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Meet the five million dollar Bugatti Roadster

Very first Type 55 is coming up for auction. Fully original. And fully lovely

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Pre-war cars might not pique your interest as much as, say, a 789bhp nut-job McLaren, but this one’s quite rare, very expensive and rather lovely. It is a Bugatti Type 55 Roadster, and it’s coming up for auction next month.

For how much largely depends on whatever mood the bidders are in on January 19 and 20, but Gooding & Co expect it to go for between $4million and $5million. Which is a lot of money.

Such a vast outlay buys into proper provenance, mind. This is apparently “one of the most coveted pre-war sports cars” built. Underneath sits the chassis of Bugatti’s Type 45 and Type 47 GP racers, along with a supercharged, twin-cam eight-cylinder engine with 130bhp.

So a far cry from the Bugatti Chiron, but then this was 1931. This particular car is the very first of just 38 Type 55 models ever built, and as such, gets a GP style bonnet with shortened louvres on the side. Because long louvres are sooo 19th Century.

It was originally showcased at the 1931 Paris motor show, before being delivered to Duc de le Tremoille (French nobility, we’re told). After that, a noted Bugatti enthusiast named Dr Peter Williamson owned the thing for more than 40 years.

To this day, the chassis and engine remain original. It’s been fully restored too. And let’s be honest, it looks quite amazing, no?

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