This former GP car was one of two 1920s-era Bugatti’s roaming the Ritz-Carlton grounds this weekend.
The other was black and will be featured in even more photographic detail than this little blue fella.
Both are absolutely enchanting up close, with a metal wire closure system for most bodywork that was ideal for rapid servicing without the need to un-bolt any bodywork.
These GP cars carry a similar shape to other Bugatti racers, but are actually far smaller and more nimble machines than their big-engined brothers.
Why? Racing rules from FIA specified a maximum engine size — with four cyclinders being the max during the late 1920s.
Therefore, this immaculate and quite charming French Racing Blue car runs a supercharged 1.5-liter making 122-horsepower.
The 27A’s Roots blower cars are far rarer than the regular Type 37 — only 76 in total were ever made. This makes up just over a quarter of the 286 total Type 37s that were produced.
As actual race-cars, far fewer of both survive today than were actually completed in Molshiem.
With nearly a 1:1 power-to-weight ratio, the cars were exceptionally fast but very hard to drive on the limit.
The aero cD must also be a similar round number — as the 90-horsepower models could hit 90-mph only. The 122HP supercharged cars, meanwhile, easily roared into the 120-mph range and required a host of upgrades to the tires, wheels and brakes.
My one question about these cars? Why the strange positive camber up front? (The wheel-tops cant outward?)
The answers from most folks we asked varied: but the best seems to be that with a driver on-board, the camber then sets itself true.
A light car indeed, and quite a stunning example of perhaps Ettore Bugatti’s most-produced racecar in history… until the (very recent) 350-ish Veyron production run, that is.
More information about this fantastic Bugatti is available on the RM Auctions site.
Outdoor Images c/o RM Auctions.
What do you think?