Sold for $861,086 (€632,500) at 2011 Bonhams - Automobilia, Motos de collection et Automobiles d'exception au Grand Palais.Sold for $951,000 at 2013 Bonhams - The Scottsdale Auction.
Coachwork: Veth & Zoon
Chassis #: 46293
Engine #: 157
Well and truly one of the first to combine performance with elegance, every model Ettore Bugatti determined to build seemed to surprise in more ways than one. Always elegant, Bugatti found a way to be really the first to incorporate speed and handling into the style to create something truly memorable and desirable. A great example of this masterstroke of automotive genius would be Bugatti's Type 46 Faux Cabriolet.
Car building and design seemed to be Bugatti's own personal playground. Audacious ideas seemingly rolled out of the Molsheim factory with great regularity. Some ideas, like the Type 41 Royale, were so audacious they were practically impractical. However, Bugatti always seemed to know, always seemed to have that touch, that could turn an impracticality into a spectacular and revered design.
Bugatti had produced cars known for their performance. Bugattis built for road races would become the car to have for the best drivers in the world during the early 20th century. However, because of the blend of performance and elegance, Bugattis would be the car the racing driver would also want to have to drive between venues. The reason for this was very simple: Bugatti was one of the first to employ technology used and gained from the racing world into his production model touring cars. This gave the driver the sensation of great grand prix driving while coasting along the roads en route to another race.
One of those that would capture the imagination would be the Type 46. Based upon the successful Type 35 racing car, the Type 46 would make use of the same, just updated version, of the famous straight-eight Bugatti engine. Utilizing a single overhead camshaft, the 5.3-liter cast-iron engine was capable of producing 140bhp. Combine this with the cable-operated drum brakes and the rigid axles with semi-elliptic leaf springs and the Type 46 was yet another solid handling car.
The Type 46, however, wasn't just some ideas thrown together to create the latest model Bugatti. No, Bugatti's policy of employing racing technology with a touring car comfort and elegance would come shining through. And, perhaps this maxim couldn't be better illustrated or exemplified than with the Type 46 Faux Cabriolet.
Affectionately known as 'La Petite Royale', the Type 46 would utilize many of the same features that had made the Type 41 Royale impractical, and that is what helped to make the Type 46 all the more desirable. In time, a total of 444 would be built plus an extra 18 with supercharging.
Building some of the best chassis in the world at the time, Bugatti would then attract some of the best coachbuilders of the day to lend their talents in making some truly rare and memorable touring cars.
One of those to throw their hat in the ring to help build the Bugatti reputation for style and elegance would be the coachbuilder Veth & Zoon established in Arnhem, Holland in 1840. Like many others of its day, Veth & Zoon (Veth & Son) would start out designing and building horse-drawn carriages, but then would switch to powered transport by the end of the 19th century. A regular source of style and elegance for the Dutch Royal Family, Veth & Zoon would grow quickly in the years prior to World War I. This would lead to them being willing to combine their artistic talents with Bugatti's abilities.
In April of 1930, the 18th of 35 Type 46 chassis would leave the Molsheim factory. The chassis would be ordered by H Stam, a Dutch Bugatti agent located just a handful of miles south-east of Amsterdam. Stam would take delivery of the car for his client, a C.D. Klos and the delivery of chassis 46293 would take place on the 14th of April, 1930.
Klos had commissioned Veth & Son of Arnhem to produce a Faux Cabriolet coachwork for his new Type 46 based upon his previous pleasure with a Faux Cabriolet design he had had completed for a Type 44 Bugatti he had purchased a couple of years before.
Chassis 46293 would be completed with its Faux Cabriolet styling and would remain in Klos' ownership well into the late 1950s. Then, by the early 1960s, the car would come to be in the hands of its second owner, a F.L. Boele van Hensbroek of Rotterdam.
The Type 46, with its matching engine, was believed to remain in Boele van Hensbroek's possession well into the 1970s, but the actual history of the car throughout this period of time is somewhat of a mystery. According to the Dutch Bugatti Club, 46293 had spent some time in Belgium and in other places, but it is hard to confirm. What is known is that after van Hensbroek, the car would come to be in the hands of four more Dutch owners and that it had later been registered with the number 'K-6588'.
Then, after decade upon decade on Dutch ownership, the Type 46 would come to be purchased by an American, William 'Bill' Borchert Larsen of Wisconsin. Owning a Bugatti had become a passion for Larsen, and, after the suggestion of Alpine Eagle restorations in the U.K., the Veth & Zoon Type 46 would become his.
The car would remain in Europe as it needed some work, which would be completed by Alpine Eagle restorations. Alpine Eagle would conduct a thorough rebuild and restoration of the car, tearing it down until, literally, every component of the car was in pieces. Unfortunately, it was in the middle of this process that Larsen would pass away. This left a Type 46 in pieces at Alpine Eagle's shop. However, another enthusiast would step into the picture and would see that the restoration of the car could be completed. At a cost of more than half a million dollars, the car would be completed in 2010.
Photographically documented throughout every step, the rebuilt car would also come with all relevant invoices pertaining to the restoration, as well as, a leather-bound professional presentation with some incredible studio photographs. Making its debut at the Bugatti Rally in 2010, the Bugatti Type 46, still with its matching engine, would certainly attract a crowd.
Sold in 2011, the car's current owner determined the restoration work was yet to be completed and invested another $10,000 for additional work to be completed. The result is a truly stunning 'La Petite Royale', full of authenticity and fabulous in just about every way.
Certain to be a crowd-pleaser at any concours event and a stunning centerpiece of any collection, chassis 46293 would be offered at the Bonhams Scottsdale auction held in January of 2013. Due to its highly-original nature and freshly-completed restoration, the Type 46 was estimated to garner between $900,000 and $1,200,000 prior to auction.Sources:
'Lot 313: 'La Petite Royale', ex-William 'Bill' Borchert Larsen, 1930 Bugatti Type 46 Faux Cabriolet Chassis no. 46293 Engine no. 157', (http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/20582/lot/313/). Bonhams. http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/20582/lot/313/. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
'Call for Entries Announced; Bugatti Type 46 and Mercedes-Benz Gullwing lead the list of early consignments', (http://www.bonhams.com/press_release/11893/). Bonhams. http://www.bonhams.com/press_release/11893/. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
'1930 Bugatti Type 46 News, Pictures and Information', (http://www.conceptcarz.com/z21329/Bugatti-Type-46.aspx). Conceptcarz.com: From Concept to Production. http://www.conceptcarz.com/z21329/Bugatti-Type-46.aspx. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
'Bugatti Type 46 Veth & Zoon Faux Cabriolet', (http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/car/4695/Bugatti-Type-46-Veth-and-Zoon-Faux-Cabriolet.html). Ultimatecarpage.com: Powered by Knowledge, Driven by Passion. http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/car/4695/Bugatti-Type-46-Veth-and-Zoon-Faux-Cabriolet.html. Retrieved 7 January 2013.By Jeremy McMullen