This beautiful 1932 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster will be heading to the Gooding & Company auction at Pebble Beach. It competed in the 1932 Mille Miglia in Italy and will be one of the stars of the Gooding auction. Restored to perfection, this stunning roadster carries a very high price tag that is estimated to be between $10 million and $14 million.
But that insane price does come with merit as this small roadster isn’t just for looks, it is also part of Bugatti’s long history. Jean Bugatti, son of Ettore Bugatti, designed this roadster which is believed to be one of the most beautiful sports cars under Bugatti’s name.
According to Gooding auctions, “Since its introduction, the Type 55 Jean Bugatti Roadster has been coveted by enthusiasts the world over. And the model’s elegance has been noted, with one knowledgeable Bugattiste calling it ‘a Type 51 Grand Prix wearing an evening gown’.”
This supercharged roadster with chassis number 55213 is among 38 Bugatti 55 that were made from 1931 to 1936. Only 14 out of those 38 were made as roadsters. This roadster is one of the earliest Type 55s and joined the Mille Miglia open-road race. It was driven by team Bugatti’s famous driver Achille Varzi and co-driven by Count Luigi Castelbarco. Although it did not do so well during the race after dropping out when the fuel tank was pierced by a rock. It was also part of Nicolas Seydoux’s huge Bugatti collection from 1983 until 2008. In 2013, it was restored by a brand specialist and now comes in a French Blue finish with black fenders and trims.
According to the description given by Gooding:
“Toward the end of the restoration process, (Laurent) Rondoni built a new engine and gearbox for the car, exact replicas of the original components. The current owner recently entrusted the car to (British expert) Jim Stokes, who installed the new components, road-tested the Bugatti, and carefully stored the original matching-numbers components for safekeeping. The original engine and gearbox, as well as all restoration invoices, photographs, and records, accompany 55213 at auction.”
It still features it original chassis, coachwork, and other mechanical parts. In 2006, David Sewell who is an expert on Bugatti history was able to inspect the roadster and made a report on the cars authenticity.
“Overall, this is a truly outstanding example of the highly sought-after Type 55 Jean Bugatti roadster. It retains most if not all of its original component parts with matching numbers throughout, including that of its coachwork. Accordingly, this car must surely rank amongst the very best of surviving Type 55 Bugattis; indeed it may well be the finest of them all.” Sowell wrote in his report.
The Gooding auction will be held together with the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance which will be from August 20 to 21. Both events will be held at the Pebble Beach Equestrian Center.