels while the 37As had stronger alloys.
Chassis Num: 37343
Engine Num: 218 CP
Sold for $962,500 at 2014 RM Sothebys
The Bugatti Type 37 was introduced in November 1925, and like its predecessor, the Type 35, the Type 37 offered both performance and a level of practicality for road-based events and rallies. The Type 35 was powered by an eight-cylinder engine, while the Type 37 was fitted with a very reliable four-cylinder engine. The four-cylinder had a lightweight design. Instead of relying on over-engineered brute force, the engine relied on finesse and simplicity. The 1.5-liter unit was capable of carrying the Type 37 to 90 mph.
The Type 37 was competitive and successful on the international racing scene, but more horsepower was sought from its inline four-cylinder engine to keep it competitive. About 18 months after the Type 37's initial introduction, Bugatti introduced the Type 37A, with the addition of a Roots-Type supercharger. Performance was immediately evident over the naturally aspirated model, and the car was capable of reaching a top speed of 122 mph. In this guise, the models were raced in some of the world's greatest endurance races at the time, including the Mille Miglia, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the Targa Florio.
In total, Bugatti produced 286 Type 37 models and just 76 were supercharged from the factory.
This example, chassis number 37343, was first delivered new to Belgium in June of 1928. The early history is not documented. It is believed to have been sold by Dr. Suzanne Lentz, of Luxembourg, to Jean Timmermans, of Limburg, Holland in June of 1961. The car was restored in 1964 under the ownership of Tim Honig, living in Amsterdam, before it was sent to the United States. Ownership passed through two individuals before being purchased by Gordon Barrett, of Indianapolis, Indiana, who displayed the car in the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum in Auburn, Indiana. By this point in history, the original engine had been replaced with the engine from chassis number 37319, another original 37A engine, wearing number 218CP, and a supercharger from chassis 37318. The transmission was also found to not be original to the car, but it was of the correct type for a Type 37A.
A short period later, 37343 was purchased by an Englishman who brought the car to the United Kingdom in the mid-1990s. In June of 2000, the Type 37A was sold by Peter McKay Rae, of Hampshire, to Mr. Hidekazu Arita, of Yokohama, Japan. The car left England via the port of Southampton in August of 2000.
The car is currently in the ownership of an American individual. Recently, a modern dynamo and radiator fan were installed to help prevent overheating on long rallies in warm climates.By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2014
The Type 37 was first introduced in 1926 and available in two forms - normal and supercharged. The Supercharged versions were dubbed the 37A. Production lasted until 1930. During its production lifespan, around 290 examples were produced. The vehicle was powered by a 2-liter four-cylinder engine with either a Zenith or Solex carburetor. With the use of the supercharger, the engine produced 90 horsepower. Top speed was achieved at nearly 100 mph. Power was sent to the rear wheels through the use of a four-speed manual gearbox.
The Bugatti Type 35 featured a powerful engine and thus very successful on the racing circuit. Ettore Bugatti wanted to mass produce the Type 35 but feared the engine would be too powerful for road use. So he used then engine from the Type 40 and installed it in the chassis of the Type 35, resulting in the Type 37. The supercharged versions were dubbed the Type 37A.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2009