Grand Prix car of 1931; developed in response to the trend towards larger engines for longer race courses, the Bugatti Type 54 was the powerful and heavy race car with twin overhead cam, supercharger and 4.9 liter engine that developed 50 percent more horsepower than any previous Bugatti Gran Prix car.
Intended to serve as a replacement for the successful Type 35, only 4 or 5 example of the Type 54 were created. Now, one well-known example of the ex-works Bugatti Type 54 that actually raced at Monza on 6th September 1931 in the hands of Achille Varzi will be the highlight of the Bonhams Paris 2013 auction scheduled to be held on February 7th during Retromobile collector-car festivities in Paris, and is expected to fetch $3.2 million to $4.4 million. However, we have also earlier seen that Lord Raglan's cherished Bugatti Type 51 was sold at Bonhams' Paris sale of Motor Cars on February 5, 2011.
This Bugatti race car which was driven by Achille Varzi at the event IV Gran Premio Di Monza, was the first race car for the then-new Type 54s, which were the largest capacity Bugatti Grand Prix race cars ever produced. The Type 54’s 4.9 liter, twin overhead cam, supercharged 8-cylinder engines actually generated an astounding 300 Hp and gave the cars the top speed of about 150 mph.
Historically, during preliminary heats the Type 54s performed well, with racer Achille Varzi finishing first and fellow Bugatti driver Louis Chiron second. However, in the main race, two flat tires slowed the speed of Varzi, who then happened to finish third. Still, Achille Varzi was able to set the fastest lap time, that too at 102 mph of average speed.
Notably, at the Goodwood Revival meeting in Chichester, UK on 13th to 15th September 2012, the Bugatti Type 54 will also be in action again, propr to its return to France in February.
Also, we have earlier seen the sale of 1925 Bugatti Type 35B which is deemed to be most beautiful racing car for $692,789, the rare 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic which was reportedly sold for $30 to $40 million to become the most expensive Bugatti, and the rare 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Coupé which was expected to grab as much as $6.2 million, besides Jean Bugatti’s unfinished 1939 Type 64 Coupe masterpiece which recently went on display at Quail Motorsports.
Courtesy Lorre White
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