THE EX WORKS/MONT VENTOUX WINNING 1927 BUGATTI TYPE 35B GRAND PRIX
Chassis No. 4882
Engine No. 85 French Racing Blue with brown leather interior
Engine: straight eight overhead camshaft, Bugatti-Roots supercharger, 2,292cc, 130bhp at 5,500rpm; Gearbox: four-speed manual; Suspension: front-Bugatti type forged steel tubular axle with trunnion mounted leaf springs, rear-axle carried on reversed quarter elliptic leaf springs; Brakes: four wheel drum. Right hand drive.
Considered by many people to be the most beautiful racing car of its period, and an enduring classic design of all time, the Type 35 Bugatti is also one of the most successful racing cars ever built, with a string of major victories in the hands of famous drivers all over the world. In the late 1920s it was also the best car that could be purchased by an amateur racing driver and at the same time was capable of winning a Grand Prix. A good Type 35 is also one of the most exciting and satisfying cars to drive, both in competition and on the open road. It is this fact, just as much as its universal appeal as an automotive art form, which is no doubt responsible for the strong demand and high prices which this car commands on the rare occasions when a good example is offered for sale.
The Type 35C Bugatti, introduced for the 1927 season, was a supercharged version of the original 2-liter Type 35 racing car which first appeared at Lyon for the 1924 French Grand Prix. Recent research by noted Bugatti authority, David Sewell, has unveiled that 4882 indeed has a long and colorful history. 4882 was originally a works car, confirmed by the fact that it was registered with the number 4131 J4 on April 2, 1927 in the name of Ettore Bugatti Automobiles of Molsheim, Alsace. It was one of three such models registered in the company name during 1927 and was therefore probably used by the factory in Formula Libre events, the Grand Prix capacity limit at the time being 1 1/2 liters. Consultation of the racing records for 1927 show that the Bugatti factory entered three Type 35C's for the Targa Florio and also for the San Sebastien GP, so this example may well have been one of these entries.
Its original engine number 85 suggests that the car may in fact date from mid-1926. The cars with all other engine numbers in the range 78-90 were invoiced in June-August 1926 apart from that, number 86, which was invoiced in September of that year. It may well therefore have been one of the pair of factory Type 35C Bugattis which secured first and second places in the Milan Grand Prix held at Monza on September 12, 1926, this being the very first appearance of superchargers on the classic two-liter Bugatti engine. The factory records certainly list no other Type 35C Bugatti to have originally been fitted with an engine number less than 100.
The car was subsequently invoiced by the factory on February 14, 1928 to a man named Lam of Hong Kong, or possibly Saigon, although it remains unclear whether the car was actually ever delivered to the Orient. If so, it was soon to return because it was sold again by the factory on April 5, 1929 to Francois Forest near Avignon and registered with the number 3399 ZA. The following season it was the outright winner of the famous Mont Ventoux hill climb in a time of 17 minutes 38 seconds driven by well known racing driver Pierre Rey of Carpentras who purchased the car June 7, 1934. No doubt he contested many other events in this car around that period. The car remained in the Avignon area until 1958 when it was sold to dealer Henri Malartre of Lyon and registered 1558 AY 69. A photo of 4882 from this period in "as discovered" condition shows the car in complete yet unrestored condition. On July 9th that year, the car was purchased by American Richard H. Poe of Villars-sur-Ollon in the Vaud region of Switzerland who had the car shipped to England to be overhauled by renowned Bugatti mechanic Robert Patrick of London.
Once the restoration work had been completed in 1959 Poe imported the car to the USA and in November 1960 sold it to the present owner, an active racing and driving enthusiast. Over the intervening period the car has competed in a number of vintage racing events, notably at Lime Rock, and is also road driven frequently. The engine was rebuilt recently by Vintage Auto Restoration of Ridgefield, Connecticut and a new radiator has been fitted. The crankshaft must have been replaced during one of its engine rebuilds, prior to 1960, because the car is now a 2.3 liter Type 35B. 4882 features an unusually large tachometer, no doubt an accessory dating from its early racing days, and an electric starter motor and fuel pump, but is otherwise in full original racing trim, being devoid of fenders and lighting equipment.
4882 is well known and documented by the American Bugatti Club and has been featured in numerous publications including "The Grand Prix Bugatti" by Hugh Conway, Automobile Quarterly, Pur Sang (in a number of volumes) and most recently in Antoine Raffaelli's book "Archieve D'Une Passion" where some lovely period photographs show the car in 1930. In addition, the Type 35B comes with extensive documentation file. The Bugatti has been in careful ownership for the past 37 years, and the current owner hopes that it will continue to be used regularly.