The Type 38A Bugatti

As a Bugatti enthusiast of the past I have naturally been delighted at the sudden revival of interest in the Bugatti family and their activities which has brought about the very fine display of the works of Carlo, Rembrandt and Ettore Bugatti at the Royal College of Arts. At this exhibition, which apart from the cars on view, showed pictures and photos of most of the different Bugatti Types, and indeed in the Observer Colour Supplement and the other Media which gave coverage to this display of Bugatti cars, I have seen no reference to the Type 38A. Perhaps this is because neither the Type 38 nor the 38A which was the supercharged version were considered Bugatti successes, I seem to remember that in the days when Colonel Sorrel reigned over Bugatti interests in this country, that three of these cars were imported. One was sold to the Evans family, and it was Dennis I think, who unwisely entered it in a Mountain race at Brooklands and which was a great error as the crankshaft which was supported on three main bearing was not up to that sort of thing.
My friend Keith Faulkner became the owner of another, and after he exchanged it for a Type 43 with L. G. Bachelier, I bought it from him for £180, including a re-spray. Of course the 38A looked exactly like a Type 43 apart from the absence of the cast aluminium wheels but it had no way near the same performance, but there is no doubt that the small blower, similar to that used on the Type 37A four cylinder car did help to even out the distribution, and as long as the review were kept under 4,5oo the car went quite well.
I remember that we entered for the 1932 MCC Land’s End Trial as a Bugatti Team, with Kenneth Bear and Faulkner on Type 43s and my 38A. We all got “Golds” and made tremendous climbs, following each other in close formation, of all the test hills, including Beggars Roost and Blue Hill Mine.
In the year that I ran my car I used it as an every day vehicle, driving it to the City to work on Saturday mornings and out to dances and so on. I cannot recall ever having to change a plug or make any adjustment, or that it oiled up. But like a good Bugatti owner one used to change the plugs or inspect them, from time to time, just for the joy of opening the bonnet to admire the engine.
I enclose a photo showing Faulkner beside his Type 43 on the left and father Bachelier standing by his in the middle, with George Bachelier on the right of my Type 38A.
I sold my car back to “Bach” as we called him, after a year’s use for £150. I wonder if this or any other type 38A are still in existence.
Henfield, V. LESLIE SEYD