1931 Bugatti Type 55

Engine No. 26
Rétromobile 2020 - Bonhams
Thursday, 6 February 2020
Sale Price
6 February 2020
Sold Date
Lot Number
Older Restoration
Auction House
Chassis No. 55221, Engine No. 26. Dark blue with yellow sweep panel over black leather. 2262-cc, 130-hp supercharged L-8. Scintilla headlights, folding windshield, alloy wheels with integral brake drums, rear-mounted spare, Dunlop Racing tires, roll-up windows, and semaphore signals behind the doors

Evaluation: Older restoration | Raced when new by Count Guy Bouriat/Louis Chiron for the Bugatti factory at Le Mans in 1932 with the required four-seat tourer coachwork. Ran out of fuel in the third hour and retired. Rebodied by Joseph Figoni for the next owner, Jacques Dupuy, who won the Paris-Nice Rally with it in 1933. Eventually sold to Geoffrey St. John in the United Kingdom in 1963, by whom it was restored with the current engine (from 55223). Repaired after an accident in the mid-’90s with the original frame and coachwork. One of only 38 Type 55s, of which 27 are known to survive. Oily but orderly and clean engine compartment. Sound but chipped old paint. Worn old upholstery. Said to run and drive superbly in a December 2019 feature in Classic & Sports Car by Mick Walsh and the Duke of Richmond and Gordon.

Bottom Line: Type 55s are unanimously acclaimed for their Jean Bugatti
cutdown-door roadster bodies, easily one of the most attractive and sporting bodies ever put on any car. But 55221’s Figoni roadster body is also attractive, sporting, and even more practical, not to mention less common. The accident and extensive repair history dings the value, but the car itself is thoroughly
inspected and documented, and the Grand Palais bidders were undeterred.

by Hagerty Insider
1 February 2020
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Condition definitions
Condition #1: Concours
Condition #1 vehicles are the best in the world. The visual image is of the best vehicle, in the right colors, driving onto the lawn at the finest concours. Perfectly clean, the vehicle has been groomed down to the tire treads. Painted and chromed surfaces are mirror-like. Dust and dirt are banned, and materials used are correct and superbly fitted. The one word description for #1 vehicles is “concours.“
Condition #2: Excellent
#2 vehicles could win a local or regional show. They can be former #1 vehicles that have been driven or have aged. Seasoned observers will have to look closely for flaws, but will be able to find some not seen by the general public. The paint, chrome, glass and finishes will all appear as excellent. No excessive smoke will be seen on startup, no unusual noises will emanate from the engine. The vehicle will drive as a new vehicle of its era would. The one word description for #2 vehicles is “excellent.“
Condition #3: Good
#3 vehicles could possess some, but not all of the issues of a #4 vehicle, but they will be balanced by other factors such as a fresh paint job or a new, correct interior where applicable. #3 vehicles drive and run well, but might have some incorrect parts. These vehicles are not used for daily transportation but are ready for a long tour without excuses, and the casual passerby will not find any visual flaws. “Good” is the one word description of a #3 vehicle.
Condition #4: Fair
#4 vehicles are daily drivers, with flaws visible to the naked eye. The chrome might have pitting or scratches, the windshield might be chipped. Paintwork is imperfect, and perhaps the body has a minor dent. Split seams or a cracked dash, where applicable, might be present. No major parts are missing, but the wheels could differ from the originals, or other non- stock additions might be present. A #4 vehicle can also be a deteriorated restoration. “Fair” is the one word that describes a #4 vehicle.
Condition #5: Poor
Running, but battered, incomplete, and perhaps rusty.
Condition #6: Parts car
Parts car.
Hagerty only assigns condition ratings to vehicles we can inspect in person or, for online listings, via high-quality photography.