1929 Bugatti Type 44 Grand Sport Is Straight-8 GP Racer as 4-Seat Ragtop!

Imagine a current F1 car stretched three feet in wheelbase, then fitted with a rudimentary canopy of a roof. Then flash back to 1929.

Bugatti 44 Grand Sport.

As you can probably tell, we pour over the auction lists of rare and special cars.

A list of priceless classics, all sold by the pound and to the mood of the moment.

Seeing a 1920’s Bugatti headline is almost a cliche in this rarefied world.

Stunning racecar evolution, open-wheeled and potent by the end of the decade.

The dream of fans was coming true as well — a LWB chassis with road-going bodywork but the power of a pure competition vehicle. 80-horsepower is a ridiculous amount of power — thanks to the 3.0-liter straight-eight engine up front.

Even more charming is seeing a double cockpit Bugatti cabrio with its ‘top up’ portion not just intact, but elegant and touchably tactile.

 1929 Bugatti Type 44 Grand Sport

Villa Erba

25 May 2013

Lot 127

1929 Bugatti Type 44 Grand Sport in the style of Bugatti

To be auctioned on Saturday, May 25, 2013

€300.000 – €360.000

  • Chassis no. 441008
  • Engine no. 743

80 bhp, 2,991 cc single overhead camshaft inline eight-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, solid front axle with semi-elliptic springs, live rear axle with reversed quarter-elliptic leaf springs, and cable-operated drum brakes. Wheelbase: 3,119 mm (122.8 in.)

  • Matching-numbers frame, gearbox, rear axle, chassis plate, and engine block

  • Dashing Grand Sport coachwork

  • Fascinating well-known history

“Le Patron” Ettore Bugatti always offered “road” versions of his automobiles, but they were road cars for racing drivers. That changed at the Paris Motor Show of 1927, where Bugatti debuted the Type 44. This model featured an inline eight-cylinder engine, in two cast-iron blocks of four, with a single overhead camshaft and two inlets and one exhaust valve per cylinder, displacing 2,991 cubic centimetres and producing an estimated 80 horsepower. Fitted with a vibration damper and on a long, by Bugatti standards, 3,119-millimetre chassis, it was still a powerful and fast car, but make no mistake, this was a kinder, gentler Bugatti. The late dean of automotive writers, Ken W. Purdy, a man who knew Molsheim’s creations, reported that “a good one will do 80 miles an hour; it’s reasonably quiet, starts easily, is pleasant to shift, and has the softest clutch I, at least, have ever laid foot to”.

The car offered here, chassis number 441008 with engine number 743, was built in April 1929, and it was originally delivered with a cabriolet body, ordered by Bugatti from favoured coachbuilders Gangloff, of Colmar, to Belgian agent Jos Reinartz. By 1936, it was owned by Dr Eugéne Kuborn, of Luxembourg, passing in 1938 to a Belgian buyer, then back to Luxembourg, and in September 1945, to Belgian architect Albert De Lay.

Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.

He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.

Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.

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