1927 Bugatti Type 38

1927 Bugatti Type 38 1927 Bugatti Type 38 1927 Bugatti Type 38 Roadster
Chassis #: 38385
Engine # 4001
Sold for $198,000 at 2008 Gooding & Company.
Sold for $264,000 at 2015 Gooding & Company : Pebble Beach Concours.
The Bugatti Type 38 chassis was basically a Type 35 Grand Prix fitted with a straight-eight engine that had a one-piece crankshaft with three plain bearings and one ball bearing, plain connecting rod bearings and a pair of carburetors. The engine produced 60-70 horsepower and with the addition of a supercharger, resulted in even more power and the new name - the Type 38A.

This 1927 Bugatti Type 38 Roadster is believed to have been purchased new by Elizabeth and Vincent Junek, the Czech racing couple who exchanged it for their Type 29/30 Strasbourg Grand Prix car. Elizabeth, who had been racing seriously since 1923, was one of the best female drivers in Europe. Her list of accomplishments in the sport included several hill climb victories, a second in the Klaussen climb in 1926, and winning the two-liter class at the Nurburgring.

It is believed that this Type 38 Roadster was used as a reconnaissance car by Elizabeth in the 1928 Targa Florio. It was used to inspect the course and to learn the route. Being fully prepared, she drove her Bugatti Type 35B fifth overall. Her racing career would come to an end a short time later after her husband was killed in a racing accident. After this tragedy, she withdrew from the sport.

It is believed that the car was imported from Prague by Ed Jurist's Vintage Car Store and was acquired by Fred Beddiges and later by Dr. Peter and Susan Williamson.

This car is currently unrestored and finished in blue with black leather interior. It has a pair of SU carburetors, Type 30 radiator, an electric fuel pump, silver-painted wire wheels, Marchal headlights, rear-mounted spare wheel and tire, and a pair of Scintilla tail-lights.

In 2008, this Series E Bearcat was brought to the Gooding & Company auction held in Pebble Beach, CA. It was estimated to sell for $80,000 - $120,000 and offered without reserve. Those estimates were smashed as the lot was sold for $198,000, including buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2009
1927 Bugatti Type 38 1927 Bugatti Type 38 1927 Bugatti Type 38 Touring Car
Coachwork: Lavocat and Marsaud
Chassis #: 38240
Engine # 151
Sold for $220,000 at 2007 Gooding & Company.
This 1927 Bugatti Type 38 Touring Car has coachwork by Lavocat & Marsaud of Boulogne-sur-Sein, France. It is a lightweight open, four-passenger body which it has carried all its life. Its list of early owners include Frank Willis and D.Rowe. Subsequent owners include noted collector/dealer Tiny Gould in the mid-1970s. It remained in Gould's care for only a short period of time as ownership changed to Wisconsin collector David Uihlein. While in Mr. Uihlein's care, the car was treated to a complete restoration.

In 2003 the car was sold at auction at which time it came into the care of the present owner. During that time it has seen very little use but properly maintained.

Since leaving the Molsheim factory it has been given several replacement electrical components, including the starter, generator and fuel pump. The original starter/generator is still with the car, in the current owners care.

It is chassis number 38240 and was brought to the 2007 Gooding & Company auction held in Pebble Beach, CA where it was estimated to sell for $130,000 - $170,000 and offered without reserve. Those estimates were shattered as bidding settled at $220,000 including buyer's premium. Needless to say, the lot was sold.

By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2008
1927 Bugatti Type 38 1927 Bugatti Type 38 1927 Bugatti Type 38 Tourer
Coachwork: Figoni
Chassis #: 38444
Engine # 12 (ex. 38142)
Sold for $495,000 at 2012 Gooding and Company - The Scottsdale Auction.
The Bugatti Type 38A was introduced in 1926 and had style, engineering, and exceptional performance. There were 387 examples of the Type 38 built, and only the last 54 examples featured a supercharger. The vehicles with the supercharger and the slightly lengthened hood were dubbed the Type 38A. They also had an increase in brake diameter and many other subtle changes.

This 1927 Bugatti Tourer is one of eight Type 38A models that was originally ordered by Bugatti's Paris agency on July 23rd of 1927. It is a unique automobile that features Tourer coachwork fashioned by Joseph Figoni. It is believed that this is one of Figoni's first efforts on a Bugatti chassis and pre-dates his involvement with Ovidio Falaschi years later.

The design features graceful proportions and several distinguishing characteristics such as the polished aluminum body cappings and flowing wings. There is a folding two-pane windscreen and twin rear-mounted spare wheels.

After the work was completed, the car arrived in Paris on September 9th of 1928. The cost to its original owner was approximately 45,000 French francs.

By the 1950s, the car was in the care of Lieut. M. Pornett of Tiresford. At that time, it was registered in Berlin with a British Zone number and described as a Type 38, indicating that the supercharger had been removed.

In 1962, after passing through the care of P.T. McGee and a Mr. Hatfield, the Bugatti entered the possession of Robert Ian Payne of Edinburgh. At some point in the car's history, prior to the acquisition by Mr. Payne, the original engine was substituted with a Type 30 unit, number 360.

In the late 1960s, the car was purchased by Hamish Mofatt who replaced the incorrect engine with an appropriate Type 38 engine, original fitted to chassis number 38142.

In the 1970s, the car was exported to the United States and sold to San Francisco resident Sid Colberg. During his three decades of ownership, it was rarely seen or exhibited at events.

In 2005, the car was sold to a Bugatti and Figoni enthusiast. While in their care, the car was sent to Carrosserie Tessier in France for a sympathetic cosmetic restoration. Tessier had completed much of the work when the owner passed away. During that period in France, Claude Figoni, the son of Joseph Figoni, had the opportunity to examine and admire the unique Bugatti.

The current owner has since completed the restoration. The car is finished in deep aubergine and the interior upholstered in pleated brown leather and matching carpets. There are polished wheel discs, Marchal lamps and body edges capped in aluminum.

The car has its original frame (stamped 37), is equipped with engine number 12, and the engine's assembly number (15) was found on the upper and lower crankcase, confirming them as an original matched pair. It has the correct, larger-diameter brake drums, and its original radiator (produced by G. Moreux & Cie of Paris). The steering box is in the correct location for a late-production Type 38A. The complete original rear axle assembly is suspended on the usual reversed quarter-elliptical springs and the rear spring hangers still retain their original brass Bugatti logos. The body has most of its timber structure and aluminum panels intact.

In 2012, this car was offered for sale at the Gooding & Company auction held in Scottsdale, Arizona. It had a pre-auction estimated value of $500,000 - $650,000. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $495,000 inclusive of buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2012
1927 Bugatti Type 38 Touring Car
Coachwork: Lavocat and Marsaud
Chassis #: 38243
Sold for $715,000 at 2013 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale.
This Bugatti Type 38 four seater open tourer wears coachwork by Lavocat et Marsaud of Boulogne. It is trimmed in wood around the seats and split windows. In 2008 the engine was completely rebuilt. When new, the car was sold new to South Africa where the early history of the car is not known. It was later discovered by R. Lee of Brazil. At the time, the car had low miles and was still in original condition.

Though the Type 38 was not a competitive Grand Prix racing car, it did share the same 8-cylinder powerplant with wider mountings, gearbox and brakes, as with the Type 35A Grand Prix car.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2013
1927 Bugatti Type 38 Coupe Fiacre
Chassis #: 38428
Engine # 332
This Bugatti Type 38 is a complete and original example with Fiacre Style Coupe bodywork. It has been the subject of an extensive engine and mechanical rebuild.

The Type 38 served as the replacement for the Type 30 and first appeared in March of 1926. It had a new frame, well designed axle and details, and the engine drove through a newly designed central mounted gearbox. It rested on a lengthened wheelbase and had 50mm more track than its Type 30 predecessor. Its elegant bodies rested on a rear reverse quarter elliptical springs with the front axle and springs passing through the forged axle as with the Type 35. The engine was nearly identical to that of the Type 35A. The crank casting was the same as what was used on the Type 43 with the lower crank case arms being the same width in both the front and rear.

In total, there were 385 examples of the Type 38 produced between 1926 and 1927. 39 of those were fitted with the Type 37A supercharger and were subsequently known as the Type 38A.

This example, chassis number 38428 is powered by engine number 332 and was ordered by Sorel of London in May of 1927. It was delivered on September 17th of 1927 for the sum of 25,670 French Francs. At some point, in its early life, it was exported to New Zealand. The first recorded New Zealand owner was a Mr. Rex Carr (around the late 1940s and early 1950s). The next owner was a Mr. Graham Wells, from Auckland. At the time, it wore a sporty 2-seater body. The car remained with this body until the early 1950s when ownership passed to a Ted Thompson of Kumeu, near Auckland. Mr. Kumeu would sell some of the parts of the car, but thankfully they would be later re-united with the car.

The engine was sold to a boat owner in Lake Taupo, the body work including the bonnet, firewall, and radiator were used on a 6-cylinder Crossley chassis which was raced and hill climbed by a Mr. McWhirter. The Bugatti was then given a Ford V8 and special bodywork and was raced on the South part of the Island.

With the help of Roy Roycroft, the parts found their way back to the Bugatti. The next owner John Hearne, obtained the car in pieces in exchange for a 6C Maserati. He later sold it, still unrestored, to High Court Judge Toney Ellis who began a 30 year restoration of the car including fitting the car with its Coupe Fiacre body.

Mr. Ellis passed away in 2007. The current owner acquired it from his widow.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2013
1927 Bugatti Type 38 1927 Bugatti Type 38 1927 Bugatti Type 38 Grand Sport Boattail
Chassis #: 38470
Engine # 209
Sold for $440,000 at 2016 The Finest : The Elegance at Hershey.
Ettore Bugatti began in 1910 with the Type 13, a 1,327cc overhead cam four-cylinder model. One of the notable early successes was the Bebe made by Peugeot to Bugatti's design. Prior to World War I, his four-cylinder engines ranged from 1,368cc to 5,027cc, first with eight valves and later with 16. It was 1924, however, when Bugatti produced the car for which he would become famous, the legendary Type 35. The Type 35 is credited with 1,851 racing victories in 1925, 1926 and 1927, a remarkable record event today.

The eight-cylinder Type 38 (and its supercharged Type 38A version) debuted in 1926 and was produced through 1927. In all, 385 examples were created, including just a mere 39 in the supercharged form. With just 1,991 cc, the tiny eight-cylinder produced about 100 horsepower. The Type 38A utilized a T35-style split crankcase, with a larger T43 radiator and the small T37A supercharger.

This particular car, chassis number 38470 with supercharged engine 333, was completed in August of 1927 and given a factory Grand Sport body. August 1927 was the final month of production of the Type 38 and 38A. This car remained at the factory for several months before it was ordered by the London Bugatti agent, Colonel Sorel. It was then sold to its first owner, L.G. Bachelier on October 23rd of 1928. It received British plate number PG 1593.

While in Bachelier's care, the car was raced this Type 38 at Brooklands in the JCC High Speed Trials in July of 1929. The following year, he sold it to Denis Evans who raced it in the BARC Open Meeting Moountain Handicap in 1931 and the JCC High Speed Trials at Brooklands in 1931 and 1932.

The car then went to Child who eventually sold it to B. Rees. By this point in history, the chassis had been shorted to convert it to a two-seater and the engine had been replaced. The engine was another genuine Bugatti unit, number 209. This engine was given twin SU carburetors and was not supercharged.

The car later came into the hands of Derby, then Gilbert and then John Anderson in London. It was then exported to the United States. Its first United States owner was Steingold, then Fountain and then Kirk White. In 1973 it was owned by Walter Stedeford and then by Richard Winer of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The next owner was Dr. Terry Bennett of Hampton Falls, New Hampshire. Later, the majority of Dr. Bennett's care were sold at auction. At auction, the car still having its shortened wheelbase form, was acquired by the JWR Collection of Pennsylvania.

A major restoration soon followed, bringing it back to original factory specifications. The chassis was returned to its correct long wheelbase form. The car's second engine, number 209, was upgraded to supercharged form via an original Bugatti supercharger. The restoration was completed in early 1993. It was then shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance were it won a prize in class.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2016
The Bugatti Type 38 was produced from 1926 through 1927. The Bugatti Type 38 had a straight-eight that displaced two-liters. Performance was further increased with the adoption of a supercharger, making the Type 38A. During its short production lifespan, 385 examples were produced with less than 40 being equipped with superchargers. They were replaced by the Type 43.

In comparison to the vehicles they replaced, the Type 30, the Type 38 sat atop a longer wheelbase with a wider track. The Type 30 was introduced in 1922 and was Bugatti's first eight-cylinder passenger car. The engine was very impressive; it was the first production engine to use the rectangular slab construction that would eventually become a Bugatti trademark. It featured an overhead camshaft, three valves per cylinder and a Brescia transmission.

The eight-cylinder engine was placed into a Type 23 chassis, dubbed the Type 30, would continue until 1926 with total production reaching around 600 units.

The Type 38 were similar to the Type 30 in many ways, however, they rested on a longer wheelbase and had a track that was two inches wider. Large, cable-operated drum brakes showed through the center-lock wire wheels. The suspension comprised of a standard rear Bugatti setup with a solid tubular front axle with slots through which the leaf springs passed.

Under the bonnet lurked a 2-liter, three-valve engine based on the Type 35, though the crankshaft - which was riding on ball bearings - was from the Type 30. The engine breathed through two Solex carburetors. There was coil ignition and a new four-speed manual gearbox which helped send the power to the rear wheels.

In keeping with Bugatti tradition, the cars were built at the Molsheim factory and delivered to coachbuilders as rolling chassis. From their, the artisans would create the elegant bodies for these magnificent vehicles.

By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2008

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