King of the hill

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Prescott’s annual BOC Classic gathering in May had the added temptation of a Type 59 not seen before in this country. Once owned by Leopold, King of the Belgians, the black 59 has been bought by Bob Rubin and was visiting Prescott on its way to the States. Jean-Pierre Wimille raced it during 1937, before le Patron gave it to his friend the King. Its sports bodywork with low-set faired-in headlamps is remarkably original, even to the discoloured laminated screen and pre-war headlamp bulbs.

Rubin plans merely to tidy the car before running it in selected competitions. Sadly, it was not running this day, and was unable to join the lunchtime Bugatti cavalcade, which, as well as a spread of 35 and 37 variants, included Hugh Conway Jr’s 43, Howell’s H16 45, and Rodney Felton’s 55. Supporting the static Leopold car were two 59 replicas: Martin Dean’s, using parts from the factory clear-out and an engine from the Bugatti aeroplane, and the uncompleted machine which Richard I-Anson is building for John Marks around a pair of factory side-rails.

Patrick Wood, who started favourite, took overall honours in his 5-litre Pilbeam, Mark Walker’s Caesar Special headed the pre-war cars, and Peter Thurston was declared over all victor in his Mallock U2. G C

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