Chassis #: 4613
Engine #: 44
It is believed that over a 1,000 races would be won by the Bugatti Type 35 and the later-part of the 1920s would be absolutely dominated by the revolutionary little 2.0-liter Bugatti. Competing against such factory efforts as Alfa Romeo, Mercedes-Benz, Delage, Itala and Sunbeam, Bugatti would thoroughly rule the grand prix scene as a result of advanced new technologies and designs, power and sheer numbers.
The Type 35 would make its debut in 1924 at the French Grand Prix. It wouldn't take all that long before the Type 35 wouldn't just win but would become the car of choice and would be driven by such greats as Tazio Nuvolari, Louis Chiron, Rene Dreyfus and Grover Williams.
Despite only being powered by a 2.0-liter eight-cylinder engine, the lightweight car would be able to reach average speeds in excess of 100mph. This would be made possible as a result of the 95bhp engine, the lightweight chassis and the sheer courage of the drivers of the day. Beautifully balanced and sporting the revolutionary hollow axle, the Type 35 handled in a manner that provided great confidence.
This confidence would lead to the Type 35 earning three victories at Monaco, including the very first Monaco Grand Prix in 1929. In that race, William Grover-Williams would go on to take victory over Georges Bouriano also driving a Type 35 Bugatti. In fact, out of the top ten in that race no less than half would be Type 35 chassis.
It would be this kind of success that would lead to the Type 35 to earn the Grand Prix World Championship in 1926. The Type 35 would also be more than capable in long distance events like the Targa Florio. In fact, the Bugatti Type 35 would go on to win the arduous test no less than five times and would help to further cement the legend of Bugatti in motor racing.
Chassis 4613 would be completed in August of 1925 and would be delivered to Bugatti's dealership in London. Before being sold, the car would be put on display as part of the Olympia Motor Show. Malcolm Campbell would be Bugatti's London agent and he would be involved in the sales of their racing cars and would end up working out a deal with the soon to be famous Woolf Barnato.
Not lacking means, Barnato would already be well-known around England. However, his fame as a multiple champion at Le Mans was still coming, and so, he would start out by ordering one of the first Bugatti Type 35s to be sold in England.
Barnato would take delivery of his new car in January. When delivered, the car would come finished as if for the road. The car would include headlights, wings and other not-so-ordinary trimmings. Despite receiving the car in road trim, Barnato wouldn't take too long before he would enter the Bugatti in the Brooklands Automobile Racing Club Easter Monday Meeting. The Bugatti's very first race would be a short one, just a two lap handicap. Barnato would not drive the car, that honor would be given to George Duller who would promptly go out and take victory averaging a little more than 97mph over the course of the handicap race. The second lap would be the best as he would nearly average 104mph around the banked Brooklands circuit.
The car would later be entered in the Bank Holiday Meeting in May of 1925. Again with Duller at the wheel, 4613 would show its worth placing 3rd. However, the most impressive part of the 3rd place result would be the fact the car would average better than 106mph on the final lap. This would certainly be evidence of just how confident Duller was behind the wheel of the car as he pushed it to its absolute limits.
Barnato would keep the Bugatti for a handful of years before his interests with Bentley would distract him away from the Bugatti. Therefore, in 1928 Barnato would sell the car to London car dealer Jack Bartlett. Bartlett would broker the deal that would send 4613 to Stuart Tresilian, an engineer with Rolls-Royce. He too would take part in some races with the Type 35 and would be quite successful with the car earning a number of victories, a few of the more than 1,000 earned by the type. All throughout this period of Tresilian's ownership the car would retain the headlights and fenders and would even be put before some of those at Rolls-Royce to learn about the ways of their competitors.
By the end of the 1930s, 4613 would end up in the hands of Leslie Bachelier who owned and raced quite a few Bugatti grand prix models. At this time, the car would be updated to include a 100mm stroke camshaft. This update would effectively increase the engine capacity to 2.3-liters. Soon afterward, the Type 35 would be sold to P.F. Norton of Amersham and would continue to change hands over the next couple of decades.
Including periods of ownership by Stanley Martin, Claude Powell and J. Winston Smith, 4613 would remain a popular Bugatti and would have no problem finding a home. Then, in 1961, Jack Horton would acquire the car. Horton was a noted Bugatti enthusiast and he would enjoy the car for a short time before he too would sell it to Hamish Moffatt. Moffatt would purchase the car in 1965 and would retain it all the way until 2001.
Although the Bugatti would be used less and less over the length of Moffatt's ownership he would still take part in the 50th anniversary of the Type 35, which meant he would ship the car to Lyon for the event.
In 2001, the car would be purchased by Michael Gottsche. Upon purchasing the Type 35, Gottsche would turn to Ivan Dutton to get the car working. Following the work, 4613 would be seen in a number of Mille Miglia events.
In 2010, the car would again be sold. At the time, the Type 35 would be inspected and found to retain a surprising number of original components, including its original factory engine, original hollow front axle and even the original gearbox. Therefore, 4613 remains one of the most original and authentic of the Type 35 grand prix chassis.
Already considered one of the finest and greatest cars of all time, each of the Type 35 Bugattis would be invaluable in their own right. However, 4613 would have to be considered amongst a select company given its high originality and detailed history.
Offered at the 2013 Gooding & Company Pebble Beach auction, 4613 would draw estimates ranging from between $2,500,000 and $3,000,000. Unfortunately, bidding would not meet expectations and the 1925 Bugatti Type 35 would not sell.Sources:
'Lot No. 17: 1925 Bugatti Type 35 Grand Prix', (http://www.goodingco.com/vehicle/1925-bugatti-type-35-grand-prix/). Gooding & Company. http://www.goodingco.com/vehicle/1925-bugatti-type-35-grand-prix/. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
'1924 Bugatti Type 35 News, Pictures and Information', (http://www.conceptcarz.com/z19500/Bugatti-Type-35.aspx). Conceptcarz.com: From Concept to Production. http://www.conceptcarz.com/z19500/Bugatti-Type-35.aspx. Retrieved 21 August 2013.By Jeremy McMullen