Bugatti Brescia Modifie

1923 Bugatti Type 23 Brescia Modifie Torpedo by Lavocat et Marsaud

Offered by Bonhams | Chichester, England | June 30, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

Bugatti Brescias are so tiny. They’re like pocket-sized exotics. The “Brescia” name was applied to post-WWI Bugatti Type 13s. The Type 13 entered production in 1910 and went on hiatus for the First World War. Post-war, it soldiered on through 1926.

In 1920, Bugatti debuted the Type 23 Brescia, which had a longer-wheelbase. It’s powered by a 1.5-liter straight-four that made enough power to propel this car to approximately 70 mph (!). The body is a racy torpedo from coachbuilders Lavocat et Marsaud. It’s such a tiny car that the two seats contained within are offset, so the passenger sits slightly behind the driver.

Remarkably, this car retains its original bodywork and most of its original components, something that not many Brescias do (mostly because many of the Type 23 cars were later shortened to Type 13 configuration). The third (and most recent) restoration was completed in 2010. Only about 200 of these were built and only 19 are known to remain, with this being among the most original. It should bring between $710,000-$840,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Not sold.

Bugatti Brescia Torpedo

1923 Bugatti Type 27 Brescia Torpedo

Offered by Bonhams | Paris, France | February 9, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

The Bugatti Brescia was the marque’s first true road car. It was introduced as the Type 13 in 1910. More “Types” would follow, such as the Type 15, 17, 22, and 23. Production of the Brescia lasted through 1926 and their racing counterparts scored victories across Europe, lending some real credibility to the Bugatti brand.

The little-seen Type 27 was a development of the Types 22 and 23 (which different only slightly from earlier cars). The engine in the Type 27 is a 1.5-liter straight-four making 50 horsepower. The sporty Torpedo coachwork is thought to be the work of coachbuilders Lavocat et Marsaud.

This example had eight owners in its first three years! In the 1930s, it is said that it was used as a getaway car for robberies in Paris. Most of its ownership history is known and the famous automotive hoarders known as the Schlumpf brothers attempted to purchase this car in 1959. Luckily for enthusiasts everywhere, they were rebuffed. This car was mechanically restored in 2006 and is ready to drive. It should bring between $410,000-$580,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $541,015.

Bugatti Brescia

1920 Bugatti Type 13

Offered by Gooding & Company | Monterey, California | August 19, 2012

Photo – Gooding & Company

Look at this little snub-nosed dart. It reminds me of one of those little short, stubby guns – completely innocuous looking, but it’ll still pack a punch. A pocket pistol – it’s the Derringer of Bugattis.

The Bugatti Type 13 was the car that really launched Bugatti as a manufacturer. The first cars were built around 1910, but World War One interrupted things and production – and racing – resumed in 1920. In 1921, Bugatti Type 13s swept the top four spots at the Brescia Grand Prix, earning the car the nickname “Brescia” thereafter.

This car left the factory in 1920 as a Type 22, which was a larger, road-going version of the Type 13. It still had the same 50 horsepower 1.5-liter inline four. The car was brought to America after the Second World War, where it was acquired by a collector who had the chassis shortened and bodywork adjusted to Type 13 specification. In the 1980s it was purchased by a Japanese collector and the car underwent a restoration while in his possession.

In 1998 it was purchased by its current owner, who has raced it on occasion. I remember seeing this on track during the Monterey Historics a few years ago. It was a field of Bugattis, mostly Grand Prix cars, like the Type 37 and Type 35. Those big powerful cars took off immediately, leaving this little guy as well as a large road-going convertible to fight it out amongst each other way at the back. Neither car was quick, but you could tell that each driver was having a complete blast. And that’s why you own a Bugatti.

This is an early Bugatti and while it may not have elegant coachwork or a very sporting Grand Prix body (the only real bodywork is a small box behind the engine with a cushion on it… sort of primitive in a way) no one will mistake it for anything else. The pre-sale estimate is $250,000-$350,000. For more information, click here. And for more from Gooding in California, click here.

Update: Sold $379,500.

Update II: Sold, Artcurial Paris 2016, $400,683.

S/N #981.