1926 BUGATTI TYPE 38

Lot 68
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Estimation :
300000 - 400000 EUR
Result with fees
Result : 246 000EUR
1926 BUGATTI TYPE 38
CHASSIS 38325 - Sport version of the Bugatti race car
French registration
Many original parts


The production of the 2-liter Type 38 runs from April 1926 to the end of 1928.
337 examples were assembled and almost all were delivered as chassis to the coachbuilders.
A final series of 49 compressor engines produced a few Grand Sport Torpedos with Bugatti bodies on Type 38A chassis.
Of the total of 386 cars built of this model, only about 40 vehicles have been preserved.
The Grand Sport ¾ body placed on the type 38 chassis presented for sale is not anachronistic, even if this chassis had to carry a body made by a Parisian workshop.
The car was delivered as a chassis to the Paris shop,116 Avenue des Champs Elysées on December 22, 1926. It was part of an important order from the Parisian Sales Shop, which received a dozen type 38 chassis in this month of December 1926:
Four Chassis N° 38306 to 38309 are delivered at the beginning of December then eight others N° 38325 to 38332 at the end of December 1926.
The selling price at the shop for chassis 38325 and the seven other chassis is 43,050 ff each, invoiced on 9 December 1926 and paid in February 1927.
The history of the car is not known to us before the war because the vehicle seems to circulate in the Seine department for which no archive has survived.
It is possible that this type 38 arrived in the Rhône before the war because it was re-registered before 1955 under the number 3481 AJ 69 in the new system at the beginning of the fifties.
On July 5, 1960, the car was registered in the name of its last owner in Lyon, from whom the collector Philippe VILLE acquired it in the early seventies.
The car is then in chassis, only equipped with its extended hood, two seats and headlights. It did not have a windscreen. According to the memories of the Lyon garage owner Jean Jourdan, a friend of P.Ville for forty years, the car was originally fitted with a Weymann soft body.
It had been prepared by its last user to go fishing on the banks of the Saône or the Rhône.
Philippe Ville was a well-known wrecker in the Lyon area, specialising in heavy goods vehicles.
Born in 1906, he was a great friend of his colleague Henri Malartre (1905-2005), whose premises were located at 135 Avenue Berthelot in Lyon.
The company "BALLY & VILLE" had its buildings at 221 Avenue Felix Faure in Lyon and its construction site at rue Anatole France in Vaulx en Velin.
At the beginning of the seventies, Philippe Ville, who had recovered the Bugatti but had not begun to restore it, gave the vehicle, which was not running, to his son René, an engineer by training, who undertook the restoration of the Bugatti.
In the memories of R. Ville, the engine was equipped with a mechanical fuel pump at the rear, on the right side.
A body in the style of the Lavocat & Marsaud 4-seater torpedos was designed by René Ville and built by a craftsman from Aurillac. The bodywork was painted in a light orange colour.
The mechanics were entrusted to the workshop of an engine manufacturer in Aurillac.
Once back on the road, the car was registered on 4 June 1974 under number 254 FS 15 in the name of René Ville in Aurillac.
For many years, the Ville family participated in local outings in the Cantal and its surroundings. In the Lyon magazine of the A.A.A. there is a photograph of the family torpedo on the roads of Cantal around 1978.
On October 5, 1996 the car was sold to the great collector René Giordano from Cannes.
He drives the car several times with his wife and young son, before stopping it.
He needed the 2-liter engine, identical to the type 35A, to power a Bugatti Grand Prix project.
The original engine was replaced by a new two-litre engine with two blocks and a cam box manufactured in Argentina. The car was traded to the amateur Serge Clement for an AX Renault, before being acquired by the current owner in January 2001.
The latter will have it fitted with a bodywork in the Torpedo Grand Sport Bugatti style.
An examination of the vehicle in April 2021 confirms the originality and identity of the car.
The plate "chassis N° 38325 11 HP Alsace" is original.
The chassis, whose frame is engraved "192", is indeed the one of the car serial number 38325. It has a wheelbase of 3.12, identical to the type 44 and some of the first type 49. Its front axle has the same number 192 in the middle of its front face.
The rear axle with a 12x54 ratio is also engraved 192.
It was not possible to inspect the gearbox, but an advertisement presenting the car for sale before the acquisition
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