Bugatti Type 37
Lot 416
1926 Bugatti Type 37 Monoposto Chassis no. BC 78 Engine no. 79
Sold for £197,300 (US$ 337,777) inc. premium
Lot Details
1926 Bugatti Type 37 Monoposto
Registration no. DS 9996
Chassis no. BC 78
Engine no. 79

Footnotes

  • '(In) the 1,500cc Grand Prix Bugatti... the manufacturers have introduced a new era for the sporting motorist by placing a real production racing car in the hands of the public... One of these machines... as delivered... will be fit to win races and competitions without any need of "hotting up".' – Richard Twelvetrees, Motor Sport, September 1926.
    At the end of the 1925 season the CSI introduced a new formula intended to slow down the then current generation of 2-litre Grand Prix cars (there's nothing new under the sun), imposing a 1.5-litre capacity limit for 1926. On this occasion Bugatti was able to field a competitive challenger straight away – the Type 37 – which made its race-winning debut in the first Grand Prix of '26 held at Miramas, France.
    The Type 37's chassis and body were very similar to those of the 2-litre Type 35, the two models looking almost identical apart from the wheels (wire in the former's case, alloy in the latter's) though beneath the bonnet the Type 37 carried a four-cylinder engine rather than its larger sibling's straight eight. Bore and stroke of the Type 37 engine were 69x100mm for a capacity of 1,496cc, and in most respects this unit was typically Bugatti, the iron block and head being one casting topped by a single bevel-driven camshaft operating three valves per cylinder: two inlet and one exhaust. However, for the Type 37's crankshaft Ettore Bugatti opted for plain big-end and main bearings rather than the Type 35's ball/roller combination. A maximum power output of 60bhp was claimed, which was good enough for a top speed of around 95mph.
    As it turned out, the Type 37's time as a frontline Grand Prix car would be limited. The mid-1920s was a period of instability in Grand Prix racing and in 1928 the 1.5-litre cars were rendered obsolete by the adoption of 'Formula Libre', which permitted race organisers to run their own events with few if any limitations. Although outclassed by larger-engined rivals in Grands Prix, the Type 37 continued to win races in the hands of amateur drivers at national level throughout the world. In total, 290 were made, including 67 of the supercharged Type 37A.
    This Type 37 was assembled during the late 1980s using a Bugatti Club chassis and an original engine, gearbox, front and rear axles, brakes and radiator. The car was then allocated chassis number 'BC 78' by the Bugatti Owners' Club in accordance with its DVLA-approved policy of issuing its own numbers to Bugatti cars of unknown chassis number. The engine, numbered '79', was originally fitted to chassis number '37112', which according to copies of the factory records was invoiced for delivery to Milan on 25th August 1926 (see accompanying Bugatti Owners' Club letter to the current vendor dated 8th May 1992). Restored in the 1990s and maintained by Richard Peskett since 2000, the car is described by the private vendor as in generally good condition and offered with sundry restoration invoices, current MoT/tax and Swansea V5 registration document.
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