1928 Bugatti Type 44Type 44 Profilé 'Aérodynamique' par Gangloff
- Original streamlined coachwork by Gangloff
- Prestigious owners
- Powerful model
Chassis 44784 was assembled in the Bugatti factory in November 1928, and the original engine, n° 544, left the workshop on 14 November 1928. Fifty engines were produced during that month, the last one was number 571.
The factory's monthly sales register shows that chassis 44784 / engine 544 was delivered to "Christy Pangaud et Monestier", on 23 January 1929. This very important agent had a showroom at 34 rue de Sèze, in Lyon. On the original document, the letter " W " precedes the date of 23 January 1929. W is the abbreviation for Wiederkehr, the former owner of the coachbuilding firm sold to Gangloff in Switzerland in October 1930. The factory invoice register indicates a price of 48 000 FF for the chassis settled by Christy Pangaud et Monestier. It was then transported to Colmar to be bodied and the car was registered new in the Rhône department on 26 February with the number 3021 PF. The sales ledger for the Lyon dealer, Pierre Monestier, recorded this Type 44 in the list of cars sold during 1928 - 1929 : : "J Prylli 44784 Janvier 1929 Gangloff". Jean Prylli, the first owner of this Bugatti 44, was a huge motoring enthusiast and an active member of the Automobile Club du Rhône.
Jean Prylli (1891-1976)
Until he was 14, Jean Prylli lived with his parents in London, the centre for commerce at the start of the 20th century and the city where his grandfather had offices. He married in 1928 and bought his first Bugatti. He bought the car of the sale, the Gangloff 44784 saloon, the following year. He became vice-president of the Automobile Club du Rhône and vice-president of the Fédération Internationale de courses automobiles. In his role as organiser, Prylli travelled from one race to another, from the Monte-Carlo to the Lyon-Charbonnières Rally, via the hillclimb at Limonest... He ran the " Prylli " company, with factories in rue Descartes in Lyon and also in Ruy, Isère. The company made veils and tulle fabric for weddings and confectionary, using 100-year old looms. Jean Prylli was also co-director of the silk company Paul Baud. A comrade of Prylli's during WW1, Baud used the Prylli company offices in Paris to launch his silk business and Jean Prylli was his associate.
In October 1933, a short time before he was able to sell his 3-litre car, Jean Prylli became the owner of a new Bugatti, this time second-hand. This was a Type 49 sedan, ex-Vermorel, that the family remember well. It was dismantled during the war and kept until 1947. The 3-litre 44784 was subsequently passed to the Nudant garage, the Bugatti dealer in Dijon. The sales register for secondhand Monestier cars records :
" Nudant, rue Transvaal, Dijon 44 Prylli, Conduite Intérieure, 27 février 1934 " with another very precise detail from the same period : " Monet Ind . Macon 44784 Aérodynamique ".
The term " Aérodynamique " applied to a Type 44 don't appear in any other factory document in our possession for any other car of this model, even though we know that chassis 44419 had a similar body. " Aérodynamique Gangloff " is mentioned for chassis 49551, in a collection in the US with an identical design to 44784. Neither of the two characters from Dijon, Monet or Nudant, would become the vehicle's new owner. In fact, the Bugatti was registered in the Côte d'Or department on 22 January 1934. It was given the number plate 9367 QD 2 in the name of Marcel Perrin, who lived at 14 rue des Neufs Clefs in Dijon.
Soon after, the Bugatti returned to its home town and in some time around May 1934 it was registered with the number 6582 PF 5. The next owners, from the department of Rhône, remain a mystery as all police documents in the prefecture in Lyon have been destroyed.
At the start of the 1960s, the Coupé Profilé Gangloff was found with André Sirejols, the BNC specialist from the suburbs of Paris. His garage on rue Anatole France in Levallois-Perret was packed with old cycle cars and small sports cars. The car then moved to the garage of Henri Novo in Marolles-en-Hurepoix, near Montlhéry. Its next owner, Philippe Vernholes, was a hard-core member of the new Club Bugatti.
Born in 1929, the same as his 3-litre Bugatti, Philippe Vernholles was a very active treasurer, then secretary of the newly formed Club Bugatti France, created in 1967. He bought the car, and entrusted its mechanical restoration to the workshop of Henri Novo, who had set up in Marolles in 1970, after his expropriation from rue du Lavoir in Vitry-sur-Seine. The engine was serviced and tuned by Novo. The rolling chassis was transported by road from the outskirts of Paris to Clamency, in Nièvre, where it would rediscover its streamlined Gangloff coachwork. The renowned coachbuilder Jean-Paul Monceau, whose family business went back to 1852, took himself to the Novo garage to find the streamlined body, and so the restoration project began. J.P Monceau recalls that the body " fell " perfectly onto the chassis without needing any adaptation - proof, if any was needed, that the two had long been a pair. It was necessary, however, to replace the wings that were no longer the original ones and had given way to some rather unsightly motorcycle wings. Large wings inspired by those on the streamlined Type 50T of October 1932 were adapted and found to be close to the original versions. They were then built out of sheets of steel. The original bonnet was also with the car. Inside, a dark green fabric was used for the seats and the roof. The rear trunk, missing, was fabricated and lined in similoïde. The body was painted in " Souffre Blanc ", a very light green, and " Vert Bouteille " to match the fabric of the seats.
Philippe Vernholes used his new Bugatti regularly in club rallies until 1972. It was often seen parked in front of the pharmacy of his wife Marie-Andrée, at 163, route de Saint Germain in Carrières-sur-Seine, Yvelines. With the title " Mes Autos et Moi ", here is an extract from the Club Bugatti France magazine from 1974, written by Philippe Vernholes :
" Philippe has sold his cars, it's terrible, what a sad example for the club ! This is what I hear spoken everywhere, or rather whispered. It seems to me that you need an explanation on the subject...Everyone saw me out and about in France and Europe with my 3-litre Type 44, as I travelled no less than 12,000 km in a year in it. This car went really well : in Cognac I was on the second row of the starting grid amongst the Grand Prix cars and during the racing, more than one car ran out of steam trying to keep up with me. Despite this, I have had enough of this saloon car with so much fabric and metal around my head. I want a roadster. I want to feel the wind in my hair ".
Philippe Vernholes continued his memoirs in a later edition of the Club magazine in 1976 :
" I have sold my three Ferrari, the LM, the long wheelbase TDF berlinetta and the Super America prototype, as well as my Bugatti in which I covered 15 000 km. My love for these two marques dates back a long way. In 1956, I was able to buy the cars of my dreams : A Bugatti Type 57 and a Type 49, plus a Ferrari 750 Monza and a 212 Vignale. I sold them ten years ago. "
The Coupé Profilé Gangloff Bugatti was sold at the Pavillon Royal in Bois de Boulogne on 16 June 1972 by the auction house Ader-Picard-Tajan. The expert for the sale was Jean-Michel Cérède. With this car, the buyer started an impressive collection : Nicolas Seydoux, and his brother Michel, went on to build one of the most interesting Bugatti collections in the world, based at the garage of 56 rue Lafontaine, in Paris. The Coupé Profilé Gangloff shared this honour with a good twenty other examples of the 'Pur-Sang de Molsheim'. The car was later sold to the dealer Edgard Bensoussan, of British Motors, in 1988. Around 1993, it was exported to Switzerland, to become part of the collection of Peter Aeschliemann, in Zurich, with other Parisian Bugatti. On 7 October 1995, an auction sale in the commercial centre of Zurich included the coupé Gangloff, which didn't sell. On 28 April 2001, the car was offered in a sale organised by the famous Swiss dealer Albrecht Guggisberg, at the Oldtimer Galerie in Toffen. In 2006 the Coupé Gangloff was acquired in 2006 by the Dutch dealer Braam Ruben, before joining the garages of a Mr Puech in Spain in 2007.
The number on the crankcase in the car is 490, manufactured on 15 October 1928, and destined for chassis 44760 that was delivered on 22 December 1928. This car, a cabriolet, was also on the road in Lyon as it was sold second-hand on 17 October 1933 in Garcin, quai St-Clair in Lyon, and belonged to Mr Marmonnier, of avenue de Saxe. We know that 44784 spent time in Lyon again in May 1934, so we can assume that the two cars would become acquainted, if they hadn't done so already. The fact that the engine from 44760, a Lyon car, found itself in the chassis of the vehicle with body 44784 reinforces the theory that the chassis is linked historically with 44784.
The rear axle number 77 (12x50) belongs to one of the first Type 44s assembled around 1927. The gearbox and its cover numbered 270 belongs to a 3-litre car built around May 1928, with a series number that corresponds to around 44520. The chassis frame 683 corresponds fairly well to a vehicle with mechanical elements numbered 270. The original identity of the frame for body 44784 could be close to that of 44520.
There is no doubt that the body of the vehicle presented for sale is one of the rare Gangloff creations in the " Carrosseries Aérodynamiques " line. An almost identical body on a Type 49 chassis was delivered to Lyon in 1933. It was recorded in the Lyon dealer's book as " Gangloff. Conduite Intérieure Aérodynamique. Châssis 49551 ". This car still exists, in a collection in the United States.
Some argue that these bodies