1922 BUGATTI TYPE 29/30 'RESERVOIR  OVALE COURSE' (OVAL TANK, RACING)  Chassis no. 4008

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Lot 52Ω
One of only two known to survive
1922 BUGATTI TYPE 29/30 'RESERVOIR OVALE COURSE' (OVAL TANK, RACING)

Sold for US$ 1,045,000 inc. premium
1922 BUGATTI TYPE 29/30 'RESERVOIR OVALE COURSE' (OVAL TANK, RACING)

Chassis no. 4008

1,991cc SOHC Inline 8-Cylinder Engine
Twin Zenith Carburetors
50bhp
4-Speed Manual Transmission
4-Wheel Brakes - Front Actuated by Foot, Rear by Handbrake
Semi-Elliptic Leaf Spring Suspension

*The oldest 8-Cylinder Two Seater Sport Bugatti to survive
*Sympathetically restored to its original form
*Never shown in America
*Ready for fast road touring or display



THE BUGATTI TYPE 29

The Type 29 proved to be the fore-runner of a remarkably successful range of models destined to establish Bugatti for all time securely amongst the world's greatest manufacturers of racing and sports cars.

The Type 29 project began in March 1921 with the preliminary designs for an 8-cylinder engine featuring paired cylinder blocks mounted upon a barrel crankcase with an overhead camshaft operating two inlet and one exhaust valves per cylinder. By 1922 the dimensions of the now Type 30-designated engine had increased to 60mm x 85mm yielding a capacity of just under two liters which was intended to coincide with the new limit for Grand Prix racing and in 1922 Bugatti embarked upon the manufacturer of a prototype batch of 8-cylinder cars suitable for racing at the highest level.

A total of sixteen pre-production chassis were laid down, with for the first time chassis numbers in a new series, starting with 4001. The cars produced had a strengthened front axle with hydraulic brakes, a novelty in 1922. Bugatti debuted the Type 29 with an entry of four brand new cars entered at the French Grand Prix in 1922, which took place on his 'home turf' close by his Molsheim works at Strasbourg. They performed admirably, with three of the four completing the full distance behind the sole other surviving car, a FIAT, of an original field of eighteen cars. A further entry at the Italian Grand Prix proved less successful, with three cars being retired before the race, although leaving Pierre de Viscaya as the flag bearer again saw the new 8-cylinder Bugatti come home in 3rd place.

Both events inspired the Argentinian Martin de Alzaga Unzue to organize through de Viscaya for the factory to supply a team of three 2 liter cars to campaign them here in America at the next year's Indianapolis 500. To compete on the famed brickyard circuit, these were fitted with wind cheating offset single seater bodies. Supplemented by a further two privateer entries of ex-Strasbourg cars, the five car équipe made quite an impact, with speeds of 110mph being achieved in practice, showing great promise for the new eight cylinder Bugatti.


THE MOTORCAR OFFERED

The factory records clearly detail each of these sixteen pre-production Type 29/30 chassis, of which only two are known to survive, one being Zborowski's privateer single seater Indianapolis entry, chassis 4004 and this car, chassis 4008.

This car's specific chassis length (2.55m) and original two seater configuration has lead world respected Bugatti historian Pierre Yves Laugier to refer to it as 'the oldest 8-cylinder sport Bugatti and the only survivor of the 8-cylinder Type 23 Series', the 'sport' referring to its roadgoing intentions, i.e. excluding its single seater counterparts. This world respected historian reached this conclusion of the history of this fascinating milestone in the Bugatti story following one of his exhaustive 'forensic' projects.

Beginning in the early 2000s, Laugier's pioneering strategy of research came from following documented transactions of cars by the license plates and their respective police jurisdiction, a facility available in his home country of France which unlike the U.S. retains much of this documentation, and where many Bugattis had enjoyed the large part of their early days. Furnished with names and addresses from these records he would vociferously pursue his findings, quite literally knocking on the doors of the houses where cars had lived, or asking neighbors if they recalled a Bugatti living in the village. Of course, it wasn't always successful, but on many occasions his findings produced revelations that unraveled long unanswered anomalies in Bugatti histories. Quite simply his contribution to this particular marque has been ground breaking and in doing so his opinion has become renowned throughout the hobby.

4008 is a perfect example of this new approach to research and once again the new information that came to light in this process has provided key insight into the importance of this car.

As is now factually documented in his extensive report, which analyzes not only this, but all of the cars of this transitional model, chassis 4008 was delivered new on November 16, 1922, as such only this and one other sister car (4010) were completed before the end of that year. Both cars received coachwork in the style that had become the norm for factory supplied sports Bugattis, being a Spartan body that took its lines straight off the already iconic pear shaped radiator, stretching back to a simple oval tank - 'reservoir ovale'.

In reviewing this early sequence of production, Mr. Laugier found that only numbers 4008 and 4009 are referred to in the Bugatti factory records as being for 'courses' - racing.

By tracing the records backwards to the factory delivery, this car's history can succinctly be quantified as: 1922, delivered in Paris; 1934, sold to an owner in Lille; 1937, sold to P. Villemagne; 1968 sold to P. Salvan; then to C. Renel.

At this point the car passed to an extremely well known Bugattiste, Uwe Hucke. By this stage, some of the coachwork had been lost, but as photos of his acquisition at the time confirm, the car was very much a complete entity, with everything including its bulkhead, firewall, pedals, floorboards, brake master cylinder, Zenith carburetors, dashboard, instruments and switch panel in place. It retained then as now, engine number 6 with cam box stamped 6, back axle 3 with ratio stamped 15/54, steering box number 4 and magneto cradle number 3.

With a 'blank canvas' and ever keen to preserve historic chapters of the Bugatti tale, Mr. Hucke elected to restore it with a replica coachwork in the style of the famed 'cigar' torpedo cars that had campaigned at the Strasbourg Grand Prix. In this form it would become a familiar sight at many events and shows, this particular cataloguer recalling it on display at the Paris Retromobile in the early 1990s.

In Mr. Hucke's twilight years as he sought to disperse his collection, the car passed to internationally renowned dealer Christoph Grohe. While with Mr. Grohe, Mr. Laugier's research began to be completed and when a chance finding with a former owner produced a set of fenders, a second rebody was carried out putting the car into a more road touring style akin to others of its series.

Ultimately the car passed into British hands and then to the current owner, a passionate collector of very fine pre-war automobiles, with a particularly keen interest in 'la marque'. During this time, Pierre Laugier's research was finalized and it became very clear that with many of the cars lost in time, 4008 was the oldest two seater built for racing of them all. In its current sympathetic ownership cognizant of the fact that we are only custodians of historic automobiles, he was keen to play his part in its life and to return the car to its original form. In doing so the coachwork was removed from the car and all surviving photographs of the very early 8-cylinder cars were analyzed in depth to ensure that its original coachwork was perfectly recreated.

As evidenced today, this has been an incredible success, immortalizing this important machine, by returning it to the guise in which it would have left the factory. After a process of a number of years, the oldest two seater 8-cylinder racing Bugatti was unveiled at the 2014 Zoute Grand Prix Concours d'Elegance on the north coast of Belgium, where it was lauded by a discerning European panel of judges and awarded Most Exciting Design.

This is a unique motor car, being the only Bugatti conforming to the specification of the very first Grand prix model of this illustrious marque, a marque which within the next few years was to dominate Grand Prix racing more than any other had ever done before or since, and which thereby became what many still consider to be the most evocative marque in motor racing history. It is one of only two surviving examples of Bugatti's prototype batch of 8-cylinder racing cars dating from 1922.

It takes little imagination to realize that the power to weight ratio is strongly in favor of the former and that, not surprisingly, it provides electrifying performance on the road. Unseen in America before, it offers a multitude of opportunities from fast road touring to display.

With all the cues of both the most important eras of Bugatti production, the looks of the early sports cars and the pivotal and iconic 'straight eight' power-plant which within two years would form the basis of all Bugatti Grand Prix cars, the Type 35, this is an immensely historic milestone in the tale of the Bugatti marque which we are very proud to offer for sale.
Contacts
1922 BUGATTI TYPE 29/30 'RESERVOIR  OVALE COURSE' (OVAL TANK, RACING)  Chassis no. 4008
1922 BUGATTI TYPE 29/30 'RESERVOIR  OVALE COURSE' (OVAL TANK, RACING)  Chassis no. 4008
1922 BUGATTI TYPE 29/30 'RESERVOIR  OVALE COURSE' (OVAL TANK, RACING)  Chassis no. 4008
1922 BUGATTI TYPE 29/30 'RESERVOIR  OVALE COURSE' (OVAL TANK, RACING)  Chassis no. 4008
1922 BUGATTI TYPE 29/30 'RESERVOIR  OVALE COURSE' (OVAL TANK, RACING)  Chassis no. 4008
1922 BUGATTI TYPE 29/30 'RESERVOIR  OVALE COURSE' (OVAL TANK, RACING)  Chassis no. 4008
1922 BUGATTI TYPE 29/30 'RESERVOIR  OVALE COURSE' (OVAL TANK, RACING)  Chassis no. 4008
1922 BUGATTI TYPE 29/30 'RESERVOIR  OVALE COURSE' (OVAL TANK, RACING)  Chassis no. 4008
1922 BUGATTI TYPE 29/30 'RESERVOIR  OVALE COURSE' (OVAL TANK, RACING)  Chassis no. 4008
1922 BUGATTI TYPE 29/30 'RESERVOIR  OVALE COURSE' (OVAL TANK, RACING)  Chassis no. 4008
1922 BUGATTI TYPE 29/30 'RESERVOIR  OVALE COURSE' (OVAL TANK, RACING)  Chassis no. 4008
1922 BUGATTI TYPE 29/30 'RESERVOIR  OVALE COURSE' (OVAL TANK, RACING)  Chassis no. 4008
1922 BUGATTI TYPE 29/30 'RESERVOIR  OVALE COURSE' (OVAL TANK, RACING)  Chassis no. 4008
1922 BUGATTI TYPE 29/30 'RESERVOIR  OVALE COURSE' (OVAL TANK, RACING)  Chassis no. 4008
1922 BUGATTI TYPE 29/30 'RESERVOIR  OVALE COURSE' (OVAL TANK, RACING)  Chassis no. 4008
1922 BUGATTI TYPE 29/30 'RESERVOIR  OVALE COURSE' (OVAL TANK, RACING)  Chassis no. 4008
1922 BUGATTI TYPE 29/30 'RESERVOIR  OVALE COURSE' (OVAL TANK, RACING)  Chassis no. 4008
1922 BUGATTI TYPE 29/30 'RESERVOIR  OVALE COURSE' (OVAL TANK, RACING)  Chassis no. 4008
1922 BUGATTI TYPE 29/30 'RESERVOIR  OVALE COURSE' (OVAL TANK, RACING)  Chassis no. 4008
1922 BUGATTI TYPE 29/30 'RESERVOIR  OVALE COURSE' (OVAL TANK, RACING)  Chassis no. 4008
1922 BUGATTI TYPE 29/30 'RESERVOIR  OVALE COURSE' (OVAL TANK, RACING)  Chassis no. 4008
1922 BUGATTI TYPE 29/30 'RESERVOIR  OVALE COURSE' (OVAL TANK, RACING)  Chassis no. 4008
1922 BUGATTI TYPE 29/30 'RESERVOIR  OVALE COURSE' (OVAL TANK, RACING)  Chassis no. 4008
1922 BUGATTI TYPE 29/30 'RESERVOIR  OVALE COURSE' (OVAL TANK, RACING)  Chassis no. 4008
1922 BUGATTI TYPE 29/30 'RESERVOIR  OVALE COURSE' (OVAL TANK, RACING)  Chassis no. 4008
1922 BUGATTI TYPE 29/30 'RESERVOIR  OVALE COURSE' (OVAL TANK, RACING)  Chassis no. 4008
1922 BUGATTI TYPE 29/30 'RESERVOIR  OVALE COURSE' (OVAL TANK, RACING)  Chassis no. 4008
1922 BUGATTI TYPE 29/30 'RESERVOIR  OVALE COURSE' (OVAL TANK, RACING)  Chassis no. 4008
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