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Lot 128: 1935 Bugatti Type 56/50B Offset-Seat Grand Prix Car, From the Molsheim factory’s secret store rooms

Important Sports & Competition Motor Cars, Bonhams (16 September 2005)

Here we are delighted to offer this immaculately presented Bugatti Type 59 whose structural and mechanical assemblies are entirely or substantially the originals, manufactured and hand-crafted in period through the mid-1930s by the artisans of Automobiles Bugatti in their world-famous factory at Molsheim in Alsace. Only such peripherals as the body panelling and tanks have been remade.

That such a powerful car embodying such historical significance can now be offered here at all is a tribute to more than 40 years of dedicated interest, enthusiasm and original-component collecting by its present vendor. This machine represents the ultimate achievement of one thread of his near lifetime of Bugatti enthusiasm; to reassemble as much as possible of the legendary French marque’s traditional offset-seat Grand Prix car line’s last hurrah – the unique 4.9-litre supercharged Bugatti Type 59/50B as driven by the great Robert Benoist in the Grand Prix de l’Automobile Club de France at Montlhéry Autodrome on June 23, 1935.

First let us dispose of one question. The vendor refers to this car as the Type 59/50B – while other Bugatti authorities contend its title perhaps should be ‘Type 59/50S’ or perhaps even ‘Type 59/54 modifiée’. Each of these nomenclatures has been attached by various sources to the unique 1935 French GP ‘Benoist car’. The ‘50B’ designation appears on numerous original factory drawings held by the vendor, and by whatever name it might be described, that unique 1935 artefact remains unique, and we prefer to use the ‘Type 59/50B’ title for this near-perfect reassembly of the treasure chest of absolutely original components which is now presented here.

Lot Details
Auction Important Sports & Competition Motor Cars
Bonhams, Goodwood Revival, Chichester
Lot Number128
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)£815500
Condition rating
Registration number
Chassis number'No. 2'
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors