1927 Bugatti Type 40 Roadster  Chassis no. 40445 Engine no. 429
Lot 555
1927 Bugatti Type 40 Roadster Chassis no. 40445 Engine no. 429
Sold for £149,340 (US$ 251,013) inc. premium
Lot Details
1927 Bugatti Type 40 Roadster
Registration no. SV 6383
Chassis no. 40445
Engine no. 429


  • 'Bugattis encapsulate concepts of engineering which, once seen, change your ideas radically and definitively. Drive them, and you realise that each car is form and engineering in equilibrium, and a work of art.' – William Stobbs, Les Grandes Routières.
    By the early 1930s Ettore Bugatti had established an unrivalled reputation for building cars with outstanding performance on road or track; the world's greatest racing drivers enjoying countless successes aboard the Molsheim factory's products and often choosing them for their everyday transport. Introduced in 1926, the Type 40 Bugatti succeeded the Brescia types, being built on a longer wheelbase and equipped with a more powerful engine. Virtually identical to that used in the Type 37 Grand Prix car, the latter was a four-cylinder unit displacing 1,496cc and incorporating an all-plain-bearing bottom end with five mains. A single overhead camshaft operated three valves per cylinder (two inlets, one exhaust) and the Type 40's 45bhp or thereabouts maximum power output was transmitted to the rear wheels via a separate four-speed gearbox. A total of 775 Type 40s had been made when production ceased in May 1931 with a further 32 Type 40As completed with the 1,627cc engine by the end of that year. It is estimated that fewer then 200 survive today.
    The example offered here, chassis number '40445', was delivered new to Australia for fitting with a locally built body, which it retains. Bob King's 'Australian Bugatti Register' (1974 edition, copy extract on file) lists Roy A Johnson of Ripponlea as the first of many owners 'down under', having taken delivery of the car on 2nd December 1927. At the time of the Register's publication the owner was Dr Noel Murdoch of Yarra Junction, who had acquired the Bugatti in 1942. In a letter on file his son, Stuart Murdoch, recalls driving the car for many miles during the early 1950s while attending Melbourne University.
    The car's Register entry records the original engine as number '323' while further documentation on file includes invoices for a Bugatti Owners Club engine block and a new Allen crankshaft supplied and fitted in the 1980s while the car was owned by Peter Cooper of Albury, NSW who it seems was undertaking its restoration at this time. Its accompanying FIVA Identity Card depicts the Type 40 in 1988 soon after completion.
    In 1996 the Bugatti was imported into the UK by marque specialists Ivan Dutton Ltd and in 2003 was purchased from them by the current vendor, the car's third registered keeper in the UK, having previously belonged to Mrs Margaret Davison of Bledlow, Buckinghamshire. Presented in generally good condition and running well, this beautiful Type 40 roadster is offered with aforementioned history file, Australian Owner's Certificate (issued 1932), import and shipping documentation, BOC spare part books, copy service manual (in French), SORN letter, a quantity of expired MoT certificates, old/current Swansea V5/V5C documents and MoT to June 2013.
  1. Rob Hubbard
    Specialist - Motor Cars
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