1930 Bucciali TAV-30 La Marie Torpedo Type Cannes by Saoutchik
Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 13, 2021
The Bucciali brothers, Angelo and Paul-Albert, were two engineers who set up shop in Courbevoie in France in the mid-1920s. Their first prototype, the TAV-6, debuted in 1926 and two would end up being built. Both were deconstructed in 1929. But the car was merely a demonstration of their front-wheel-drive design. The TAV-8 followed in 1929, and in 1930, the company showed the TAV-30 at the New York Auto Show.
Their presence in New York was really to show other manufacturers their unique designs and to try and license their many patents. The chassis underneath this very car was dubbed “La Marie” and initially served as the chassis for the TAV-3 prototype. It was under this guise that the car was shown to many American automotive manufacturers to try and get some of that sweet license money. It didn’t really work.
So the car returned to France where it was upgraded to TAV-30 spec. It’s fitted with a 5.3-liter Continental inline-eight rated at 114 horsepower. It has a transverse four-speed manual transaxle mounted ahead of the front axle. It also features a four-wheel independent suspension. This thing was way ahead of its time, and its existence is still felt in cars we drive today. For example, Paul-Albert Bucciali showed this car to engineers at Willys, who passed on licensing the patent. After WWII, Bucciali sued, claiming that Willys had essentially stolen his designs, which they pretty much did. But it was all brushed under the rug by the French government and he didn’t get a dime.
Only about eight Bucciali cars were ever built, but they did reuse chassis from earlier models. So maybe five true examples by the time it was all said and done? Only three TAV-30s were made, and this is said to by the only original surviving chassis. A few other Buccialis do still exist, and they are pretty much the holy grail of exotic pre-war French cars. This particular one carries a Saoutchik body that had previously been fitted to a Mercedes 680S. It was mounted during a restoration in the 1970s.
This car famously spent time in the Blackhawk Collection beginning in 1985. Bonhams is expecting big results from this car while at the same time having no idea what to expect. The market is red hot right now, fueled in part by recent inflation. But I’m also pretty sure none of these have ever changed hands publicly. Let’s see what happens… Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
Update: Not sold.