Villa Erba

25 May 2013

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Lot 113

1937 Bugatti Type 57 Ventoux

  • Chassis no. 57524
  • Engine no. 379

Sold for €324.800

135 bhp, 3,257 cc twin-cam inline eight-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: 3,300 mm (130 in.)

  • Restored yet highly-original car with matching numbers
  • Unique “tear-drop” style Ventoux body
  • Well-known history with known ownership throughout
  • Inspected and documented by Pierre Yves Laugier

The two-door Ventoux was one of four body designs offered at the time of the Bugatti Type 57’s launch, and it was the creation of Ettore Bugatti’s much-lauded designer son, Jean. The four-seat, two-door design was distinctive for its heavily raked windscreen and elegant proportions, and it was offered in four distinctive series during its production.

The car offered here, manufactured 12 March 1937, with chassis number 57524 and engine number 379, was the 99th Ventoux built of 164 produced, as part of the third series, and it is the only example to feature the distinctive “teardrop” tail, beautifully in keeping with the sporting character of the model. It was delivered to Bugatti’s dealer in Lille, France, Crequy et Cornette, as a show car, specifically for display at the Lille Fair. On 14 April, it was acquired by its first owner, Etienne Pollet-Beghin, who registered it as 2539 MD 3 in the Nord region.

The Ventoux passed in 1939 to Marcel Heyndrick and then, in April 1940, to Albert Meyer. It was re-registered in 1956 as 2713 EW 75, and about a year later, it was exported to Belgium by the legendary Jean De Dobbeleer, as pictured in the book The Bugattis of Jean De Dobbeleer by Charles Fawcett. At around this time, its identity had been swapped, and the car was renumbered 57422, by a change of chassis plates and having the engine numbers restamped as 57422 and 310, respectively, changing only the last digits. This was probably done for tax reasons, before it’s exportation to South Africa, where it was a part of the Wilworth Collection, as recorded in Hugh Conway’s Bugatti Register of 1962. It returned to Belgium in 1981, in the hands of Ennio Gianaroli, and then, in 2006, it passed to Albert Lemaire.

Importantly, the car’s original number stamping was still present under the new number, and the car never lost its original engine, as can be seen on inspection. The renumbering was corrected, and today, the car wears its original number and is completely, totally accurate and numbers-matching once again, as certified by the British Bugatti Owners Club and by respected Bugatti historians, Pierre Yves Laugier and David Sewell. The rear axle, front axle, and gearbox all bear the correct number, 379. The present owner, who purchased the car in 2010, undertook an overall restoration, which is well documented: The body has been stripped down to bare metal, lead metal-finished, and then painted back to black, as it was when delivered new. The mechanical components have been well-restored overall, and the present owner has enjoyed the elegant Ventoux, driving it in some rallies.

Today, this Bugatti is an outstanding example of this highly desirable model, and with its unique body design, exceptional originality, and verified matching numbers, it is a rare opportunity for any discerning collector.

Alexander Weaver

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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