16-17 January 2014

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Lot 25

1930 Bugatti Type 35B Grand Prix

  • Chassis no. 4948
  • Engine no. 200T

Sold for $638,000

130 bhp, 2,262 cc overhead-cam inline eight-cylinder engine with supercharger, four-speed manual transmission, front suspension with semi-elliptic springs and rear live axle with inverted quarter-elliptic springs, and four-wheel cable operated drum brakes. Wheelbase: 93.7 in.

  • Campaigned in the 1930 Monaco Grand Prix
  • Excellent for historic racing
  • Recently serviced by marque specialists

With its first appearance at the 1924 French Grand Prix held at Lyon, there was no doubt to anyone who saw the car run that this was an automobile that had it all: durability, mechanical functionality, and a wonderful sporting exterior design. The Type 35’s best finish for that race was a respectable 7th overall, but it was clear that the car had the potential for greater success following future tuning and refinement.

Bugatti’s final iteration of the Type 35 would be the Type 35B. This new model, which bore the same 2.3-liter, eight-cylinder motor as the earlier Type 35T, was outfitted with a supercharger that was similar to the one in the Type 35C, albeit it was slightly larger and more powerful. In its day, the Type 35B boasted incredible performance figures, and these figures are still respectable today. It was capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in just six seconds, and it had a top speed of 125 mph. The Type 35B platform also proved to be competent on the open road, and its strictly road going form was called the Type 43.

Chassis 4948, a 1930 Type 35B Grand Prix race car that was equipped with engine 200T, competed in the 1930 Monaco Grand Prix. Guy Bouriat was behind the wheel, and it finished 3rd overall in the race, which was largely dominated by cars from Molsheim. After the race, the factory sold 4948 to Joachim von Morgan, who resided in Germany, and he continued to campaign the car throughout the remainder of the 1930 season, as well as the 1931 one.

Von Morgan returned his 35B to the factory in exchange for a newer Type 51, and the car was resold to Paul Pietsch, the future Auto Union team driver and German publishing magnate. Pietsch raced the car through 1932 and then sold it to a Herbert Wimmer, who continued to race it from 1932 to 1936. It is believed that the car remained in his possession throughout the World War II, and then it was sold to a Heinrich Herbster.

After leaving Herbster’s custody, 4948 eventually made its ways across the Atlantic to America in a disassembled state. Shortly after its arrival, it is believed that its original curved side frame rails were sold to a Bugatti collector on the West Coast, but all of 4948’s other original components remained together.

The car remained in storage until it was purchased by a gentleman who decided to bring the car back to its former glory. A lengthy and painstaking restoration was undertaken, with its aim being to return the Bugatti to its original 1930 Monaco Grand Prix livery and specification. The original 2.3-liter supercharged engine was completely rebuilt and installed in the car, and it was fitted with the original factory crankshaft and rod assemblies.

According to the owner, who commissioned the car for its initial restoration, the list of factory verified numbered parts at that time included the upper and lower crankcase and crankcase arm, the cam box, the blower drive and blower drive case, the intake manifolds, the accessory drives, the blower, the steering box, the gearbox, the rear axle, and the hollow front axle. According to their numbers, non-factory parts included the cam box lid, the right front crankcase arm, and the right side front dumb iron, yet all of these stampings appear to be period correct. After being thoroughly inspected by Bugatti authorities, these individuals felt that 4948 was always a German owned car, as no SAE, English, or non-Bugatti metric fasteners were found on the car. Additionally, it is viewed by many marque specialists as one of the more exceptional examples of its kind, given that a substantial amount of its authentic and original components had remained together for so many years of its life, despite the absence of its original chassis.

Under the stewardship of its current owner, this Bugatti was sent to noted Bugatti specialist Jim Stranberg, of High Mountain Classics in Berthoud, Colorado, for a frame-off restoration. Any parts found to be incorrect for this model were replaced with correct ones, ensuring that this Type 35B is as accurate as possible. At the same time, the car’s radiator was shipped to Wales to be rebuilt by another Bugatti specialist, and a new crankshaft was built for the car by Brineton Engineering. Finally, the body was repainted in the same dark blue that it wore at the 1930 Monaco Grand Prix. The car is accompanied by all the appropriate restoration receipts, which total to $161,000. Since the completion of the restoration, 4948 has been driven sparingly and still remains in excellent post-restoration condition. Not only is this car in splendid cosmetic condition, it is also more than ready to participate in vintage races.

These vehicles were designed to be driven, and driven hard. Bugattis of this era are frequent sights at such motoring events as the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion and the Mille Miglia, and the Type 35B models are especially known for their reliability, performance, and overall motoring panache. To many, there is no better motoring experience than the thrill of piloting a pre-war Bugatti, and this Type 35B certainly will not disappoint.

Please note that this vehicle is sold on a Bill of Sale.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more