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45 bhp, 1,496 cc single overhead camshaft four-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, live front axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, live rear axle with inverted quarter-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel cable-operated drum brakes. Wheelbase: 2,560 mm (100.8 in.)
• One of only 13 surviving “Jean Bugatti Roadsters” on the 1,500-cubic centimetre Type 40 chassis
• French ownership since new; single owner for the last 29 years
• Very original, matching-numbers example
• Documented and inspected by Pierre Yves Laugier
After the success of the Brescia Bugatti, which excelled in its various configurations on both road and track, Ettore Bugatti launched the Type 40 as its replacement in May 1926. Some 780 examples were built.
Particularly prized by collectors are the 42 examples of the Type 40 that were fitted with Jean Bugatti’s stunning roadster bodywork, a rakish design originally created in 1929 for the eight-cylinder Type 43A, and a model that remains among the most coveted pre-war sports cars of all time. In order to fit the Type 40 chassis, the body design had to be shortened to suit the more compact dimensions, but the overall result remains simply stunning, and it sets those 42 chassis apart as the most sporting and desirable of their breed. The roadsters were built on the last Type 40 chassis produced, between March 1930 and 1931, at the same time as production of the successor Type 40A was getting underway. Naturally, Jean Bugatti took the first roadster for himself.
The car offered here retains its original matching-numbers chassis frame, number 40845, and engine, number 769, as well as its original Roadster Luxe bodywork. It was one of four ordered by Bugatti’s Paris agent, Larrousé. The rolling chassis was built in January 1930, the car was ordered in April 1930, and the body was built in August 1930. Alas, the identity of its original owner is unknown, as the Parisian Bugatti agency and police records of this time have been lost.
In the mid-1950s, the car is believed to have been sold to a buyer in the Loire Valley, where it was registered as 243 BW 41. It was acquired from a mechanic in that region in October 1961, by Mr Jean Montot, who retained the car, registered as 188 FA 37, until his passing. The present owner acquired the Bugatti from Monsieur Montot’s family in 1984 and had it refinished in the classic black and red colour combination; the same as Jean Bugatti’s personal car. The paint scheme is complemented by a black hood and black wire wheels.
The car retains all of its original mechanical components, numbered consistently to the chassis, as well as its original chassis plate and wood panels stamped “22”, identifying this car as the 22nd Jean Bugatti Roadster built. The dashboard instruments are also entirely correct. Few Bugattis can claim such an outstanding level of originality. One of only 13 existing Roadsters; the car also benefits from single ownership for the last 29years. It is in perfect running condition, it is reliable, and it presents a fantastic opportunity for the new owner to buy and enjoy one of these exceptionally rare examples that is highly eligible for many events, such as the Mille Miglia.