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1936 Bugatti Type 57 Stelvio

Lot 862 | Passion for the Drive: The Cars of Jim Taylor | Estimate: $450,000 - $550,000

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1936 Bugatti Type 57 Stelvio

Lot 862 | Passion for the Drive: The Cars of Jim Taylor | Estimate: $450,000 - $550,000

Highlights

  • Original chassis, identification plate, and beautiful Stelvio coachwork
  • Well-known ownership history; lovingly maintained
  • Sorted for Mr. Taylor with engine work by Sargent Metalworks
  • Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic®

Description

Chassis No. 57395
Engine No. 275

The Bugatti Type 57 was the firm's primary roadgoing model in its final years, with a superb eight-cylinder engine on a well-evolved chassis and, most prominently, some of the most sumptuously drawn, meticulously crafted coachwork ever mounted in the Classic Era. Many of the designs were named for Alpine peaks and passes, among them the Stelvio, a deservedly popular cabriolet of which several variations were produced, all of them highly attractive.

According to a report on file from noted Bugatti historian, David Sewell, chassis no. 57395 was ordered by Toulouse agents Fonquernie and Leyda as a Type 57 with engine no. 275, bodied by Gangloff of Colmar to the current version of their Stelvio cabriolet body. It was then supplied to Fonquernie and Leyda's good client, Jose Soler-Puig, a Toulouse hosiery manufacturer who had previously owned two examples of the Bugatti Type 46, as well as a Hispano-Suiza and a Renault 40 CV. Unfortunately, Mr. Soler-Puig was able to enjoy this final Bugatti for only a few months before passing away later in 1936.

In 1937, the original owner's son traded this car and his own Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 in on a Vanvooren-bodied Bentley at Franco-Brittanic Automobiles. Presumably resold by them soon thereafter, it next surfaced after World War II in Belgium, owned by the architect Georges Dedoyard of Liège, with whom it was spotted by Bunty Scott-Moncrieff and reported in the January 1949 issue of Bugantics. Dedoyard had a new front axle fitted along with a later Type 101 engine, and in this form sold the car in 1956 to the highly active Brussels Bugatti dealer, Jean de Dobbeleer, in whose ownership the engine is believed to have been restamped with the correct original numbers for this chassis, as noted in the present American Bugatti Club Register.

De Dobbeleer sold the Bugatti through his American agent Gene Cesari to mechanic Julian “Juli” Sano of New Jersey, with whom it was recorded in Hugh Conway's Bugatti Register of 1962. That same year, the car was acquired through an intermediary by Sano's landlord, Henry L. Schaffer. Mr. Schaffer enjoyed the Bugatti in numerous rallies on the East Coast over the next forty-four years, both before and after undertaking its present restoration in the late 1980s. Few Type 57s enjoyed such passionate, long-term American ownership.

In 2006, Mr. Schaffer's prized Type 57 once again passed through Mr. Cesari's good offices, and later that year was acquired by investor Ralph Whitworth, who was then assembling a collection of significant automobiles in the desert town of Winnemucca, Nevada. Jim Taylor, in turn, acquired the car from the Whitworth Museum in 2009.

With his typical attention to mechanical condition, Mr. Taylor had the car's engine rebuilt by the noted Bugatti specialists, Sargent Metalworks of Vermont, with the fitment of an electric fuel pump, and the Stromberg UUR2 carburetor rebuilt by the equally renowned High Mountain Classics. He has entered the car into several rallies over the years, as well as occasionally at Concours d'elegance, including The Quail in 2010, The Amelia in 2010, and, most recently, Audrain's Newport Concours in 2019. It has also appeared at two American Bugatti Rallies.

The Bugatti remains in older but attractive overall condition, showing well into its 18-inch painted Rudge wire wheels and two-tone paint scheme accented by a dark blue leather interior, with added seatbelts, and a black canvas top. Marchal headlamps, front bumperettes, and teardrop rear brake lights are wonderful accents, and the engine compartment is clean and tidy, with an engine-turned firewall and beautiful hand-scraping throughout. At the time of cataloging, the car had recorded 4,817 km.

Every enthusiast should have the opportunity to enjoy an eight-cylinder Bugatti, of which Type 57 represents the finest roadgoing evolution. This example boasts well-known history, with ownership by great Bugattistes from literally beginning to end, and would be a superb choice for the gentleman or lady driver to savor on any number of tours and rallies worldwide.



Contact

Donnie Gould
Senior Car Specialist

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