1935 Bugatti Type 57 Torpedo Tourist Trophy

1935 Bugatti Type 57 Torpedo Tourist Trophy

In 1935, Bugatti produced at least two Type 57 competition cars, which in period records were simply referred to by their engine numbers '222' and '224'. It is believed that the second of those two engines was fitted to this Torpedo bodied example, which started life as chassis 57222. This car was entered in that year's Ulster Tourist Trophy for Lord Howe. The seasoned gentleman racer finished an impressive third overall. In January of 1936, the car was then offered for sale through Bugatti's Paris distributor Dominique Lamberjack. At that time, it was renumbered to 57264 as the 57222 identity was used again for a new car by the factory but still fitted with engine 224. Not sold yet, it was then entered in the 1936 Spa 24 Hours for Yves Giraud-Cabantous and Bugatti salesman Roger Labric. The race ended early after Labric overshot the Stavelot Hairpin.

Repaired, it was finally sold to French gentleman driver Pierre Bouillin in April of 1937. He was better known as Pierre Levegh and would later come close to winning Le Mans with a Talbot Lago before perishing in the 1955 Le Mans tragedy. Levegh used the Bugatti during the 1937 and 1938 seasons before offering it for sale. It was then briefly owned by a British enthusiast and raced at Brooklands. In 1939, it was sold to Australian Duncan Ord, who had the car shipped to Australia in 1939. In subsequent ownership, it continued to be raced well into the 1950s. During this period, it was constantly modified with a shortened chassis and coil springs instead of the semi-elliptic leaf springs fitted as standard. In 1958, it was sold to a Western Australia based engineer.

The Competition Torpedo remained in the same hands over the next six decades. A trained mechanic himself, the long-time owner gradually restored the car to its original configuration. The work started back in 1973 and was not completed until 2010 with the owner carefully sourcing original components. The owner has finally decided to part with the car and consigned it to the February, 2018 Bonhams Grand Palais sale.

Descriptions & Picture’s by ultimatecarpage & coachbuild & bonhams & flickr

Production Start 1935
Country of origin Italy