Monterey, Jet Center
16 August 2007
c. 1928 BUGATTI TYPE 52 'BABY'
Serial Number: 327 A
Conceived in 1927, the original was built for Roland Bugatti, the second son of Ettore, as a half-scale toy modelled closely on the Grand Prix types 35 and 51. However following its exhibition on the Bugatti stand at the Milan Automobile Salon that year, it created so much interest that Ettore Bugatti decided to put it into production giving it a works serial type number '52'. Although primarily known and marketed as 'Baby' it was produced for children of between age 6-8years.
It had a top speed of 15-18kph, battery-powered by a 12-volt electric motor on the rear axle and featured detachable alloy-spoked wheels with integral four-wheel brakes, pneumatic tyres, opening louvred bonnet and dummy radiator. The throttle connected to a rheostat controlled output to the single geared motor mounted transversally above the rear axle, and a reverse gear was operated by a simple switch reversing the polarity. The body was scaled down, but given a lengthened cockpit to allow easier access for the driver and passenger. An expensive model in their day, they were much in demand by the rich and famous for their offspring and children's races were featured at race-tracks and popular venues such as Monte Carlo and Deauville, where promenading and decorative self-display were paramount pastimes.
This original example, stamped behind the seat with its serial number of 327A, has been the subject of a sympathetic restoration to French/Bugatti blue livery and resided in the collection for reportedly over 20 years.
Length 1.75m. (72ins.)
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