1932 Bugatti Type 55 Super Sport

Engine No. 21
Amelia Island 2020 - Bonhams
Friday, 6 March - Saturday, 7 March 2020
Sale Price
Lot Number
Older Restoration
Auction House
Chassis No. 55220, Engine No. 21. Red and black with a black top over black leather. RHD. 2262-cc, 160-hp L-8. 4-speed manual. 8-spoke alloy wheels, Dunlop Racing tires, dual rear-mounted spares, folding windshield, Scintilla headlights, and Jean Bugatti-designed coachwork.

Evaluation: Older restoration | Sold new to Victor Rothschild, later to R. ­MacLeod-Carey, whose meticulous 32-page notebook about the car comes with it. Eventually auctioned in 1985 by Sotheby’s in London to Dean Edmonds, who canceled his Friday classes at Boston University, took the Concorde to London on Thursday, bought it on Saturday (for £440,000, about $570,000 at the time), and returned via Concorde. He was back in class on Monday. Restored in 1993, class winner at Pebble Beach that year. Good older paint, fair brightwork, good upholstery and gauges. The engine and chassis are obviously used but extremely well maintained. A gorgeous Jean Bugatti design with an impeccable history.

Bottom Line: The Type 55 was, essentially, a Grand Prix car in street clothes, and what gorgeous street clothes they were. This example’s history makes it even better, and the bidders in the Bonhams’s Amelia marquee recognized how extraordinary it is with this generous yet completely realistic result.

by Hagerty Editor
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.