A magnificent 1932 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster– one of the most important sports cars of Bugatti’s golden era – was the star lot in the Bonhams Grand Palais Sale, selling for an impressive €4,600,000 – the most valuable lot across all the collectors’ motor car sales taking place in Paris this week.
Bonhams’ first European auction of the year realised a total of €20 million (€19,693,000), its best ever result in its Grand Palais location.
The rare example (one of only 29 surviving) of a early French supercar was the subject of much pre-sale attention, being its very first appearance at auction, following an incredible 56 years in the ownership of renowned British Bugatti connoisseur, the late Geoffrey St John, and lately of his niece, Dr Alissar McCreary.
In the palatial Parisian saleroom, it was the subject of a serious yet spirited three-way bidding battle in the room before being sold to a Swiss Bugatti collector, whose final bid earned applause from the room.
Philip Kantor, Bonhams Director European Board, said: “We were extremely proud to have been entrusted with this exceptional and historic sportscar. It presented a once in a lifetime opportunity to buy one of the most important examples of the golden age of automotive craftsmanship and performance and we are thrilled for both Dr McCreary and for the new owner.”
In its early life, the Bugatti was raced at Le Mans by two of the era’s greats, Louis Chiron and Count Guy Bouriat-Quintart, before being reconfigured by celebrated Parisian automotive designer Giuseppe Figoni, who created its unique coachwork. In its new guise, it became the overall winner of the 1933 Paris-Nice rally, with its second owner, French publisher Jacques Dupuy.Photos’s courtesy Bonhams