Prestigious European Classics, Including Exceptional 1933 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster, at Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach Auctions
Image: 1933 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster (Estimate: $8,000,000 – $10,000,000) Photo copyright and courtesy of Gooding & Company. Image by Brian Henniker
A selection of highly desirable concours-quality offerings from Europe’s finest automakers, including Bugatti, Bentley, Alfa Romeo, and Peugeot, to cross the auction block at Pebble Beach next month.
Gooding & Company has announced additional consignments to its much anticipated Pebble Beach Auctions next month, including a highly sought-after 1933 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster. As the official auction house of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance® for the 19th year, Gooding & Company will host its signature live auctions on Friday, August 18 and Saturday, August 19. Interested parties can bid on these Classic and postwar offerings, along with the rest of the extensive catalogue, via live, online, mobile, and telephone bidding.
"Collectors are always in search of exceptional classics to enter into the most prestigious international concours d'elegance, and these outstanding, stylish, prewar and coachbuilt European cars are all tickets to the very best events in the world," said David Brynan, Gooding & Company Senior Specialist. "These exclusive, limited production and one-off cars are candidates for top awards at events like Pebble Beach, Hampton Court, Amelia Island, and Villa d'Este. The Type 55 Roadster, in particular, is especially desirable, as it is among the best examples of an extremely exclusive Bugatti, suitable for both concours d'elegance and driving events like the 1000 Miglia, to which it has been accepted for 2024. The upcoming event is quite fitting for this car, which served as both a motor show display and a competition car in-period."
1933 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster (Estimate: $8,000,000 – $10,000,000)
Unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in October 1931, Jean Bugatti’s Type 55 was an ultra-high-performance machine, capable of reaching a top speed in excess of 110 mph. The model was the spiritual successor to the Type 43 Grand Sport, a road-going Grand Prix car combining the mechanics of the Type 35B with sporting coachwork. Between 1931 and 1936, Bugatti built 38 examples of the Type 55, and of these, only 14 were originally fashioned with Jean Bugatti’s sublime roadster bodywork, such as the example on offer here. Of the 13 surviving roadsters today, just seven are understood to retain their original coachwork and matching-numbers mechanical components, making these precious few Jean Bugatti Roadsters among the most exclusive road-going Bugattis, far more rare than even the Type 57S Atalante.
According to factory records, this Type 55, chassis 55231, was completed in March 1933 and originally equipped with engine no. 32. Upon completion, it was exhibited on Henri Sagnier’s Bugatti and Talbot stand at the inaugural Foire d’Alger, a major national trade fair held in Algiers. 55231 was then sent to its first private owner, Juvénal Emile Jarron, the son of prominent Algerian doctor Juvénal Constant Jarron. In March 1935, Sagnier’s son Valentin entered Jarron’s Type 55 in the Bouzaréa Hill Climb organized by the Province of Algiers Automobile Club, where it was driven to an overwhelming victory.
After 1937, the Type 55 passed through the hands of several local owners, remaining in Algeria throughout WWII. The Type 55 would eventually end up in the ownership of Swiss mechanic Alexis Post and was later owned by Bernard Viallon, who recommissioned the Type 55 in the late 1950s, carrying out much of the work himself. Viallon sourced parts directly from the Bugatti factory in Molsheim, and once finished, drove it until 1960, when it entered a long period of on-and-off restoration. This work was not completed until March 1986, when the Type 55 was prepared to join the growing world-class car collection of American designer Ralph Lauren. 55231 was shipped to marque specialist Crosthwaite & Gardiner of England, where it was thoroughly restored and refinished in black with dark blue coves. The roadster remained with Mr. Lauren until 2003, when it was sold to UK collector William Ainscough. In 2005, it changed hands to Dutch connoisseur Ton Meijer, who commissioned a mechanical restoration performed by Laurent Rondoni’s esteemed Ventoux Moteurs Engineering. Once finished, 55231 was shown at Villa d’Este and Pebble Beach, and was also exhibited on Bugatti’s stand at the 2007 Geneva Motor Show. Once it made its way to the ownership of Henri Chambon, the Type 55 was repainted in its original black and yellow color scheme, and inspected by two of the leading Bugatti historians, Pierre-Yves Laugier and Mark Morris. Both historians concluded that this Type 55 retains its original chassis frame, engine, gearbox, rear end, and coachwork, ranking this example among the very best of this exceptionally rare breed of Bugatti. The next owner will also be pleased to find that this vehicle has a combined acceptance to two upcoming 1000 Miglia events, the Warm Up USA Event in November 2023, and the world-renowned 1000 Miglia in 2024, subject to registration and entry fee.
1930 Bentley Speed Six Sports Saloon (Estimate: $2,250,000 – $2,750,000)
With the introduction of the Speed Six, Bentley promised speed, comfort, and reliability, instilling a level of driver confidence unmatched by its competitors of the day. A total of 182 Speed Six examples were built during its two-year production run, with three chassis lengths available to accommodate running coachwork ranging from Le Mans tourers to formal saloons. Initially built for Bentley stock, the 1930 Bentley Speed Six Sports Saloon offered here, chassis LR2778, was handsomely bodied with H.J. Mulliner coachwork, and fitted with a fixed-head coupe design. When new, it was delivered to London dealer Jack Barclay and sold by Duff Morgan Ltd. to its first owner, Sawai Man Singh II, Maharaja of Jaipur, India. It remained in India until 1937, when it returned to England to join the collection of Dennis Becker of London. Throughout the decades, the Becker family enjoyed the car on many travels, including a 1950 European tour. LR2778 would remain with the Beckers until 1974, when it was purchased by Ian Finlator, who kept it for nearly another 30 years. Mr. Finlator participated in various events with the Speed Six, including the 1985 Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique and the 1994 opening of the English Channel Tunnel, where the car served as the British automotive representative.
The Speed Six passed through several hands before making its way to the collection of the current owner in 2010. The consignor embarked on an exhaustive restoration of the car, beginning with extensive documentation provided by Bentley authority Dr. Clare Hay. The work was carried out by Vintage Bentley specialist Graham Moss of R.C. Moss, who restored the Speed Six to its exacting original specifications. LR2778 made its post-restoration debut at the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, where it was honored with three awards, including a Second in Class win, the Montagu of Beaulieu Award for the most significant British car, and the J.B. & Dorothy Nethercutt Award for Most Elegant Closed Car. This historically significant and meticulously studied Vintage Bentley comes equipped with its original chassis, engine, and coachwork, truly making it a car fit for the most sophisticated collector.
1958 Bentley S1 Continental Drophead Coupe (Estimate: $1,600,000 – $2,000,000)
Introduced in 1955, the Bentley S-Type followed the successful R-Type, incorporating significant improvements such as a longer wheelbase, electrically adjustable rear shock absorbers, lighter steering, better braking, and a four-speed automatic transmission. A total of 3,072 S1 examples were built through 1959, and of these, less than 5% were equipped with custom coachwork. Of these, just 431 were built as high-performance Continental models, utilizing lighter-weight aluminum coachwork, predominantly by Park Ward Ltd., James Young, H.J. Mulliner, and Freestone & Webb. Just 94 of these examples were drophead coupes, the ultimate Bentley S1 Continental body style.
The 1958 Bentley S1 Continental offered chassis BC42LDJ, is a left-hand-drive drophead coupe bodied by Park Ward Ltd., and is one of just 31 examples built in this particular configuration. It is also believed to be one of just three fitted from new with both power steering and a powered soft top. Upon completion, the S1 Continental was displayed at the 1958 Amsterdam International Motor Show before being delivered to its first owner, Mme. S. Mayne of Brussels, Belgium. It remained overseas until 2005, when it was imported into the US for noted collector Arturo Keller by Rolls-Royce and Bentley specialist Vantage Motorworks. Tim Montgomery acquired the Bentley from Vantage Motorworks in 2009, with documentation on file indicating extensive work had been completed, including: new paint and plating, an engine rebuild, and subsequent engine work. BC42LDJ was acquired by the consignor in 2014, and has since been carefully maintained and regularly exercised by his team of in-house technicians. Presented beautifully in its original shade of Steel Blue, this S1 Continental Drophead Coupe is the ultimate mid-century open British luxury car.
1937 Alfa Romeo 6C 2300B Turismo Cabriolet (Estimate: $1,250,000 – $1,500,000)
The 6C 2300 was engineered by Alfa Romeo’s brilliant Vittorio Jano, featuring a 2.3-liter twin-cam inline six engine. In 1935, Alfa Romeo debuted the 6C 2300 “B” series, boasting a completely redesigned chassis with independent suspension front and rear, hydraulic brakes, and an improved gearbox. The 6C 2300B was offered in three iterations: the long chassis (Turismo/Lungo), the short chassis (Corto), and the high-performance short chassis (Pescara/Mille Miglia). In total, Alfa Romeo built fewer than 900 examples of the 6C 2300B through 1938. The 1937 6C 2300B offered here, chassis 814047, is an example of the first-series, long-chassis model known as the Turismo, of which 81 cars were built in 1936 and 1937. Featuring coachwork by Carrozzeria Pinin Farina of Torino, this chassis was fashioned with a one-of-a-kind Cabriolet body penned by Count Mario Revelli di Beaumont, widely regarded as one of the most influential Italian designers of his time. This Pinin Farina Cabriolet features a streamlined front end with bullet-shape headlamps and the designer’s signature “bow” nose, emphasizing its aerodynamic design. Upon completion, the Cabriolet was photographed and illustrated in the February 28, 1938 issue of L’Auto Italiana, and debuted at the 1938 International Auto Show in Berlin. Owned by various European collectors, the Cabriolet resided in Switzerland for most of its life before relocating to France in the 1990s. In 1996, it was acquired by one of Italy’s foremost Alfa Romeo collectors, Dott. Luca Savoia, who had it restored and returned to its handsome original color scheme of burgundy with red leather upholstery and a tan soft top. This one-off Pinin Farina-bodied Alfa Romeo Cabriolet of great style and distinction has never been exhibited in the US, making it an ideal entrant into the most prestigious concours events.
1938 Peugeot 402 Darl’mat Special Sport Competition Roadster (Estimate: $1,100,000 – $1,300,000)
Emile Darl’mat made a name for himself when he cemented a working relationship with noted designer Georges Paulin and coachbuilder Marcel Pourtout in the development of the Eclipse, a Peugeot equipped with the first technically retractable hardtop. Driven by a desire to elevate the Peugeot brand, Darl’mat became so respected that the factory gave him access and resources to create his own Peugeot sports car. Thus, Darl’mat birthed one of the most enigmatic Art Deco-styled sports cars of all time. The resulting 402 prototype was shown at the Paris Motor Show in 1936, and several Darl’mat roadsters competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1937 and 1938. A total of 104 Darl’mats were built in coupe, convertible, roadster, or competition roadster styles between January 1937 and June 1938, and today, about 30 remain. The Darl’mat Special Sport Competition Roadster offered here, chassis 400248, was built for young British racer Dorothy Patten and her affluent German fiancé, Baron Rainer von Dorndorf. Patten ordered her alloy-bodied 402 Competition Roadster in September 1938, finished in light blue. Intended for driving in the UK, 400248 is one of the very few examples built in right-hand drive. It also has doors, which most other racing Darl’mats do not possess. Patten raced the Darl’mat in the 1939 season, charming the English and French press in the process. In more recent years, the Darl’mat was purchased by the consignor in 2017, and it was soon entrusted to restorer and historian David Cooper of Bristol, Wisconsin. The Peugeot was thoroughly researched and returned to its configuration as raced by Patten in 1939: an original set of competition-specification brakes were found and reinstalled, and the coachwork’s stunning shade of blue was faithfully reproduced. This gorgeous, classic sports car embodies the tale of Dorothy Patten’s most fascinating years as a racer, and exudes the genius marriage of Darl’mat’s creative innovation and a remarkable chapter in Peugeot’s early motor sport history.
Alongside these offerings, the Pebble Beach Auctions will present a sporting 1927 Bentley 6 1/2 Litre Tourer (Estimate: $900,000 – $1,200,000) and a bespoke 1932 Bugatti Type 49 Roadster (Estimate: $900,000 – $1,200,000) featuring one-off coachwork by Henri Labourdette. A rare 1928 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A S Landaulet (Estimate: $500,000 – $700,000) with multiple CCCA First Place Awards and two Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance® Class Awards will also be on offer.
Pebble Beach Auctions
Dates: Friday, August 18, at 5 p.m. PDT, and Saturday, August 19, at 11 a.m. PDT
Location: Pebble Beach Parc du Concours
Public Preview: Wednesday, August 16 through Saturday, August 19
Auction Catalogues: $120, includes admission for two to the viewing and the auction
General Admission: $50, includes admission for one to the viewing and the auction
Bidder Registration: www.goodingco.com/register
Live Auction Broadcast: www.goodingco.com
Twitter: @goodingandco #GoodingPebble
Instagram: @goodingandcompany #GoodingPebble