The Type 55 Bugatti
I was glad to read the piece concerning the T55 Bugattis. Mine has given maximum pleasure since purchasing it M 1962; in spite of owning 13513 and TM GP cars, it remains my favourite by a wide margin.
There are some points which need clarification. Firstly 38 cars were produced. I have details of 27 known owners tSchlumpf has eight s, two are positively broken up, leaving nine as net unaccounted for. My records sili/W that lene than half those made were fitted with the -Jean Bugatti” 2-seater coachwork and it is smite incorrect to assume that this was the standard bod, bodywork was cheap in the 1930s and a customer for such an exotic car got what he preferred. I would agree with the noise level in closed versions; mine with the hood up sets eyeballs rotating, making rain a welcome excuse.
Another small point: on 51/55 de-tune was a 1:1 blower ratio in place of a rorty 1.2:1, reducing the Power, also a smaller outlet for the supercharger.
It has been common knowledge for at least eight years now that a batch of T54,55 American-made frames were about and I have seen two easily-recognisable hut incomplete cars using them, both of course with Roadster bodies as that is what innocents expect. However, reproducing a T55 is no simple matter, Mr unlike many Bugatti models the T55 does not share its main components, whereas the chassis shares a similarity with T47, 54 and 59 all rare: front and rear axles, gearbox, braking system and many of the smaller details are peculiar to this model. A would-be imitator finds he is into an incredible amount of expense if he is to get the job “right”: this has been reflected M the quality of examples have seen. For myself I see no harm in accurate reprodustions. A man spends his money as ho-sees fit, anyone who would pay out a fortune fora mock T55 must be keen, and another real car to keep myself. Neil Corner. Bruce Murphie and eventually John Marks, company might not he a
had thing; of course I am speaking of my feelings only. One thing is fairly sure, he won’t make much profit if that is the motive; if however corners are cut, the thing becomes pointless.
To my certain knowledge there are new chassis existing Mr Bugattis, Alfas, Amilcars, Nashes. Fermris and Vauxhalls. including many other makes acquiring them during rebuilds. To legislate h.tily against -new” cars may only result in the antique trade trick so popular on the Continent of producing a fine set of chairs from one original plus a beaten-up wardrobe. the more worm the better.
Back to T55s. For the record my car 55221 was the 1932 Le Mans entry with Chiron and Bouriat driving, fitted with a horrid body, it ran out of fuel on lap 22. Afterwards it was bought by Jacques Dupuy and fitted with a handsome Figoni body, which it still wears. It remained in France until 1959160 when Hugh Conway found it in a sorry state, less engine. I bought it, with art illustrious Ramponi-tuned engine out of 55223 (AUL-23) in preference to a Jean Bugatti example, as I wished reuse it and considered the body more practical: I still do. The rebuild was completed in 1966 and has given constant service since, some ten trips to France on lollies”, but it does have an appalling thirst. Hopefully it will take me into old age with a crank rebuild every seven to nine years.
About three years ago. while visiting Menton. I Mund the remains of another car, 55228, and what it lacked I had in my stock of spares, although the bonnet was original the rear bodywork comprised an excellent reproduction Jean Bugatti. Now there is nothing more pleasing to we old-car chaps than a bit of oneupmanship. the thought of two T55s in the garage was too nutch, or I rifled a few piggy banks and sold a spare house and behold it was mine, When the dust had settled my greed became obvious. 1 didn’t really want it., I passed iron tire good and well-heeled chum, who is giving it the full trmtment.
I must admit I am intrigued as to who is embarking .1. bogus car Jenks has seen; it’s an exclusive club this 55 Owners and I don’t believe any of the other three know either. Chedworth. Glos GEOFFREY ST. JOHN