1924 Bugatti Type 30 / Type 43
Ettore Bugatti was born in Milan Italy on the 15th September 1881. He was part of a very entrepreneurial and creative family. His grandfather was an architect and sculptor, his father a furniture and jewellery designer of some note and other members of the family were sculptors and artists. Ettore was obsessed with the evolution of the automobile and in 1898 he built his first car as a teenager. Over the next ten years he built a number of cars, however, it wasn’t until the 1st January 1910 that he founded Automobiles Ettore Bugatti in the then-German city of Molsheim, Alsace. Bugatti started building cars in earnest and the Type 13 is today considered to be the first real Bugatti. The First World War proved to be temporary roadblock for Bugatti and once the Treaty of Versailles was signed on the 28th July 1919 it was ‘back to work’! Following the War, the region of Alsace became part of France and Ettore Bugatti lost no time in refocussing his energy on automobiles. At the last minute, Bugatti was able to obtain a stand at the 15th Paris Motor Show held in October 1919. He exhibited three light cars and not surprisingly all of them were closely based on their pre-war equivalents. Each model was fitted with the same overhead camshaft 4 cylinder engine of 1,368cc capacity with four valves per cylinder. The three cars were the Type 13 (built on a 2,000 wheelbase), the Type 22 (built on a 2,250 mm wheelbase) and the Type 23 (built on a 2,400 mm wheelbase).
The Bugatti name soon became synonymous with high performance cars. Their road cars were purchased by the rich and famous and their race cars dominated on circuits all around the world. By the mid 1930’s Ettore Bugatti’s son, Jean, was effectively running the factory overseeing the production of the cars, whilst Ettore spent most of his time in Paris. Times were good, however, things changed quickly and when Jean Bugatti was killed road testing a Type 57 race car in August 1939 it was the beginning of the end. The Second World War broke out shortly thereafter and the Bugatti factory was essentially destroyed and seized. The War ended in September 1945 and attempts to restart the factory were ultimately futile.. Ettore Bugatti died in August 1947. A handful of cars were built from 1945 through until the original incarnation of Bugatti ceased operations in 1952.
Models such as the Type 35, the Type 41 (Royale), Type 57 and Type 59 have become legendary and are amongst the most desirable cars ever built.
One of Bugatti’s most significant cars was the Type 30 that was introduced in 1922. The Type 30 was powered by the same 1,991 cc engine used in the Type 29 race car. It shared its chassis, axles and gearbox with the Type 13 Brescia. Around 600 examples were built from late 1922 through until 1926 in varying specifications. Over the next 12 years the Type 30 evolved spawning other models, including the Type 38, Type 40, Type 43, Type 44 and Type 49. These models all featured Bugatti’s 8 cylinder inline engine of varying capacities and some with superchargers.
Incredibly, Bugatti built almost 8,000 cars through until 1956.
Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for sale a fabulous 1924 Bugatti Type 30 that has been restored by its current owner as a Type 43.
Like many Bugattis in Australia it had a chequered early history that is not definitively known. It is documented in both of noted Bugatti historian, Bob King’s books: Bugattis in Australasia – A History of the Bugatti Car in Australia and New Zealand (1992) and Bugattis in Australia and New Zealand 1920 to 2012 (2012). The following history is extracted from those books:
- The Carrosserie Profilée bodied car was delivered new to Australia via the London Bugatti agents in 1924.
- The car was extensively raced in its early years and the original engine was parted from the car very early in its life.
- Well known Bugattisti, Geoff Collins, recalls first seeing this car with its original body and chassis plate in NSW in the early 1930’s. (Note: there is a letter from Collins on file dated February 19th 1986 where he writes about the history of the car in detail. He states that in the early 1930’s the car was then cream in colour with red mudguards).
- The car was extensively raced until the 1940’s when it was acquired by RK Newson and modified.
There are some fabulous photos of the car from the 1930’s in the first edition of King’s book and photos from the 1950’s in the second edition of King’s book.
The car is also really well documented in Bugatti Passion – 50 Years of the Bugatti Club Australia by Pedr Davis (2014). In that book it is noted “ . . . little is known about the car’s early days but Bob King believes Lyster Jackson won Class D at Wheelers Hill Climb (near Melbourne) in May 1927. Len Terry raced it in the Centenary 300 at Philip Island on New Year’s day 1935, but half way through the race an engine oil pipe burst and the car failed to proceed”.
The current owner of this car acquired it in partnership with a friend in 1992. The plan was restore the Bugatti as a Type 43, which was essentially the same chassis as a Type 30 but powered by a supercharged 2,262 cc version of Bugatti’s straight 8 engine from the Type 35B. The chassis, whilst modified, was generally in very good condition. Richard Stanley was tasked with repairing and restoring the chassis, however, not much else progressed with the car. The current owner bought his partner out and gained a fresh head of steam to move forward with the project.
The car was re-bodied by Robert Tingay of Castlemaine over a Grand Sport frame from Wilkinsons of Derby in the UK. The story of the mudguards is fascinating and it is most likely that they are from a genuine Bugatti Type 43. They were acquired from Swiss Bugatti agent Bucar in the 1930’s and found their way to the current owner through a friend of a friend.
Another fascinating part of the history of this car documented in Davis’ book is regarding the colour of the car. The following is quote directly from the owner of the car “ . . . the original paint colour survived under a reflector. So the body colour is painted to match it and thus I’m able to pontificate on what the REAL Bugatti blue is!”
The engine block is understood to be period Bugatti and it was acquired through Jack Lemon Burton in London at the end of the 1960s or early 70s. Lemon Burton dealt with the Bugatti factory in Molsheim in period and he was well known within Bugatti circles. The engine was built from many genuine Bugatti parts and others made to complete the build. Auto Restorations in New Zealand made the crankcase.
The car was ultimately finished in 2009 and the engine first turned over in October of that year. Another fabulous quote from Davis’ book is from a friend of the current owner who was a passenger in the car for its first outing. “. . . we manoeuvred the Grand Sport onto the grassed courtyard. A couple of pumps of the Ki- gas, Bosch magneto switched on, a single press of the starter button and, without hesitation, the engine burst into life. My first impression was that it ran as smoothly as a Swiss watch, it had a pleasant and legal exhaust note that was far quieter than I expected a grand prix engine to be. Obviously, this indicates the precision of its assembly. The engine did not appear to have any oil or water leaks so the owner asked if I would like to be his first passenger. Naturally, I leapt at the chance. On the road I can honestly say I found the T43 to be very comfortable. The owner carefully increased the speed to the sign posted 100 km/hr and I was able to judge by the revs that it had in reserve that there’s no doubt it would exceed the real ton.”
The car has been used on a few rallies, but travelled less than 1,000 miles since it was restored. As such, it still presents as a recently restored car. It was also displayed at Motorclassica in 2015 to celebrate 50 years of the Bugatti Car Club in Australia.
Oldtimer Australia is excited to offer a unique opportunity to acquire a well-known supercharged Bugatti in Australia. The photos do tell the story . . . the car is stunning.
- Fascinating history and well documented by noted Bugatti historian, Bob King, in his two books and also by respected veteran motoring journalist Pedr Davis in his Bugatti Club book.
- Thick history / restoration file, including many photos of the restoration.
- Owned and restored by a well-known and respected Bugattisti in Australia.
- A beautifully presented car that needs to find a new owner to create its future history.
- Bugatti Type 30 / Type 43