1932 Bugatti Type 55

Roadster, body by Vanvooren
Not sold at a high bid of
$4,814,000 - $7,221,000
Est. Range
Lot Number
Older restoration
Auction House
Chassis no. 55204; Engine no. 5. Light blue with burgundy accent and beige cloth top over burgundy leather. RHD. 2,262/130hp supercharged inline eight, 4-speed, alloy wheels, Marchal headlights, rear-mounted spare.

Evaluation: Represented as the original engine, mostly original chassis with matching numbers axles, bonnet, cam boxes, and gearbox. Winner of the 1947 Lyon-Charbonnieres Rally driven by Pierre Daligand. A checkered career followed in France, including with Pierre Bardinon at Mas du Clos, who had the engine transferred to a Type 51 GP replica. Years later it was clothed with this restoration of its original body, then reunited with its original engine in the last decade. Quite a history, but never parted out and substantially original although through many travails. Very good paint, good bright trim and older upholstery with some miles despite the 9 km showing on the odometer.

Bottom Line: Neither a Super Sport nor a Jean Bugatti roadster, this is nonetheless a desirable Type 55 with rare Vanvooren coachwork. It’s had its travails but has been returned to attractive, largely original condition and has an intriguing early rally history. Artcurial offered this car at Retromobile in 2015 with a low estimate of €1.3M ($1.472M at the time). It wasn’t reported sold but apparently changed hands after and then was reunited with its original engine. It attracted little love today, opening at €3M and making only one advance to the final bid of €3.3M, a result that doesn’t beggar its history or configuration.

by Rick Carey
12 February 2021
A story about
Valuation Tools

See how much your car is worth.

Get current values, historical values, model history and more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More on this topic

Hagerty Insider Newsletter

Your weekly dose of auction reports, market analysis, and more.

Thank You!
Your request will be handled as soon as possible
Hagerty Insider Newsletter
Your weekly dose of auction reports, market analysis, and more.
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.