1924 Bugatti Type 30
- Year of manufacture1924
- Chassis number4238
- Lot number284
- Number of seats2
- Exterior colourOther
- Fuel typePetrol
1924 Bugatti Type 30 Two-Seat Racer
Chassis no. 4238
As well as exhibiting the thoroughbred driving qualities of excellent roadholding, responsive handling and smooth, and flexible power common to all models of the marque, the Type 30 was also a historically important car for Bugatti. As his first production 8-cylinder car, it was an important link between his earlier 4-cylinder Types 22 and 23, and the immediately following Grand Prix Type 35 and its derivatives, which were among the most successful and legendary racing cars in history.
The Type 30 was produced from 1922 to 1926, approximately 600 being made, of which fewer than 50 remain today. The first few were produced on frames similar to the Type 22 or 23 and had hydraulic front brakes; later models had lengthened and strengthened frames and the more successful, traditional four-wheel Bugatti cable brakes. The single overhead cam engine was a long-stroke design of 60x88mm bore/stroke for a capacity of 1,991cc, and had three valves per cylinder. It was the first example of the classic, square-cut Bugatti engine as we know it today, and its blocks, valves assembly and basic architecture were carried over to the later Type 35. At the prudent maximum engine speed of about 4000rpm, a top speed of 80-90mph (130-145kp/h) is attainable, depending on gear ratios. The 4-speed gearbox, with its right-hand gear change and top-forward arrangement, was again carried forward to the later Grand Prix cars.
Bugatti built several Type 30s for racing, most notably for the 1922 Strasbourg Grand Prix, the Grand Prix at Monza the same year, and the 1923 Indianapolis 500.
The car offered here - number '4238' ? is a one-off Type 30 racer. According to factory records it was ordered on 15 May 1924 with a twin Zenith carbureted engine number 242/5, four-wheel (rear brakes were standard) cable operated big drum brakes, four-wheel shock absorbers, and racing bodywork with staggered seats for added driver maneuverability and greater passenger space. It was delivered by train or lorry on 5 June 1924 to Magasin de Vente in Paris as part of an order of six Type 30s?all in the same specifications but not all ordered with coachwork. Its first known private registration was to a Mr. Cagnard on 2 April 1925 with the French registration number "3455 U2". Three years later the car was sold to a Mr. Roger who would go on to race the car privately, including at the Circuit de Miramas in 1928.
From shortly after Mr. Roger's purchase of the car, there is little known history of 4238 until the 1950s when it was discovered in Sorgues, France at a well-known junkyard. At the time of discovery, the car was described as complete but without its rear bodywork. In 1963 it was acquired by Mr. Pierre Deliere, owner of the Musée Automobile de Provence in Orgon. A restoration of the car was begun, during which time the current, cigar-tail bodywork that had appeared on Bugatti racers (including numerous Type 30s) was completed. Upon completion of the restoration, 4238 was registered by Deliere in France in April 1966 with French registration "1925 W 13". In 1976, ownership of the car was transferred from Deliere to his Orgon Museum and the car was re-registered under the number "5391 GM 13".
The car would remain in Deliere's care for nearly half a century during which time it was actively campaigned at vintage racing events including the Bugatti Centennial Rallye in Molsheim Alsace in 1981. Numerous photos and copies of programs feature the car throughout his ownership.
The present owner acquired the car from the Museum in 2012 and has continued to actively maintain and regularly drive the car. About a year after it joined the current owner's collection, the Bugatti set off on the 2013 Vintage Revival in Montlhery. The next year it participated in the Grand Prix de Lyon Revival meeting and hill climb. The seller reports that the car "demonstrates a lot of character and personality with the tremendous sound of its engine." It is now presented in its beautiful and elegantly patinated state having not been subjected to any full renovation or restoration in the last half century.
According to a comprehensive review of the automobile by Daniel Lapp, a FIVA judge and noted Bugatti historian who had been personally familiar with the car since 1977,the vehicle, save for its tail end, is described as of "Bugatti Factory Signature", further evidenced by the engine original 242 stamping on the sump. The assembly numbers, 3, on the rails (front and rear) and rear axle number, 867, are all proper and correct to factory spec. Further information on car no. 4238 early history in an exhaustive report by Bugatti Historian Kees Jansen is also available.
Successfully raced in period, Type 30s are highly sought-after machines for their power, tractability, and historical significance to the Bugatti marque. Eligible for numerous race, rally, and tour events?in addition to Bugatti specific events offered through the prestigious single marque clubs worldwide, this Type 30 is a valuable ticket to do any number of fun and wonderful outings. And, as a rarely seen model with few survivors, it is a rare opportunity to acquire an example Bugatti's first 8-cylinder engined production car.