1929 BUGATTI TYPE 40 TORPEDO ROADSTER
Chassis No. 40765
Blue coachwork with black interior
Engine: four-cylinder 1,496cc giving c.70bhp at 4,700rpm inline with single overhead camshaft, three valves per cylinder, 69x100mm bore and stroke; Gearbox: 4-speed manual, selective sliding; Suspension: semi-elliptic leaf springs front and rear; Brakes: drum, mechanically actuated. Right hand drive.
The fascinating story of Ettore Bugatti and his motorcars has been thoroughly and exhaustively documented through the years and the array of the various models of his cars are familiar to a number of advanced automotive enthusiasts and collectors.
Introduced in 1926 as the replacement for the successful and long-lived Brescia model Bugatti, the Type 40 was designed to offer sporting performance and handling combined with straightforward mechanicals at an attractive price. With a chassis based upon the Type 38 and an engine taken directly from the Type 37, the Type 40 was usually supplied with close-coupled three/four seat torpedo touring coachwork incorporating a tapered tail. However, a variety of custom coachbuilt open and enclosed bodies also were mounted on the Type 40 chassis during its production span of approximately 800 cars from 1926 to 1932.
The Type 40 was a successful combination from the beginning and impressed automotive writers of the day, such as this one who reported in a 1929 issue of The Motor: The car is, above all, thoroughly roadworthy, and this surely is the greatest recommendation of all. One can swing round a bend or stamp on the brake pedal on a greasy stretch of raod without experiencing the slightest qualm. Comfortable at low speeds, the springing becomes positively luxurious at a mile a minute or over; indeed, it is one of the best-sprung cars of its type which we have yet driven, and there is no need, for instance, to vary the shock absorber adjustment even for widely different conditions, such as low speeds in town and an all-out lap on Brooklands track.
The car offered here was imported some years ago from Holland. At the time it carried a modern, streamlined body by Van Egmond of Uithoorne. The body was removed and replaced with a two-seat boattail by a previous American owner who faithfully copied the original body specifications to achieve the present attractive configuration.
Dr. Riddell has actively campaigned this car in vintage racing events where it has regularly beaten Type 37 and Type 37A Bugattis. It has been timed at 85mph, an exceptional turn of speed for a Type 40, and it is eligible to race in Class 1 at the Monterey Historic Races. Among the secrets of its speed are the fitting of the twin Weber carburettors, (the original Zenith and Manifold is available) forged pistons fitted to a new cylinder block and a new crankshaft and connecting rods. The new camshaft is to Type 37 specifications.
It is quite possibly the fastest Type 40 Bugatti still in active competition and would make an excellent dual purpose vintage racing machine as well as a splendid choice for pleasant, rapid touring on such events as The Colorado Grand, California Mille, the Mille Miglia revival itself and various meets, rallies, hillclimbs and tours of the American Bugatti Club or the Bugatti Owners Club in the UK.