July 22, 2024


Built General Tough

Bugatti Heritage – a year of records

Historic Bugatti vehicles continue to increase in value. No less than five automotive masterpieces from Molsheim took the first five places in the most valuable vehicles that were auctioned at international auctions in 2020. Despite the pandemic, historic Bugattis broke records at auction houses Bonhams and Gooding & Company: never before has a manufacturer dominated the top five places in the most expensive automobiles auctioned.

Bugatti vehicles have always been exclusive. But with age, so does their value, as an analysis by Classic Analytics, a company that analyzes the international market and evaluates classic cars worldwide, shows. “Bugattis from the era of Ettore and Jean Bugatti, especially in their original condition and with racing history, have always been among the most expensive classic cars on the market. This trend has persisted and even increased despite the general decline in interest in pre-war vehicles“, Says Frank Wilke, Managing Director of Classic Analytics. Classic Analytics is part of the Hagerty Group, the largest classic car service provider in the USA. The basis of the top ten is an internal auction database in which all international classic car auctions of a year are observed and evaluated.

“The current situation has indeed changed the auction market, from face-to-face auctions to online auctions. But the prices for exclusive, classic vehicles remain stable at a high level“, Says Frank Wilke. “Every historic Bugatti vehicle is unique. Types that were built between 1920 and the late 1930s set standards in terms of both performance and design. The vehicles auctioned this year were very special in terms of history and originality“, Explains Wilke.

The past year has certainly presented us with some challenges, but it has also opened up new opportunities to maintain our connection with the automotive community and enthusiasts around the globe“Said David Gooding, Gooding & Company President and Founder. “At our first ever auction in the UK, we set many new records in 2020, including the sale of the most expensive Bugatti ever in a public auction and the sale of the two most valuable lots of 2020: a 1934 Bugatti Type 59 Sports and a 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante. “

We feel honored and proud to have been entrusted with these two extraordinary historical masterpieces from Molsheim“Says James Knight, Chairman of Bonhams Group Motoring. “Both vehicles are two extraordinary Type 55S – one a special coachbuilt convertible from Figoni, the other a truly artful Super Sport Roadster from Jean Bugatti. As expected, both automobiles attracted numerous bidders. We were also not surprised that the two Type 55s were not only recognized as the most valuable vehicles in their respective auctions, but also the highest auction results overall both during the Rétromobile 2020 and the 2020 Amelia Car Week. “

Bugatti Type 59 Sports (Chassis 57248)
A 1934 Bugatti Type 59 Sports with chassis number 57248 was auctioned at Gooding & Company in London in September 2020 for $ 12.681 million. This makes it one of the most expensive Bugattis to ever go under the hammer at a public auction. The Bugatti Type 59 Sports was created as a racing car for the Bugatti Grand Prix works team and won the Belgian Grand Prix in Spa. The racing car later took third place at the Monaco Grand Prix. At the wheel were some of the most famous and successful Bugatti racing drivers, including Robert Benoist, Louis Chiron, René Dreyfus, Achille Varzi and Jean-Pierre Wimille. After the successful racing season, Bugatti converted the Type 59 into a sports car. In 1937 King Leopold of Belgium bought the Bugatti. The vehicle is still in its unrestored original condition today. It is powered by an eight-cylinder in-line engine with a displacement of 3.3 liters and a compressor. The output was around 250 hp, other engine variants came up to 380 hp in the Type 59, which was built until 1936.

Bugatti Type 57S Atalante (Chassis 57502)
The buyer paid 10.44 million euros for a rare and desirable Type 57S Atalante from 1937 with chassis number 57502 at the Gooding & Company auction in London. It is a special model: British racing driver and Bugatti enthusiast Earl Howe bought it in 1937. The Bugatti Type 57S Atalante is one of only 17 vehicles that Jean Bugatti equipped with his sensational Atalante body. A turbocharged 3.3 liter eight-cylinder, which in the Type 57S has an output of up to 175 hp, serves as the drive.

Bugatti Type 55 Super Sport Roadster (Chassis 55220)
A 1932 Bugatti Type 55 Super Sport Roadster with a factory body designed by Jean Bugatti brought in $ 7.1 million at the Bonhams Amelia Island auction in March 2020. Bugatti produced a total of only 38 Type 55 Super Sport chassis by 1935. Eleven of the 14 roadster bodies built by Jean Bugatti still exist today. Victor Rothschild, who later became the third Baron Rothschild, bought the Type 55 as a new car and kept it in his collection for many decades. In 1985 the Boston professor Dean S. Edmonds Jr. bought this Bugatti with chassis number 55220 for 440,000 British pounds. At the time, it was the most expensive automobile ever sold in Great Britain. In Edmond’s possession, the Bugatti was restored and won first place in its class at Pebble Beach in 1993.

Bugatti Type 35C (chassis 4871)
At an auction in London at Gooding & Company, a hammer price of $ 5.23 million fell on a Bugatti Type 35C Grand Prix from 1928 – a model record for the Type 35. This vehicle with chassis number 4871 was originally designed for the 1928 Targa Florio. The first private vehicle Owner Jannine Jennky, a French racing driver, achieved overall victory in the first Coupe de Bourgogne in Dijon. After 1932, the vehicle, which is now over 90 years old, only passed through four hands. It is in unrestored original condition. Bugatti manufactured the Type 35C until 1930, powered by an eight-cylinder in-line engine with a displacement of two liters. With the help of a Roots compressor, the engine produces 125 hp, which made a top speed of over 200 km / h possible over 90 years ago.

Bugatti Type 55 Super Sport (chassis 55221)
A Bugatti enthusiast paid $ 5.07 million for a Type 55 from 1931 in Paris last February. This made the vehicle with chassis number 55221 the most expensive car that was sold at one of the Rétromobile 2020 auctions. A very special vehicle: Louis Chiron and Count Guy Bouriat-Quintart as co-drivers drove the works racing car at the 1932 Le Mans 24 Hours. The later owner had a unique Figoni body built around the chassis. With this body, the Type 55 remained in family ownership for over 60 years. Its turbocharged 2.3-liter eight-cylinder has an output of around 160 hp.

The prices achieved in 2020 do not surprise experts. A Bugatti is considered to be the most valuable car of all time. Only four of the Type 57 SC Atlantic were made between 1936 and 1938, three of which still exist after more than 80 years. The fourth Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantic is considered the automotive amber room and has been lost to this day. If it were found, its speculative value would probably be significantly higher.

Photos: © Bugatti