1931 Bugatti Type 54 expected at $4.6m in Bonhams' Paris auction


2015-06-26 13:07:13


1931 Bugatti Type 54 expected at $4.6m in Bonhams' Paris auction

Bonhams' Grand Palais auction will offer a spectacular Grand Prix 1931 Bugatti Type 54

Bonhams is set to return to Paris' Grand Palais in February, with a classic carauction headlined by the outstanding ex-works Bugatti Type 54, which first raced at Monza in September 1931.

Bugatti Type 54 VarziThe Type 54 is one of just four surviving models made in 1931-1932

Driven by Italian Grand Prix driver Achille Varzi and having enjoyed superb provenance since, the Bugatti is expected to sell for 2.5m-3.5m ($3.3m-4.6m). It will be joined in the auction by the stunning ex-Ettore Bugatti 1938 Type 57C Coupe, one of the most famous ever produced by the French marque.

Only two Type 54 chassis were assembled at the Bugatti factory in September 1931, with the example at auction bearing number 54201. These two models were entrusted to Bugatti's two top drivers as the team made its Italian racing debut at Monza, with Varzi's machine finishing third.

Following a fatal crash while being driven by Prince Georg Christina Lobkowicz, who owned it for just a year, the Type 54 was then lovingly restored by the Prince's friend and Czech race driver, Zdenek Pohl. It has since belonged to renowned British collector Peter Hampton among others, who have ensured that it has remained in prime condition.

The Bugatti is one of just four surviving Type 54s of the nine built in 1931-1932, one of which is currently housed in the Bernie Ecclestone collection. It was last raced at the 2012 Goodwood Revival by Simon Diffey.

Ettore Bugatti Type 57CPerhaps the most significant car to ever have left the Molsheim factory

The Type 57c, the auction's second most valuable lot, is estimated at 800,000-1m ($1m-1.3m). Once belonging to Le Patron, Ettore Bugatti and having had its unique coachwork designed by his eldest son, Jean, the car is among the most significant to have come from the Molsheim factory, and is believed to be the last design ever produced by Jean, who died in 1939.

In spectacular original condition, with finishes as they were applied by Bugatti in 1938, the auction will witness fierce competition to own this remarkable piece of Bugatti history.

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