Bugatti Type 55

1932 Bugatti Type 55 Cabriolet

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

Bugatti’s Grand Prix car for 1931 was the Bugatti Type 54, which was a development of the Type 51. The Type 55 you see here is the road-going variant of the Type 54. It features a 2.3-liter straight-8 that has been supercharged, giving it 135 horsepower.

Only 38 Type 55s were built. According to the lot description provided by Gooding & Co., 14 of the cars were bodied by the factory as roadsters. Seven were factory coupes. And there was one factory cabriolet. That accounts for 22 of them. It goes on to say that 11 received bodies from Gangloff or Vanvooren. And the “other three” all had one-off coachwork. You are correct, discerning reader, that 22+11+3=36. So keep an eye out, you may find one of the mysterious unaccounted-for Bugatti Type 55s.

These were very expensive cars at the time – the Type 51 and 54 weren’t winning races like their predecessors, so presumably racing income was way down and maybe Bugatti was making up for it on the road car end. Then again, they were always expensive cars. In any case, this car was purchased as a chassis by a wealthy surgeon who ordered a new Bugatti every year. He sent it to Lyon to receive this fantastic coachwork from Billeter & Cartier. This is the only such car constructed by them.

Somebody had the brilliant idea to finish this in black and green – an amazing color combination. Every owner of the car is known and it underwent a restoration over a number of yeas and under the direction of multiple owners. It has never been shown at the big Concours’ and it is one seriously good-looking Bugatti. Of course, this comes at a price, with an estimate between $5,000,000-$6,500,000. For more information, click here and for more from Gooding in Monterey, click here.

Update: Not sold.

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