- Prestigious marque
- Attractive, lightweight model
- Restored for reliability and ease of use
After the excellent Brescia, the Bugatti Type 37 took over in the sporting domaine. What was missing was a standard touring car that could capitalise on the 1.5-litre 12-valve engine, and the Type 40 filled this gap. On the base of a new, relatively short chassis, the marque from Molsheim proposed several open and closed bodies, one of the most popular being the " Grand Sport ", a four-seater with a hood. This was a smaller version of its big sister, the 43 GS. This lightweight car offered all the road-going attributes of a " grande " Bugatti : lively, responsive and very robust with excellent braking, but much more affordable. It allowed many enthusiasts to enjoy a Bugatti without jeopardising their finances. In total, 830 examples (40 and 40A together) were produced.
Delivered to London on 6 November 1928, the Bugatti 40, chassis n°681 that we are presenting was first registered in England on 30 April 1929. In 1952, we find the car in Liverpool registered with the number VN 137, in the name of a certain Richard Chas Windsor. It had a 2-litre MG type QPHG engine (n°2022), in a tourer body, as indicated on an old registration document in the file. The car changed hands in October 1956.
On 16 May 1984, still in England, it was registered SL9785 in Stroud, in the name of Rita Marjorie Townsend ; the car still had its MG engine at that point but was returned soon after to its original configuration, fitted with the four-cylinder Bugatti engine n°342, as indicated on an administrative form dating from 1990. At this time, the car was acquired by renowned dealer Dan Margulies, based in Queens Gate Place Mews, in West London. During this period the car would have received new, or refurbished Grand Sport coachwork by Wilkinson, also in England.
In September 1996, it was sold to the Portuguese collector Fernando Dos Santos who took the car to Portugal where it was registered. Fifteen years later, in 2011, it was registered in France by the current owner, a connoisseur and serious collector. The engine was entrusted to Gentry Restoration in England, and the cylinder block was replaced (the original will be supplied with the car), along with the pistons, cylinders, valves, and valve guides and seats. This work, costing £8 000 (close to10 000 at that time), is documented in an invoice in the file.
Various other maintenance jobs were then carried out, in order to make the car more reliable, as the owner wanted to use it regularly and easily over long distances. This work was carried out in the Novo workshop (oil change, spark plugs etc), and also by Jean-Luc Bonnefoy (replacement of hoses, wiring to the lights, pilot lights with integrated indicators, lubrication, oil change, adjustments).
The midnight blue body is in lovely condition, as is the midnight blue leather interior and the hood that is quite easy to operate. The Jaeger instruments include a rev counter, clock, ammeter and oil pressure gauge (marked Bugatti).
This automobile displays a nice patina today and has been mechanically overhauled in a spirit of " restore to drive " that is in keeping the owner's way of thinking. Sporty, elegant and lightweight, it is ready for its new owner to take to the road on a long distance rally or a gentle drive, at the wheel of one of the legendary " Pur-sang de l'automobile ", in the true spirit of the roaring twenties.