The ex-Bill Serri, Jr.
1930 BUGATTI TYPE 43A ROADSTER
Chassis No. 43292
Engine No. 121
Red with original black leather interior
Engine: straight-eight in two blocks of four, single overhead camshaft actuating 24 valves via fingers, Zenith 48K carburetor, Roots-type Bugatti supercharger, Bosch magneto ignition, 2,262cc, c120bhp at 5,000rpm; Gearbox: separate four speed unit with center change; Suspension: beam front axle with semi-elliptic springs, live rear axle with reversed quarter-elliptic springs; Brakes: fully compensated cable actuation to front and rear drums integral with the aluminum road wheels. Right hand drive.
In the 1920s production two seater sports cars which could achieve and maintain a genuine maximum speed of 100mph on the road were few and far between. The introduction in early 1927 of the four seater Type 43 Bugatti Grand Sport with a top speed well in excess of this magic figure caused a sensation in the motoring world. This outstanding performance was achieved by the simple installation of a mildly de-tuned version of the current Type 35B Grand Prix car's supercharged straight-eight engine into the chassis frame of the aborted Type 33 two liter sports car of 1923. Like that of the Type 35, this frame had curved side rails following the plan-view profile of the bodywork but with a greater wheelbase capable of accommodating two rows of seats.
According to the factory records, this particular example, chassis no. 43292, fitted with engine no.121 was completed in late 1928 but did not leave Molsheim until August 1930. It was one of only nineteen or twenty Type 43A roadsters built. The identity of this Type 43's first owner in 1930 remains unknown, however it must certainly have been imported to the US sometime prior to World War Two. Its first American owner is believed to have been Mr. L. Cabot Briggs who then sold it to Inskip Motors of New York from where it was purchased by Mr. Al Garthwaite on 3 August 1944. Mr. Garthwaite was a Bugatti enthusiast who, in the mid-1930s had acquired a Type 39 Grand Prix Bugatti which he raced during the 1938 and 1939 seasons. After the War he is known to have competed in this Type 43A Roadster in the Pennsylvania Turnpike High Speed Trial held in July/August 1947.
The car's next owner was Mr. Arthur Iselin, and it then passed to Mr. Joel Finn in whose ownership it is listed in Hugh Conway's update to his 1962 Bugatti Register. However by 1979, the year of publication of the American Bugatti Club Register compiled by Andy Rheault, this still completely original and un-restored car had been acquired by the late William Serri of New Jersey. Little work had been started by the date of his untimely death in 2001 and in December 2002 the car was entrusted to English Bugatti specialists Ivan Dutton Ltd. for a complete mechanical and sympathetic cosmetic restoration. This restoration has been carried out with the greatest of care to obtain the best performance and reliability yet still retaining all original references and details.
This Type 43A is built on frame no. 125 and fitted with engine no. 121, gearbox no. 122 and front and rear axle nos. 123. Generally Type 43 Bugattis had similar numbers on their frames, engines, gearboxes and axles. Thus it seems certain that this example retains all its original mechanical components. In addition it comes preserved with everything from its original leather seats and leather-covered bulkhead to all of its patinated bodywork, including undertrays and front valence. A complete set of original wheels have been thoroughly checked and fitted with new Blockley triple stud tires. The wiring has been renewed inside the old looms and the radiator has been completely flushed out and tested retaining all its patina and G Moreux makers plate. A full set of Stephen Grebel headlights, side-lights and tail lamp are fitted, together with a matching windscreen and pillar-mounted spotlamp. The dashboard is complete with blackface 70 liter Le Nivex fuel gauge, black face Huile pressure gauge, 7000rpm Jaeger rev counter and a fully operational time of trip clock by the Jaeger Watch Co. of New York, probably installed when the car first arrived in the US. The temperature gauge is also a period American fitment. A Ki-gas pump is fitted and the unusual steering wheel has been drilled and leather covered, again probably early in the car's life. All the chrome plating is original and has not been ruined by over enthusiastic polishers trying to make the car look better than new. The car is offered with a handbook and an extensive file of bills detailing the extent of all recent restoration work.
This is surely a unique opportunity to obtain a completely original and wonderfully preserved, thoroughbred sports car that has been fully rebuilt from the inside out and ready for road or competition use.