Those "College" Brescia Bugattis

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I HAVE found out a bit more about the two Brescia Bugattis pictured last month on page 1035. They figured in an advertisement in a Brooklands race programme for the Automobile Engineering Training College, in which it was stated they had been prepared for racing at the Track. This advertisement appeared in September 1930 and the reason I suggested that the Bugattis may not have fulfilled this promise is because few Brescia Bugattis were racing by that time. It is admittedly difficult to identify them, because the BARC race-cards of the day gave only number of cylinders and the bore and stroke of those cylinders, not the type of the competing cars. As a Type 37 Grand Prix Bugatti and a Brescia Bugatti were both of 69 x 100 mm. (1,496 c.c.), the difficulty is apparent. Supercharged engines were indicated, so one can eliminate the Type 37A Bugattis, but otherwise there is a problem.

However, Mr. Frank Sharpe, whom MOTOR SPORT “profiled” in a Famous Racing Mechanics’ series some years ago, kindly took the trouble to telephone as to say that he remembered this pair of identical “College” Bugattis, be he went to the AETC at Chelsea and was, in fact, standing beside the photographer when the photograph for the advertisement was taken. He also remembered that The Autocar published a few words of praise about them, and suggested that they had probably raced at the Track in 1928. Doing some research, I discovered that this was undoubtedly correct. For the 1928 Autumn Meeting, there is the entry of two 1½-litre Bugattis, one entered by a Mr. C. W. Haswell for a Mr. A. Rushworth to drive, the other by Mr. C. H. Roberts, who I rather think was the Principal of the College, to be conducted by Dudley Froy, just as Mr. Sharpe recalls. They were trying their luck in the last event of that late-September afternann, a one lap sprint for the “Taylor” Cup, starting at the Fork and finishing after one lap, halfway along the Railway straight. There were a dozen entries and this pair of Brescia Buganis, Rushworth’s white with black wheels, Froy’s black with white wheels, were on the 35 sec. mark, giving an Anzani Frazer Nash a 15 sec. start and Spero’s Austin Seven 19 sec. Rushworth (was he a student at the College, perhaps?) averaged 62.09 m.p.h., Froy 64.01 m.p.h., for the flying lap. This was of no avail, as the donor of the thirty-guinea Cup, “J. Taylor”, driving Deluge II, lapped at 105.29 m.p.h. and dead-heated with E. L. Bouts in the 4.9-litre Sunbeam (lap speed, 94.33 m.p.h.) for his own award, Spero managing third place from the “limit” start. The Autocar remarked that “there was one interesting detail of the Meeting), the presence of two Bugattis of old type, specklessly clean and smart, and entered from an engineering college. Neither was fast, but the idea is absolutely right”. That, I imagine, was written by S. C. H. Davies and the problem shifts now to what became of these cars. — W. B.