1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149

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Lot 208
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer
Registration no. PSJ 609 Chassis no. BC149

£ 200,000 - 250,000
US$ 280,000 - 340,000
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer
Registration no. PSJ 609
Chassis no. BC149
*Rebuilt and commissioned for the road by Ernie Allen
*Present family ownership since 1979
*3.3-litre engine
*Cotal electromagnetic gearbox
*Extensively campaigned on Bugatti and VSCC events

Footnotes

  • By the early 1930s Ettore Bugatti had established an unrivalled reputation for building cars with outstanding performance on road or track. Indeed, the world's greatest racing drivers enjoyed countless successes aboard the Molsheim factory's products and often chose them for their everyday transport. Although Bugatti is best remembered for its racing models, most of the 6,000-or-so cars produced at the Molsheim factory were touring cars of sporting character.
    Ultimate expression of Ettore Bugatti's original design, the Type 49 debuted at the Paris Salon in 1930 and was produced from then until 1934. The Type 49 would be the last of the maestro's eight-cylinder, single-camshaft touring cars and is considered by many to be the finest of all 'real' Bugattis. The new 3.3-litre model featured twin-plug ignition, an enlarged radiator, ball-change gearlever and (later) very pretty cast aluminium wheels among many other improvements. Total Type 49 production amounted to 470 cars, of which it is believed that around 76 exist today.

    A civilised Grande Routière to match those of rivals Delage and Delahaye, the Type 49 attracted coachwork of the finest quality executed in a wide variety of styles by both the Molsheim factory and by other coachbuilders throughout Europe. The four-seat open tourer body carried by this example is in the style of Van Vooren's Weymann-type coachwork as fitted to the 1931 Le Mans cars.
    A vintage car enthusiast for over 65 years, Paul Roberts purchased this Type 49 in 1979 from H H Posner. Paul and his wife Sylvia are very well known in international Bugatti circles, and this car is a former stable mate of the Roberts' Type 23 Brescia, which was sold by Bonhams at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2014 for an above-estimate £438,300.

    H H Posner had acquired the chassis rails, axles, springs, gearbox, steering box and other components from Switzerland, while the car's 3.3-litre eight-cylinder engine ('1024', over-stamped '49560') incorporates a factory replacement crankcase and came from New York. The chassis plate '4189' is that of a car delivered to Bucar in Zurich, Switzerland, while the rolling chassis itself was made by Ernie Allen in the UK. The rails have been shortened to 108.3" (2.75 metres) as per the Type 47 and Type 54 (original pieces retained).

    The engine was rebuilt by S Longland-Hart in Suffolk and the body by Keith Hill. The engine incorporates new blocks from Eric Koux; a reground crankshaft; new white metal bearings; Stellited valve seats; and new pistons, valves, and valve springs. In addition, the oil and water pumps were rebuilt and the original inlet manifold exchanged for a superior Miro item. Fitted to accommodate the needs of a disabled driver, the four-speed gearbox is of the Cotal electromagnetic type, which allows gear changing, even under full throttle, without any interruption in the drive. (The Type 49 gearbox number '24' has been retained with the car and is for sale as Lot 208A) Marque specialist Ivan Dutton supplied a stronger crown wheel and pinion, while the new half-shafts came from Tom Dark. The final drive ratio is 3.63:1, giving 24.15mph per 1,000 revs (ie: 5,000rpm = 128mph on Blockley tyres).

    The vendor advises us that, other than the bodywork and replacements for worn-out components, the car is composed of original Bugatti parts and in-period ancillaries, the latter including a Jaeger km/h speedometer (rebuilt but unconnected) and rev counter, Boyce Motor Meter, etc.

    Ownership of 'PSJ 609' was transferred to Paul's wife Sylvia in 2000, since when she has driven the car on Bugatti rallies in Holland, Sicily, and Portugal; made frequent visits to Prescott garden parties; and attended VSCC events at Silverstone and elsewhere. In 2019 'PSJ 609' took part in and successfully completed the Bugatti Centenary Rally in Ireland. Presented in good running order throughout, this well sorted Type 49 is only sold on account of the vendor's advancing years.
Contacts
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
1931 Bugatti Type 49 Open Tourer  Chassis no. BC149
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