Originality!

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Sir

Re your May (p.478) speculations about Bugatti Type 35 “T”, 131 A, now at Coys with a price tag of £275,500 attached to it. It is odd that nobody has thought to consult Alan Crisp about this car, for he knew more about it in modern times than almost anybody else, having owned it for twenty years from approximately 1967-87, when he sold it to Bill Lake, who passed it on to Hamish Moffatt, etc.

I understood that major upper and ancillary parts of the 131A engine survived in chassis 4887; but the crankcase exploded by Colin Rayney was very definitely “worth salvaging” as it ended up welded and serviceable in the blown Type 35 of Nick Mason making, of course, the classic 2 for 1 split by which the cleverer lights in the Bugatti Club have managed to “create” two cars from one original, and both “authenticated” as whatever they claim to be. (Not much else in the Mason car is factory-original Bugatti, I believe.) Crosthwaite, circa 1966, put together LXV 332 for Alan Crisp, who never knew of the Campbell connection. It emerged from the sheds at Buxted with T51 replica alu wheels and an unmarked crankcase (I carefully looked for factory marks on it a decade ago) and with reputedly a real factory-original crankshaft assembly of T35 roller-bearing specification. Hence the Type 35 “T” nomenclature under which it now passes from hand to speculative hand.

After the car came into Hamish Moffatt’s possession in 1988, he refined the conventional GP looks of it, so that it now appears very classically Pur Sang. The dance that went on around its engine is perhaps, more than anything, the one little non-historic touch which destroys LXV 332’s pretentions to impeccable pedigree.

E. Hallums, London WC1

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