Pair of pre-war Bugattis added to RM Sotheby’s Paris docket

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This 1938 Bugatti Type 57C 'Stelvio' went back to its owner after World War II occupation | RM Sotheby's photos

RM Sotheby’s has added a pair of historic Bugattis to the docket for its annual Paris auction, scheduled to take place in February during Retromobile 2020. The cars are a 1938 Bugatti Type 57C “Stelvio” cabriolet by Gangloff and a 1925 Bugatti Type 23 “Brescia,” the auction company has announced.

“The 1938 Bugatti 57C ‘Stelvio’ Cabriolet comes to Paris after a long and illustrious ownership history, mostly in France and Germany,” RM Sotheby’s notes. 

“The soft-top car, chassis no. 57737, was manufactured at Bugatti’s factory in Molsheim, Alsace, alongside other contemporary models such as the Type 46 and Type 49, and completed by the fabled coachbuilder, Gangloff.

“The original customer order for the car was never completed, and another suitor assumed the order in its agreed specification. This is one of four models produced by Gangloff in this era, and benefits from the classic signature design cues of the coachbuilder.”

RM Sotheby’s notes that the car’s first owner, Roland du Pouget of Saint-Malo, France, was on a hunting holiday in Yugoslavia when World War II was declared in 1939 and immediately returned home. 

“His car was commandeered by German forces while Saint-Malo was occupied, yet du Pouget was later reunited with the Bugatti,” RM Sotheby’s said in its announcement. “The Frenchman’s hometown of Saint-Malo was heavily bombed by allies between 6 to 14 August but remarkably, the car remained unscathed. In the years after the war, the car was used lightly in summer months, until du Pouget responded to a ‘wanted’ advert and sold the car in 1961.”

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The Bugatti underwent restoration, and it participated in the Paris-Nice Rally in 1967. It later was purchased by Uwe Hucke, a German collector, and exhibited in a museum in Hamburg until 1983, when it was purchased by another German collector and put into storage for more than 30 years.

The consignor acquired the car, still with its original engine, in 2016. RM Sotheby’s expects it to sell at auction for €1 million to €1.2 million ($1.12 million to $1.34 million).

1925 Bugatti Type 23 ‘Brescia’

The auction house has set a pre-sale estimate of €350,000 to €375,000 ($390,500 to $420,000) on the 1925 Bugatti Type 23 ‘Brescia’ chassis no. 2400. 

The car was the 33rd of its kind produced, was delivered to Bugatti’s Parish showroom and first registered in London. It went to Ireland but later back to England, where it currently is registered, RM Sotheby’s said.

The car originally had blue 4-seat tourer coachwork in the style of Lavocat & Marsaud but was rebodied in the 1950s. Since then it has been returned to its original blue color. 

The auction is scheduled for February 5 in Place Vauban.

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the Web and becoming the author of more than 15 books. In addition to being Editorial Director at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times, writes a weekly automotive feature for The Detroit News and is an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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