If you are really unimaginably wealthy, you could buy a brand-new Bugatti for upwards of £2.5million. Seriously, there are still some Chirons up for grabs. Or you could buy this – an old, arguably much cooler, battle-scarred Bugatti that once finished third at the Monaco Grand Prix and was later owned by an actual King.
Yup – this Type 59 was campaigned by Bugatti’s works Grand Prix team in 1934 and 1935. Mainly driven by René Dreyfus, it finished on the podium in Monaco and won the Belgian GP at Spa outright before it was retired. Then Bugatti took it sportscar racing, having removed the supercharger from the 3.3-litre eight-cylinder engine, fitted a dry sump gearbox and played around with the chassis and bodywork.
It won many things. Then, in 1938, it was retired for good and sold to one of Bugatti’s most important customers – King Leopold III of Belgium. Since then it’s had four owners, and thankfully each one has resisted the temptation to send it away for a full restoration.
Auctioneer Gooding & Co says it’s possibly the “most important, original and coveted of all competition Bugattis”, and ought to go for more than £10million when it crosses the block in London in April. That’s… a lot of money.
STORY Tom Harrison