Car details

Car: Bugatti type 35B Grand Prix
Year: 1926

1926 Bugatti Type 35B Grand Prix

Chassis No.4761
Engine No.16
Gearbox No.152
Frame no.214

130 bhp, 2,262 cc overhead-camshaft 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: 2,380 mm

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 wonderfully 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. Indeed, this model would eventually become the most successful racing automobile, by a number of victories, of all time.

Bugatti’s final iteration of the Type 35 would be the Type 35B. This new model, which bore the same 2.3-litre, 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 history of the Type 35B offered here is inextricably linked to that of the first Type 35T built, chassis number 4761, which was put on the road just before the Targa Florio on 25 April 1926 and registered on 26 March. It is impossible to determine which driver drove chassis 4761 in the Targa Florio that year, but on 8 July 1926, it was officially attributed to a Mr Williams and went on to be run in the private Spanish Grand Prix on 25 July 1926. By this time, the car already bore Paris registration number 4181 U9, and it would remain in circulation in Paris until June 1929.

On 5 June 1929, the Type 35T was sold to French pilot Francois Trevoux, who registered it as XA 9353. Trevoux drove the car in the first Grand Prix of Dieppe on 7 July 1929.

Two years later, on 12 May 1931, the car was sold in the south of France, which was an important moment in its history. It was registered in Marseilles as 585 CA 4, on behalf of the new owner, Albert Edmond Gaymard. Unfortunately, Gaymard was the last registered French owner of chassis number 4761 as a complete automobile.

Some 30 years later, André Binda retrieved a Bugatti Type 35 frame, number 214, from a garage in Nice that was operated by Julien Germain Solignac, and then it became part of a stock of parts assembled to keep Binda’s own Bugatti operational. This collection of parts was later passed to the fabled “Bugatti Hunter”, Antoine Raffaelli, in 1965.

Raffaelli’s childhood friend, Jacques Ohana, had interest in owning his own Bugatti, and given his close connection to the Bugatti Hunter, he had virtually unparalleled access to the best of the Raffaelli garage. Over the next few years, Raffaelli would sell his friend numerous original components, indeed some of the best of his collection, with the most important component being frame number 214. Per Bugatti historian Pierre-Yves Laugier, Raffaelli explained that whilst the exact origins of that frame are unknown, the car that best corresponds to it is chassis number 4761, which is one of the few Type 35s whose fate in the Marseilles area is unknown.

The car restored by Ohana combines that frame with an unparalleled number of original components, including an original hollow-diameter, 43-millimetre front axle; two crankcases, found by Raffaelli near Strasbourg in 1960; a lower crank cover, number 16; an upper housing assembly, number 34; and an original supercharger, number 82. The gearbox is stamped as number 152, which corresponds to a gearbox built in May or June of 1926. The rear axle is engraved with number 164 and could have come from a Type 35B or C of 1928. Rebuilt components on the car include the bodywork and radiator, which were both manufactured in England, as well as the wheels.

A mechanical restoration and reassembly of the car was entrusted to the well-known workshop of Laurent Rondoni Carpentras. Mr Ohana went on to participate in numerous rallies at the wheel of his very fast 35B, and it was reported to have never faltered, despite having been run at very high speeds with great abandon.

Laugier notes:

“Among all Bugatti racing reconstructions on original frames that we inspected over many years, this is arguably the car that has the most original quality parts…Lifted from a stock of old Bugatti spares in 1960, it was possible for the owner, assisted by A. Raffaelli, to obtain the best elements to form a car involving all key components—front axle, crankcases, gearbox, and rear axle—that are original and good quality”.

The combination of outstanding components with well-known recent rally history makes this is a quality Type 35B for the modern Bugattiste who still excites at wind-in-your-face thrills.


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