Doyen of all things Bugatti, Col. G M Giles was a distinguished founding member of the Bugatti Owners Club, later its President and indeed had owned no less than twelve Bugattis before the outbreak of World War II. From a family whose business interests centred around interior design in Mayfair, London, it was not perhaps surprising that Col. Giles and his brother Eric were drawn to the products of Le Patron, Ettore Bugatti, engineer and artist.
Bugatti No.10 in the Col. Giles motorhouse was a sensational Type 57, 3,300cc, twin camshaft, TT model described by the Col. as truly the most superb car anybody could wish for fast, silent, terrific acceleration, and yet so docile that thick traffic can be negotiated on top speed if desired.
This car, affectionately known as Térèse, was bought by the Colonel in 1935 and collected by him in chassis form from the factory and driven back to England. The coachwork was designed by brother Eric, and Bertelli of Feltham were commissioned for its construction. The new car was reviewed by Motor Sport in September 1935 and the coachwork described as at once striking, well streamlined and eminently suited for fast touring and even that was understating this exceptional grand tourer.
The Giles car was the TT model, differentiated by the high compression engine and lower raked steering column, and developed a claimed power output of 148bhp. It was precisely this model which was to be campaigned in the October Ulster TT that year by Earl Howe, the Hon. Brian Lewis and McFerren. Earl Howe achieved a creditable second place in Class C and third overall in that race at an average speed of 79.72mph, while Lewis achieved the fastest lap at 82.51mph.
This cars early history is superbly documented in Bugantics and distinguished features noted are the sensational two-piece raked windscreen, the extended bonnet and scuttle and the remote-control gear lever. The distinctive Bugatti tubular seats enabled the design of a compact yet spacious four seater grand tourer. Accommodation for two spare wheels is provided in the deep tapering boot and Jackall hydraulic jacks are fitted at the rear to facilitate wheel changing. It was clearly this car, Térèse, that influenced the building of the Giles familys next car, the two-seater Type 57S (later 57SC) which again carried Eric Giles-designed coachwork, in that case executed by Corsica.
Térèse was to be sold by Col. Giles in March 1939 to fellow Bugatti aficionado, C E Stapleton. and at that time the original registration number GU 7 was transferred to Giless Type 57S. Col. Giles was to record that she could not have had a better home, and as was seen at the Hatfield Rally this year (1949) she looked superb, and won the award for the best car taking age and mileage into consideration. Bugatti Club records show that Térèse was the winner of the George Harris Cup in 1935 (Col. Giles) and again in 1948 and 1949 (C E Stapleton).
In November 1954, some 50 years ago, Térèse changed hands for just the second time, passing into the present ownership. At that time a new cylinder block was sourced direct from the factory and fitted to the car and the front brakes were sensibly converted to hydraulics. No better home could have been found, its new owner, an enthusiastic member of the Bugatti Owners Club, enjoying and cherishing Térèse and relishing regular high-speed, early morning, open-top runs between his home in the Home Counties and the West Country as well as participating in many Bugatti Owners Club events. There can be few such touring cars that retain the overall originality of Térèse, even the original Bugatti upholstery remaining intact. Lighting is by Scintilla with side lamps embraced in the front wings and Eric Giless attention to detail can be noted in the tax disc holder recessed within the body swage. The streamlined aerofoil front wing stays and rear wheel spats further enhance the dramatic appearance of this car. Period instrumentation includes Jaeger 0-100mph speedometer and rev counter, Smiths dash clock and a Ferodo brake efficiency indicator. Bosch electrics and Gurtner 12v electric twin horns complete the equipment.
Térèse comes with an old style continuation buff log book recording first registration on 30th March 1935 and acquisition by the present owner on 1st November 1954. A number of expired MoT certificates confirm regular use through the eighties and into the nineties and it appears that the car was last used perhaps in 1997. It comes with a Swansea V5 registration document. Although running well when laid up, its meticulous owner recommends careful recommissioning prior to once again aspiring to its high speed touring potential of 85-90mph, or even the 115mph maximum which Motor Sport suggested that Col. Giles expected to achieve.
Rarely does a car of this importance come to the open market the Giles family history, the rarity of the TT model, the fabulously styled art deco coachwork, the current 50 year ownership and the outstanding originality of this very special car setting it on a pinnacle within Bugatti circles. Combine this with potentially outstanding touring car performance and here surely is a fast and elegant grand tourer from a most exclusive peer group.