Bugatti Case History

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Having seen the advertisement for a Type 35A Bugatti (registration LXV 332) in February’s Motor Sport, believed to be an ex-Malcolm Campbell car now rebuilt and road-equipped, a reader writes to say that he bought it from the Monkspan Garage in Solihull for £285 in the early Sixties. Our informant kept the car for two years before part-exchanging it for a Phantom III Rolls-Royce at Bunty Scott-Moncrieff’s. In those days the Bugatti had Rudge wire wheels, the small brake-drums and P100 headlamps. It also had a series-B BMC engine from an early Healey, which its previous owner, Colin Rayney of Harrow, had installed after blowing up its original engine, taxing the car as a Rayney-Healey. The Rayney conversion had been well done, with no extra holes in the chassis and a simple torque-tube coupling axle to the Bugatti gearbox. The gears were well-worn so new ones and a used carden-shaft were fitted, purchased from Lemon Burton for £50. The bonnet had a side-cowl to clear the twin SUs, and the exhaust ran above the nearside rear wheel.

The Bugatti Book (MRP, 1954) listed LXV 332’s history as unknown, but mentioned that a plaque beside the fuel-filler quoted the engine size as over two litres.

Our reader’s chassis and engine numbers (4887 and 131A) correspond to those in the advert, but the original engine was not worth salvaging, especially since the Healey replacement gave very good performance, with no temperament! In fact, it eventually broke the prop-shaft.

As rebuilt, the car appears to have larger brakes, smaller headlamps and alloy wheels, which Campbell is said to have disliked. Our correspondent, a Motor Sport reader since 1951, wonders how much of it is as owned by Sir Malcolm?