Bugatti Type 49 Roadster

1932 Bugatti Type 49 Roadster by Labourdette

Offered by Bonhams | Greenwich, Connecticut | June 4, 2017

Photo – Bonhams

In 1922, Bugatti introduced the eight-cylinder Type 30. It would evolve through a number of other models, all eight-cylinder cars, that culminated in the 1930-1934 Type 49. This model is considered to be one of the finest of Ettore’s creations, with a decade of development used to really perfect it.

The Type 49 is powered by a 3.3-liter straight-eight making 85 horsepower. The body is by Labourdette, one of the oldest French coachbuilders of its day. It’s sleek and simple, with a rear-mounted spare that is inset into the body, making the car appear quite aerodynamic when viewed from behind.

The first few owners of this car were all French, but in the 1970s it was exported to the U.K. It arrived in the U.S. in 1983 by way of Japan and the current owner acquired it in 1995. Restored over a number of years, it is fresh, pretty, and ready for showing and going. Bugatti built 470 examples of the Type 49 and just 76 are thought to exist. This one has not been bestowed with a pre-sale estimate, so bring a blank check. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $676,500.

Georges Irat Prototype

1949 Georges Irat Cabriolet Prototype by Labourdette

Offered by Artcurial | Paris, France | February 5, 2016

Photo - Artcurial

Photo – Artcurial

This car, which looks like a toy, was built by Georges Irat, a company that sold its first car in 1921. They built less than a thousand cars up until World War Two broke out. During the war they turned to electric cars but never got very far.

After the war, Georges Irat wanted to get back into auto production. They showed a prototype in 1946 and another in 1949. This is that second car. It was powered by a 2.0-liter straight-four. The body was designed by coachbuilder Labourdette. After the 1949 auto show, production never resumed, though the company tried building smaller cars in Morocco for a few years.

Years later, the body of this car was discovered in the old Georges Irat factory. To make it show-worthy, a chassis from a Simca 8 was thrown under the car, so, you know, they could actually drive it. Pretty – and very unique – this end-of-the-line prototype from little known Georges Irat should bring between $55,000-$110,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $64,109.

1901 Panhard Tonneau

1901 Panhard et Levassor Twin-Cylinder 7HP Rear-Entrance Tonneau by Labourdette

Offered by Bonhams | London, U.K. | October 31, 2014

Photo - Bonhams

Photo – Bonhams

We featured a 1902 Panhard et Levassor about a week and a half ago. It’s similar to this car, but also quite different – especially when it comes to the body. This has a body by famed French coachbuilder Henri Labourdette. It’s a rear-entrance tonneau with a big, tall hardtop (yet zero weather protection).

This body is actually original to this car, which is very rare for a car that is almost 115 years old. The engine is a 1.7-liter twin making seven horsepower. The original owner of this car is known and it was the 11th car registered in Toulouse. At some point, probably around WWI, it was stashed away in the basement of a castle.

It wasn’t until the 1990s that the car was rescued and restored. I like that the front and rear tires are of differing diameter. This is a great example of an early motorcar – and the top retains its original leather. It should sell for between $320,000-$400,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of this auction’s lineup.

Update: Sold $413,767.

1903 Barré Tonneau

1903 Barré Twin-Cylinder Fout-Seat Tonneau by Labourdette

Offered by Bonhams | London, England | November 2, 2012

Gaston Barré, like many early automobile producers, started with a bicycle shop. He opened his in 1894 but by 1899 realized what the new wave was going to be and started constructing quadricycles. Later that year he received some backing from a wealthy local in Niort and moved to a larger facility. Automobile production started in 1900 and Barré quickly became one of the many French automobile companies that rallied a strong following and had a steady output of cars for a number of years.

What helped Barré become a fairly large regional manufacturer was that he came up with the idea of post-sale service. Barré would support his cars in private hands when they entered them in events. He expanded with a Parisian office and during the first World War he built military vehicles. After the war, the pre-war models remained with little changes and the company had to be reorganized in 1927 but it could never get past its out-of-date designs. Production stopped in 1930 and the firm was liquidated in 1933. About 2,500-3,000 Barré’s were produced over the years.

This twin-cylinder Barré has four-seat tonneau coachwork from Henri Labourdette of Paris. Barré’s are known for their dependability and build-quality and this car, at almost 110 years old, is no exception. It is expected to sell for between $190,000-$240,000. For more information click here. And for more from Bonhams in London, click here.

Update: Sold $214,000.