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1931 Bugatti Type 51 Boattail Roadster / 4654 Vehicle Information

1931 Bugatti Type 51 photograph

1931 Bugatti Type 51 photograph

1931 Bugatti Type 51 photograph

1931 Bugatti Type 51 photograph

1931 Bugatti Type 51 photograph

1931 Bugatti Type 51 photograph

1931 Bugatti Type 51 photograph

1931 Bugatti Type 51 photograph

1931 Bugatti Type 51 photograph

1931 Bugatti Type 51 photograph

1931 Bugatti Type 51 photograph

1931 Bugatti Type 51 photograph

1931 Bugatti Type 51 photograph

1931 Bugatti Type 51 photograph

1931 Bugatti Type 51 photograph

1931 Bugatti Type 51 photograph

1931 Bugatti Type 51 photograph

1931 Bugatti Type 51 photograph

1931 Bugatti Type 51 photograph

1931 Bugatti Type 51 photograph

1931 Bugatti Type 51 photograph

1931 Bugatti Type 51 photograph

1931 Bugatti Type 51 photograph

1931 Bugatti Type 51 photograph

1931 Bugatti Type 51 photograph

1931 Bugatti Type 51 photograph

1931 Bugatti Type 51 photograph

1931 Bugatti Type 51 photograph

1931 Bugatti Type 51 photograph

1931 Bugatti Type 51 photograph

1931 Bugatti Type 51 photograph

1931 Bugatti Type 51 photograph

1931 Bugatti Type 51 photograph

1931 Bugatti Type 51 photograph

1931 Bugatti Type 51 photograph

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Sold for $907,500 at 2008 Gooding & Company.
This Bugatti was originally a Type 35A (with chassis number 4961) and was raced by the Bugatti team in the 1930 Targa Florio. Later the car was converted to a 2-liter Type 35C specification for the Grand Prix of Europe at Spa in Belgium and then to Type 51 specifications for the French Grand Prix. It was subsequently used as a works practice car and as a road car. It was once owned by the Bugatti driver Jean-Pierre Wimille. After many more years and many more specification changes under several different owners, the car was restored and fitted with a new body. It was among the many wonderful Bugattis owned by the late Dr. Peter Williamson.

Dr. Samuel Scher went searching for a Bugatti Type 51 in the late 1940s, but none were available. Several months later, one was located and it had never been raced. The car was purchased by Dr. Scher, reconditioned by the Paris Bugatti agents, and then shipped to the US. Upon its arrival, the car was painted and upholstered and given to Harry Gray to drive in the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) race at Linden, New Jersey, which he won. The following season, Bill Milliken drove the car in SCCA competition. On January 3rd of 1950, at a race in Palm Beach, Florida, Milliken missed a shift, resulting in a connecting rod to go through the crankcase.

The damage was never repaired as it passed through several owners throughout the years. It was owned by Jack Nethercutt and later purchased by Dr. Peter and Susan Williamson in 1964.

In the mid-1990s, Jim Stranberg at High Mountain Classics undertook the task of repairing the car. There were various indications that the car was a Type 35A, but there was no Molsheim chassis number. The engine number 55228 was a Type 55 that was re-built to Type 51 specifications. The trail for engine number 55228 led to Monsieur Leloup, the last known owner, who had also owned a Type 35A number 4654, engine number 44A.

Apparently, when Dr. Scher had been searching for the Type 51, a Type 55 engine and Type 35A chassis had been located, all reconditioned by the Paris Bugatti agents. A replacement chassis was issued by the BOC in the UK. The plate number was 4654, which can now be found on the car.

The car now wears an alloy body which was built by Bunny Phillips. The interior is tan leather and there are dual aeroscreens and an electric starter and cooling fan. The car has no fenders nor are there any road lights.

The engine is a 2262cc eight-cylinder unit with dual overhead camshafts and capable of producing 180 horsepower. There are Zenith carburetors and a Roots supercharger.

In 2008, this 1925/31 Bugatti Type 35A/51 Grand Prix car was offered for sale at the Gooding & Company auction held in Pebble Beach, CA. The car was offered without reserve and estimated to sell for $1,300,000 - $1,800,000. As the gavel fell for the third and final time, the car had been sold for $907,500, including buyer's premium.


By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2009



2008 Gooding & Company

Pre-Auction Estimates :
USD $1,300,000-USD $1,800,000 
Sale Price :
USD $907,500

1931 Bugatti Type 51 Auction Sales

Recent Sales

(Data based on Model Year 1931 sales)
1931 Bugatti Type 51 Grand Prix
Chassis#: 51132
Sold for USD$3,740,000
  2018 Gooding & Company : Pebble Beach
1931 Bugatti Type 51 image  1931 Bugatti Type 51 image  
1931 BUGATTI TYPE 51 GRAND PRIX RACING TWO SEATER
Chassis#: 51121
Sold for USD$4,000,000
  2016 Bonhams : Quail Lodge
1931 Bugatti Type 51 image  1931 Bugatti Type 51 image  
1931 Bugatti Type 51
Chassis#: 4654
Sold for USD$907,500
  2008 Gooding & Company
1931 Bugatti Type 51 image  1931 Bugatti Type 51 image  

Vehicles That Failed To Sell

1931 Bugatti Type 51's that have appeared at auction but did not sell.
VehicleChassisEventHigh BidEst. LowEst. High
1931 Bugatti 51 Grand Prix511282019 Artcurial : Retroobile $4,000,000$4,500,000
1931 Bugatti Type 51 Pur Sang Mono Posto5370B02014 Russo & Steele Scottsdale   
1931 Bugatti Type 51 Works Grand Prix Racing Car511322010 RM Auctions Sports & Classics of Monterey$2,750,000$3,500,000$4,500,000
1931 Bugatti Type 51511322008 Gooding & Company   
1931 Bugatti Type 51 GP Race Car 2002 Monterey Sports and Classic Car Auction$220,000  

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Bugatti Type 51 Vehicle Profiles
Boattail Roadster
Bugatti Type 51 Boattail Roadster

Model Year: 1931
Boattail Roadster
Bugatti Type 51 Boattail Roadster

Model Year: 1931
Boattail Roadster
Bugatti Type 51 Boattail Roadster

Chassis Num: 4654
Engine Num: 31
Model Year: 1931
Profile and Auction History

Boattail Roadster
Bugatti Type 51 Boattail Roadster

Chassis Num: 51121
Engine Num: 2
Model Year: 1931
Profile and Auction History
Boattail Roadster
Bugatti Type 51 Boattail Roadster

Chassis Num: 51126
Model Year: 1931
Profile
Boattail Roadster
Bugatti Type 51 Boattail Roadster

Chassis Num: 51127
Model Year: 1931

Boattail Roadster
Bugatti Type 51 Boattail Roadster

Chassis Num: 51129
Model Year: 1931
Profile
Boattail Roadster
Bugatti Type 51 Boattail Roadster

Chassis Num: 51132
Engine Num: 15
Model Year: 1931
Profile and Auction History
Coupe
Bugatti Type 51 Coupe

Coachbuilder: Dubos
Chassis Num: 51133
Model Year: 1931
Profile

Boattail Roadster
Bugatti Type 51 Boattail Roadster

Chassis Num: 51218
Model Year: 1931
Boattail Roadster
Bugatti Type 51 Boattail Roadster

Chassis Num: BC-32
Model Year: 1931
Boattail Roadster
Bugatti Type 51 Boattail Roadster

Chassis Num: 51218
Model Year: 1932

Boattail Roadster
Bugatti Type 51 Boattail Roadster

Chassis Num: 51153
Engine Num: 20
Model Year: 1933
Profile and Auction History
Boattail Roadster
Bugatti Type 51 Boattail Roadster

Chassis Num: 51154
Model Year: 1934


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