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It is said that 1932 was the pinnacle of pre-war design in America, when wing lines, proportions and engineering technology came together in perfect harmony to produce the best blend of appearance and performance never before seen in this country, and now properly recognised.

Bugatti, like many other leading automakers in the early 20th century, exploited its racing prowess to raise the profile of its road cars. The Type 55, developed by Bugatti in 1932, had obvious links to motorsport: it was a direct descendant of the Type 51 racing car, and it was powered by a twin-cam inline eight-cylinder engine in 2.3 liter supercharged head. The 38 Bugatti Type 55s built a sporty body, which was often open-topped and showcased the model’s racing history.

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Road to success: the significant historical design of the 1932 Bugatti Type 55

An automobile like the Bugatti Type 55 Roadster, with its house style, justifies a similar thesis for European design, but it actually represents a pinnacle of progress and collaboration between Le Patron, Ettore Bugatti, and the advent of his son Jean as a major influence on the business. The Type 55 carries all of Jean’s design hallmarks, riding on a chassis and undercarriage designed entirely by his father, but with twin-cam power Jean developed. It must have been a very rewarding endeavor for them to design and build this car together, and it’s a showcase of their respective abilities.


Technically, Ettore’s exquisite straight-eight engine, which had laid the foundation for thousands of Grand Prix victories, had now followed suit, largely influenced by Miller’s Packard Cable Specials. The supercharged 2.3 liter engine was used in a road automobile for the first and only time. The chassis was the reinforced, deep frame of the Type 54 Grand Prix car, with the inverted quarter-elliptical rear suspension and front axle layout of the successful GP car. Power was linked to the road via a new gearbox, identical to that used in the Type 49.


The powerful mechanics were dressed in legendary bodywork, a doorless coupe roadster with a slightly swaying rear tail, sculpted moldings, dazzling alloy wheels and lines so well matched with two more at the rear. The car is well-designed in every way, from its hot nickel silver radiator to those.

Between 1932 and 1935, only 38 of these Super Sport Bugatti were produced, of which only 38 left the Molsheim factory. Only 14 of the approximately 3 dozen cars left the factory with authentic Jean Bugatti Roadster bodywork, and only 11 of these are still in use today. Many of this small group are housed in institutions or collections with institutional status, such as the National Automobile Museum, which contains the Schlumpf brothers’ collection, and the Revs Institute in Florida, which means they are rarely available. on sale.


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The 1932 Bugatti Type 55 is listed on RM Sotheby’s: it is a classic car that has belonged to several famous personalities

According to the testimony of marque expert David Sewell, the Swiss agent Bugatti – Bucar of Zurich ordered chassis 55219 on behalf of their client Mr. Edmond Reiffers, notary in the city of Luxembourg, during the winter of 1932. A manufacturing employee delivered the unfinished chassis with a temporary seat to the border, which was barely 100 miles away, later that spring.

Mr Reiffers intended to commission his own bodywork for the car, but not before one of his three sons, Ernest, entered it in numerous local competitions organized by the Automobile Club de Luxembourg with just a bonnet , headlights and a saddle! Finally, Pritchard & Demollin of Angluer, Belgium built a four-seat convertible body for the Type 55 in October of that year. Despite the extra body weight, his sons would continue to race the Type 55 and also use it for hunting expeditions, demonstrating the car’s versatility.


The car was sold to Rudi Cloos, a Luxembourg-based entrepreneur, in 1938. However, the Bugatti was moved twice inside the Grand Duchy over the next two years before being buried during the war. The automobile was discovered and registered in the name of Pierre Schickes, an electrician, when peace finally returned in 1945. Unfortunately, under his tenure, the Bugatti suffered front end damage. The car’s front fenders were modified after the accident, and they now sag to the front cross member; the rest of the body remained intact. By 1955 ownership had passed to a Belgian named Gillard, but in 1957 the Type 55 was purchased by Jean de Dobbeleer of Brussels, a well-known Bugatti dealer.

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