Bugatti Type 41 Royal
The Bugatti Type 41 Royal is a pre-war classic car produced by the celebrated French manufacturer Bugatti between 1929 and 1933.
Ettore Bugatti designed the Type 41 with royalty in mind, and had originally planned to build 25 models. However, the car was launched on the market in 1930 with a price of $30,000, just as the Great depression took hold of the world economy. Only six models were built, only three of these were actually sold. All six are still in existence, and are regularly displayed by their current owners
The first model, known as the Coupe Napoleon, was not sold and became the personal car of Ettore Bugatti himself. In 1963 the car was purchased from the family by the obsessive Bugatti collectors the Schlumpf Brothers, and as of 2011 it is housed on display at the Musée National de l'Automobile de Mulhouse along with the rest of their extensive collection.
The second model built is known as the Coupe de Ville Binder, and was purchased by the French clothing manufacturer Armand Esders in 1932. It was later remodelled as a Coupe de Ville by the coach builder Henri Binder (from where it takes its name), before changing hands several times until the 1950s.
In 1954 it was purchased by Dudley C Wilson of Florida, who later passed it to Mills B Lane of Atlanta, and in 1964 it found a home in the car collection of the late casino owner William F. Harrah. In 1986 it was once again sold, this time to the collector Major General William Lyon, and was purchased by the current Bugatti brand owner Volkswagen AG for a reported $20 million in 1999.
The third model is known as the Cabriolet Weinberger, after its first owner Josef Fuchs had it modified by the German coach builder Ludwig Weinberger in 1932. Fuchs later took the car the United States, and in 1946 it was discovered in a scrap yard by Charles Chayne, the CEO of General Motors, who bought it for a mere $400. The car was then fully restored, and in 1957 Chayne donated it to the Henry Ford Museum in Michigan, where it remains on display.
The fourth model is known as the Limousine Park-Ward, after its English owner Captain Cuthbert W. Foster had it remodelled in the style of a Limousine by the British company Park Ward in 1933. The car found its way to the United States and the Bugatti collection of John Shakespeare in 1956, and in 1963 the entire collection was purchased by the Schlumpf Brothers. It is housed alongside Chassis 41.110 in the Musée National de l'Automobile de Mulhouse.
The fifth model is known as the Kellner car, and was kept by the Bugatti family until 1950 when it was sold, along with chassis 41.150, to the American racing driver Briggs Cunningham for $3,000 and a new refrigerator. It was later sold to the Swedish collector Hans Thulin at a Christie’s auction of Cunningham’s collection in 1986 for $9.7 million, who then resold it in 1990 to the Japanese Meitec Corporation for $15.7 million. In 2001 the car was sold once more in a private sale for £10 million to an unknown buyer.
The sixth car is known as the Berline de Voyage, and was also kept by the Bugatti family until the sale to Briggs Cunningham in 1950. It later joined chassis 41.111 in the Harrah Collection, before being sold to collector Jerry J. Moore in 1986 for $6.5 million. Moore then sold it just one year later for $8.1 million to Tom Monaghan, founder of Domino’s Pizza, who himself sold the car in 1991 to the Blackhawk Collection in Danville, California.