Exotic supercharged Bugatti Type 57C Cabriolet leads Bonhams’ auction in Greenwich, Connecticut

The Bugatti Type 57C wears lovely cabriolet coachwork by Gangloff | Bonhams
The Bugatti Type 57C wears lovely cabriolet coachwork by Gangloff | Bonhams

One of the most successful models produced by Bugatti was the Type 57, created by founder Ettore Bugatti’s son, Jean, and introduced in 1934. With numerous body styles by renowned coachbuilders as well as the Bugatti factory, including such exotics as the iconic Atlantic prototype, the Type 57 is today the best-remembered of the French automaker’s illustrious pre-war road cars. Continue reading

1934 Bugatti racer on the block Saturday at Leake’s Dallas sale

1934 Bugatti once in Mullin collection up for bids in Dallas | Leake Auction photo
1934 Bugatti once in Mullin collection up for bids in Dallas | Leake Auction photo

A 1934 Bugatti Type 51 Grand Prix racer known as “The Nuttle T-51” will cross the block Saturday at Leake Auction Company’s sale in Dallas Market Hall. The auction begins today and runs through Sunday.

The Bugatti (serial number 51153) is one of 40 Type 51s produced between 1931 and 1934 and was originally invoiced to Giovanni Alloati on April 12, 1934. It was imported to England by Jack Lemmon Burton late in 1936. With a new lightweight, two-piece body, it ran successfully in British club events as the Allan Arnold Special.

The car was imported to the United States in 1955, went through a couple of owners in California before being sold, wearing a “strange” Grand Prix-style body with a UK registration of “GP 1000” on its bobtail, to Raymond Jones of Michigan. Jones removed the body but did little else to the car until he sold it three years later to his neighbor and customer Jack Nuttle, who wanted a Bugatti better than the T-37A that he already owned.

The car needed restoration and Nuttle wanted to return it to its original condition.

Over time, the car’s engine had been broken and rewelded. Rather than undertake another repair, Nuttle simply replaced the lower half of the supercharged powerplant with one from chassis No. 51127. When it was discovered that the transmission needed new gears, Nuttle opted to replace the unit with a restored T-51 gearbox, just as the Bugatti factory reportedly had done when it finished racing the car and sold it for the first time.

The restoration consumed seven years. Tuttle raced the car for several years thereafter and sold it in 1983. Eventually it became part of Peter Mullin’s collection and was raced at the Monterey historic races at Laguna Seca. Mullin sold the car in 2012 to John Ridings Lee, whose collection is the consignor to the Leake sale.

Among the extensive documentation that comes with the car is a FIVA identity card qualifying it for vintage races around the world.