Villa Erba

25 May 2013

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Lot 106

1929 Bugatti Type 40 Roadster

  • Chassis no. 40845
  • Engine no. 769

Sold for €324.800


45 bhp, 1,496 cc single overhead camshaft four-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, live front axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, live rear axle with inverted quarter-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel cable-operated drum brakes. Wheelbase: 2,560 mm (100.8 in.)

  • One of only 13 surviving “Jean Bugatti Roadsters” on the 1,500-cubic centimetre Type 40 chassis
  • French ownership since new; single owner for the last 29 years
  • Very original, matching-numbers example
  • Documented and inspected by Pierre Yves Laugier


After the success of the Brescia Bugatti, which excelled in its various configurations on both road and track, Ettore Bugatti launched the Type 40 as its replacement in May 1926. Some 780 examples were built.



Particularly prized by collectors are the 42 examples of the Type 40 that were fitted with Jean Bugatti’s stunning roadster bodywork, a rakish design originally created in 1929 for the eight-cylinder Type 43A, and a model that remains among the most coveted pre-war sports cars of all time. In order to fit the Type 40 chassis, the body design had to be shortened to suit the more compact dimensions, but the overall result remains simply stunning, and it sets those 42 chassis apart as the most sporting and desirable of their breed. The roadsters were built on the last Type 40 chassis produced, between March 1930 and 1931, at the same time as production of the successor Type 40A was getting underway. Naturally, Jean Bugatti took the first roadster for himself.



The car offered here retains its original matching-numbers chassis frame, number 40845, and engine, number 769, as well as its original Roadster Luxe bodywork. It was one of four ordered by Bugatti’s Paris agent, Larrousé. The rolling chassis was built in January 1930, the car was ordered in April 1930, and the body was built in August 1930. Alas, the identity of its original owner is unknown, as the Parisian Bugatti agency and police records of this time have been lost.



In the mid-1950s, the car is believed to have been sold to a buyer in the Loire Valley, where it was registered as 243 BW 41. It was acquired from a mechanic in that region in October 1961, by Mr Jean Montot, who retained the car, registered as 188 FA 37, until his passing. The present owner acquired the Bugatti from Monsieur Montot’s family in 1984 and had it refinished in the classic black and red colour combination; the same as Jean Bugatti’s personal car. The paint scheme is complemented by a black hood and black wire wheels.



The car retains all of its original mechanical components, numbered consistently to the chassis, as well as its original chassis plate and wood panels stamped “22”, identifying this car as the 22nd Jean Bugatti Roadster built. The dashboard instruments are also entirely correct. Few Bugattis can claim such an outstanding level of originality. One of only 13 existing Roadsters; the car also benefits from single ownership for the last 29years. It is in perfect running condition, it is reliable, and it presents a fantastic opportunity for the new owner to buy and enjoy one of these exceptionally rare examples that is highly eligible for many events, such as the Mille Miglia.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+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

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+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

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+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

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+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

drose@rmsothebys.com

+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

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+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

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+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

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+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

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+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

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+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

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+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

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+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

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+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

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+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

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+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

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+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

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+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