Extracts From Eric Giles' Diaries (Courtesy of Michael Giles)



June 3 1927

Goff and I are mad on getting a straight-eight Bugatti on the instalment idea, and went to see one at lunchtime an awfully nice bus, a four-seater 1925, a very pretty little car and she seems in very good condition. [Type 30]We are just waiting to hear about one up north, then I think we will go and see this one again. June 8

Had rather an exciting day we heard from Southport this morning about the Bugatti. We’ve decided to have her and I phoned Bugattis to verify the date, and also Bambers and offered them £300 cash anyhow they will accept £325 and I’m going up to Southport on Friday night and hope to bring her back on Saturday. I’m just awfully excited and am looking forward to Friday most awfully. June 11

Well 1 have just had a wonderful run down from Birkdale.The Bugatti ran perfectly the whole way and she’s really a wonderful motorcar.1 left Birkdale about 10.45 and arrived here, about 260 miles, at 8.15. Pretty good going really. February 13 1928

Had a perfectly filthy run up on the Bug this morning no hood and pouring in sheets the whole time we got quite drowned and awfully cold. One of the front brake cables broke and we locked our wheels every time we tried to pull up. February 22

Goff and I went and had a look at a Grand Prix Bugatti this evening a perfectly beautiful little bus in wonderfully good order. We are going to try to get her if we can come to terms. She’s really wonderful. Funnily enough Kensington-Moir is sales manager there which might help things a little bit. February 23

Went round to Gaffikins and saw Moir about the Bug one of their fellows is taking 01.11’S round to one or two places tomorrow, then they are going to let us know I went for a run on the Bug right over to Golders Green she’s certainly the goods a most amusing little bus to handle and awfully quiet. February 24


Sir Robert Reid sent us a photo of his Grand Prix Bugatti this morning. She’s a really wonderful little bus full GP and fitted with dynamo and starter. We are determined to get hold of her somehow. March 9

Norton told us that Sir Robert Reid had been discussing what to ask for the Bug. Norton told him about £400. If only we can raise the cash it ought to be all right. March 10

Norton tipped me that someone else is after Sir Robert’s Bug, so Goff rang the bank and wangled an overdraft and we are taking the money with us tomorrow. March 11

Goff and I had the most marvellous day. Got up to Solihull on the Bug a lot of snow about and the roads very icy. Had lunch with Sir Robert and bought his Grand Prix a perfectly amazing motorcar. Got her for £400 which is really very cheap. On the way down we ran into the most appalling snowstorm couldn’t do more than 8I Omph. Both cars ran beautifully and it’s been the most frightfully amusing day. March 13

Had the GP out this afternoon went round to Parsons and had some enamel matched up for touching her up, then took her round to Gaffikin Wilkinson to show Moir. Afterwards took her to Jaeger to take particulars for a speedometer. March 14

Goff and I explored the Grand Prix this evening she’s simply full of tricks. We’ve found a spot where we can get an attache case in the tail, so we are going to take off the luggage carriers. Had a letter from this fellow at Oxford saying he didn’t want the Bug [theT30]. Damned nuisance. March 18

Messed about on the Bug all the morningtook the luggage trays off and she looks much better. She’s running much better now and we are beginning to get used to her. She’s an awfully tricky little bus to handle properly. March 30

Took the GP down to Brixton Road [Bugatti’s service depot] this morning and collected her this evening and she seems to be going beautifully apparently one exhaust valve spring had broken. April 4

If only we could sell the old Bug and the Railway [the brothers owned a notable model railway] we would be alright as it is we are completely broke. April 6

11.15pm we are now just packing up and are leaving shortly for Slough and then off for the Land’s End Run. It’s a glorious night and a beautiful moon. April 7 Started off in great style last night until we got toTaunton when plugs started

Oiling up. Between Taunton and Porlock we weren’t running at all well and had awful difficulty getting up and nearly seized up the clutch and boiled like blazes. Finally in Lynton we conked out altogether and chucked it at the bottom of Beggars Roost. It’s really quite useless trying to do these runs on a Bug which is geared miles too high and we have decided not to try anymore. April 10

Bug running very badly. I took her down to Brixton and found an inlet valve spring broken. Fetched her this evening and she seems quite OK again. Goff and 00k the cowl off the passenger side which will be a great improvement. April 22

Goff and I went out at 6.30 this morning over Hartley flats and as soon as we got going a valve spring went. Coming back she seized up — I’m afraid an oil pipe has gone inside.We phoned father to come and tow us in the Essex. June 13

Had a letter from Bugatti saying that the works have got our crankshaft; cost L14-11-0. Norton is going to try to have her ready for the John O’Groats run. July 11

A perfectly ripping day. Left Lands End at 5.10 on the Run. After running all absolutely trouble-free we arrived at Carlisle on schedule.The only trouble being that our faces have been burned to Hell and are most awfully painful. July 15

Left Edinburgh this morning about 9.30 and came along south. After lunch we pushed pretty hard down the Al and averaged 45mph to Newark From Newark onward we did 43 miles in 48 minutes, doing 90mph a lot of the time. Got home about 2.1Sam which was pretty good. Got stopped in Biggleswade for no side and back lamps.