Chassis No. 4801
Engine No. 107A
Registration No. YH 8578
+44 (0)1869 244 255
In the annals of motor racing history few cars, if any, rank higher than the Bugatti Type 35. Between 1924 and 1931, in various guises, they won over 1,000 races and were quite simply the carto beat during the vintage period of Grand Prix racing.
It is not, however, simply its race winning credentials that give the Grand Prix Bugatti such iconic status. The distinctive horseshoe shaped radiator and perfectly proportioned tail make for a thing of exquisite beauty and, as such, they are regarded by many to be the prettiest Grand Prix car of all time. Add the superb spine-tingling sound produced by the straight-eight engine into the mix and one is left with an almost perfect package. To this end they have been sought after, restored, raced, rallied and enjoyed by enthusiasts ever since they were first rolled out for the French Grand Prix at Lyon in 1924.
With an evident demand for road-going Grand Prix cars from the loyal group of enthusiast racers and owners of Bugattis, just 139 2-Litre un-blown Type 35A specification cars left the factory. They were essentially the sporting version of the outright Grand Prix car. In order to reduce costs, the Type 35A specification cars were supplied with plain-bearing, rather than roller-bearing crankshafts and coil ignition with distributor rather than the more expensive Bosch magneto ignition. Like with any sports and racing cars of the period, a good number of examples have been lost over the years or heavily modified and altered for competition. We are thus proud to present for sale this rare and highly original survivor of the model.
Chassis no. 4801 was completed by the Molsheim works in 1926 and was dispatched to Colonel Sorel in London. It was registered YH 8578 with the London City Council on 14thJune 1927. Colonel Sorel was the main factory agent for Bugatti in London and ‘4801’ was part of a batch order for three Type 35As priced at 29,421.25 FF each. One of the cars in the same batch of three (chassis no. 4818) is known to have been supplied with a standard factory GP body, indicating that perhaps all three, priced at the same level, were fitted with standard GP bodies when first delivered. Regardless, chassis 4801 was soon dispatched to coachbuilders Jarvis of Wimbledon and fitted with a very attractive two-seater touring body with wings and windscreen.
Early photographs show ‘4801’ in this form and one particularly interesting image on file is of the car at the 1927 Isle of Man TT. It is thought that the car was owned by Denis De Feranti at this stage and the car is photographed with the Scott motorcycle team who had entered the amateur race. The photograph shows: Jim Capstick, Denis de Feranti, G.W. Limmer & J.E. Lomas aboard the Scotts with Harry Langman seated in the car. The next recorded owner is Philip Worthington before ‘4801’ passed onto S.B. Constantine who competed with the car at the Wetherby Speed Trials. Thankfully the car survived the war years and in the early post-war period was owned by John Ching, then Dennis Barratt and Bill Munns. In the mid 1950s ‘4801’ was purchased by a group of friends, Michael Hatton, Peter Gaskell and David Vicker-Jones, who, naming themselves “The Bugaires” competed regularly with the car at venues such as Prescott. The accompanying history file contains a number of photographs of ‘4801’ when campaigned by “The Bugaires,” as well as a list of subsequent owners.
In 1977 ‘4801’ was purchased by the well-known GP Bugatti enthusiast, Terry Cardy, from the famed London car dealer, Dan Margulies. Cardy promptly commissioned a total restoration of ‘4801’ to be carried out by Robin Townsend. The original wooden framed Jarvis body was in a terribly poor state and thus was replaced with a replica GP body. The underpinnings of ‘4801’ were so wonderfully pure that the restoration focused on retaining the original Type 35A specification and in this form the car was campaigned at various VSCC speed events.
After a circa ten-year period with Terry Cardy, Hugh Taylor became its next custodian. It then passed through a number of UK owners before being exported from the UK for the first time since 1926. ‘4801’ was purchased by Phillippe Jacqmard in Belgium where it remained for four years before passing to Guy Dubrelle in France in 1999. Dubrelle competed with the car at events such as the Le Mans Classic and during his ownership the engine was rebuilt by the noted French Bugatti restorer, Lauren Rondoni of Venoux Motors in Carpentras.
In 2014 the current owner purchased ‘4801’ and it was brought back to the UK. During his ownership this original Bugatti Type 35A has been treated to a fresh restoration by Derek Hitchman of Oxfordshire. Hitchman is himself the owner and campaigner of a particularly fine Bugatti Type 37 and his restorations are carried out with the upmost care and attention to correct detail.
The current owner was keen to make the car as practical as possible and through his design work was able to commission an exceptionally fine luggage set by Hermès, Paris. This is cleverly positioned in the tail section in front of the small factory fuel, which was original specification when the car was new. The two small cases of the finest Hermès Barenia leather are marked PILOT and COPILOT, and allow for a small amount of clothing. They are retained within a covered aluminium frame work, with additional storage for shoes. Such was the interest in the project, that Hermès agreed to stamp the leather with the original Bugatti stamp that they used in period.
The coach painted colour scheme, draws on the owner’s considerable experience and interest in design and was inspired by the Type 35 colour combination design by the Ukrainian born, French artist, Sonya Delaney (1885 – 1979) who worked in Paris and was noted for her use of strong colours and geometric shapes.
The combination of the owner’s eye for design, and the superb high-quality work carried out by Derek Hitchman has resulted in one of the most original, correct and attractive Grand Prix Bugattis we have ever encountered and a car that is unique in its detail.
Contained within the history file accompanying this superb Bugatti Type 35A is an extensive and detailed report of ‘4801’ by Bugatti Historian Mark Morris. Said report details the ownership history of the car from new and points out numerous detailed facts about the car’s mechanical originality. It is available for viewing on request. Offered for sale in fine condition throughout, this beautifully detailed and rare surviving example of the Bugatti Type 35A is of course eligible for a plethora of top quality international competitions, touring and concours events and is sure to provide the next owner with all the visceral thrill and excitement that can only really be attained from driving a vintage Grand Prix Bugatti. Inspection of the car and accompanying history are welcome at our showroom as are demonstration runs on our private test track via prior arrangement.