Sold for $264,000 at 2008 Gooding & Company. Dual-Cowl Phaeton
Chassis #: 44311
Engine # 254
This Bugatti Type 44 came to the United States through George Rand's New York agency. It is believed that the car's next owner was Zumbach's, the famed New York dealer of thoroughbred motorcars. It passed through several owners over the years, until it ended up in Stamford, Connecticut, in the collection of David Tunick. In 1980, the car was sold to Dr. Peter and Susan Williamson.
According to the American Bugatti Register records, the original engine was cut in half in the 1930s to create two four-cylinder engines. These engines were put into midget races by John Burgess. Since that time, a correct Type 44 engine has been sourced and installed.
The car was given a professional restoration and is now finished in maroon with brown leather upholstery and interior trim. There is a tan cloth top, red wire wheels, dual folding windshields, dual side-mounted spare wheels and tires, and rearview mirrors mounted on the spares.
It is still a mystery as to the original builder of the coachwork. Of the 1095 examples built, this is one of the few remaining still left in existence. It has a high-quality, yet older, restoration and has been in the United States since it was new.
In 2008, this Type 44 Bugatti Dual-Cowl Phaeton was offered for sale at the Gooding & Company auction held in Pebble Beach, CA. The car was estimated to sell for $200,000 - $300,000 and offered without reserve. As the gavel fell for the third and final time, the car had sold for $264,000, including buyer's premium.By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2009
The Bugatti Type 44 was produced from 1927 through 1930 with over 1000 examples being created; by far the largest of the Bugatti 'Type' variants. The Type 44 sat atop the chassis used in the Type 38 but was given a newly developed 3-liter eight-cylinder engine capable of producing 80 horsepower. The running gear and components were borrowed from the Type 38, 40, and 43. It was suspended in place with semi-elliptic leaf springs.
The Type 44 marked Bugatti's first attempt at creating a true touring car with all of the creature comforts such as a powerful engine coupled to a chassis that was smooth and quiet. Unlike its predecessor, the Type 38, the Type 44 was a refined automobile. Coachbuilders such as Kellner, James young, Weymann, Gerber, Gangloff, and Graber were given opportunities to outfit the Type 44 in various body styles; it quickly became a favorite for many of these builders.
The engine was created from two cast iron four-cylinder blocks. A single overhead camshaft operated two inlet and one exhaust valve per cylinder. The engine was matted to a four-speed manual center gate transmission that provided power to the rear wheels.By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2006
The Bugatti Type 44 was introduced in late 1927. It was fitted with a three-liter, 80 horsepower eight-cylinder engine and served as a replacement for the two-liter 38. The Type 44 sold in great numbers and would become Bugatti's most popular and successful touring car. Between 1927 to 1930, there were 1095 examples produced.
The engine was a departure from traditional Bugatti practices, which were to form the engine from two blocks of four-cylinders. The Type 44 still had two block but they were separated on the aluminum crankcase by the shaft, and bevel-gear drives for the camshaft and engine auxiliaries. This two-piece crankshaft was given a total of nine main bearings. Instead of using roller bearings, Bugatti used poured plain bearings, which is ideal for this medium-speed touring application. Additionally, the plain bearings were less expensive and they were much quieter than rollers. The early Type 44 engines were given jet lubrication. This was later changed to full-pressure lubrication of the main bearings.
The frame was new but continued Bugatti's use of live-axles and leaf-spring layout for the suspension. There was a four-speed transmission which was separated from the engine.
By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2009
Depending on the coachwork, the Bugatti Type 44's were capable of speeds in excess of 80 mph, and could maintain a comfortable cruising speed of 65 mph all day.