Raymond Mays' Sprint Bugattis

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Bill Boddy

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As some confusion exists about Raymond Mays’ two Brescia Bugattis, “Cordon Bleu” and “Cordon Rouge,” the following information is intended to clarify the position :—

“Cordon Rouge” : 1922 Brescia Bugatti purchased from B.S. Marshall, of Hanover Square, and painted blue/grey by Brainsby’s Body Works, of Peterborough. Raced with the backing of Englebert tyres, Speedwell oil and Lodge plugs. Run on normal petrol with 8-mm. plate under the cylinder block, or on R.D.2 after plate had been removed. Rebuilt for 1924 season by Amherst Villiers at Molsheim, with latest engine, transmission and back axle. etc. Wheelbase 6 ft. 5 in., track just under 4 ft. Originally gave about 45 b.h.p. at 4,000 r.p.m., but the sixteen-valve engine was developed to produce nearly 80 b.h.p. and to run up to 7,000 r.p.m. on R.D.2. Weight, 9 3/4 cwt.

Before start of each run, clutch bolt holes were reamered out to enable clutch to be freed on starting-line ! Identification points : Early pear-shape radiator up to 1924; Reg. No. CT 5219. Sold to F. B. Taylor.

“Cordon Bleu”: 1924 Brescia Bugatti purchased from Molsheim. Later type radiator. Reg. No. CT 6559 (not GT 6559 as in “Shelsley Walsh,” by C.A.N. May). Fitted with Whitehead front-wheel-brakes free of charge in 1924 with a cheque for £500 thrown in ! Modified at Bourne by Villiers, to same specification as “Cordon Rouge.”

Nomenclature : “Cordon Rouge.” was named after the champagne of G.H. Mumm & Co., of Reims (who not only gave permission but supplied 36 free bottles of it as well !); “Cordon Bleu” after the brandy of that name. Both Bugattis were painted blue/grey, the former with the “Cordon Rouge ” in gold letters on a red background on the bonnet and the latter with its name in gold letters on a blue background. This didn’t make the cars go any quicker !

N.B.—I have received valuable assistance from the book “Split Seconds,” by Raymond Mays (G.T. Foulis & Co.), compiling this list, and further technical data will be found in its pages.—Ed.

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