Lot 18

1927 Bugatti Type 40 ‘Break de Chasse’

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Estimate

$100,000 - $150,000| Without Reserve

Chassis

40485

Engine

714 (see text)

Car Highlights

A Distinctive, One-of-a-Kind Example of the Popular Bugatti Type 40

Formerly Part of the Famed John Shakespeare and Schlumpf Reserve Collections

History Documented in the American Bugatti Register and Data Book

Introduced in 1926, the Type 40 served as Bugatti’s entry-level model through 1930. Its chassis was an evolution of the Type 23 Brescia, its 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine was virtually identical to the Type 37 Grand Prix, and it shared its gearbox, brakes, axles, and steering components with the contemporary Type 38. In all, just 796 examples were produced in a variety of body styles, ranging from racy Grand Sports to formal Fiacre-styled coupes.

The rolling chassis of this Type 40, no. 40485, was produced in June 1927 and equipped with engine no. 393. It was originally bodied by Carrosserie Gangloff in a style described as Conduite Intérieure, which typically refers to a close-coupled saloon.

The Bugatti was ordered and delivered on December 2, 1927, to Fernand Huck, director of the Société Franco Suisse de Navigation in Strasbourg, France. During the 1930s or 1940s, the Type 40 was converted to the distinctive, wooden Break de Chasse or “shooting break” body it wears today and was fitted with engine no. 714, which had been originally installed in another Type 40, chassis 40826. Other period modifications include Houdaille front shock absorbers and rear De Carbon telescopic shock absorbers.

The car passed through several French owners in Vosges, Nancy, and Strasbourg, until 1958, when it was sold to famed Belgian Bugatti dealer Jean De Dobbeleer. Later that year De Dobbeleer sold the Type 40 to American Bugatti enthusiast Lyman Greenlee of Anderson, Indiana, who, in turn, sold it to Illinois-based sportsman and car collector John Shakespeare.

Mr. Shakespeare’s Bugatti collection was made famous when it was sold as a package to Fritz Schlumpf in 1964. Bob Shaw, an American Bugatti specialist hired by Schlumpf to describe each car to him, reported the following of 40485: “The body is painted blue and is quite sound. The wooden panels are in excellent shape. The upholstery is some type of hardboard. The engine compartment is very original, and the car has a Cotal gearbox.” Several photos of this Type 40 are featured in the September 1964 issue of Motor Trend magazine, which included an article on the Shakespeare-to-Schlumpf sale titled “Bugattis on the Move.”

For decades, this Type 40 was a fixture in the famous Schlumpf Reserve Collection, which was housed in a storage shed in Malmerspach, France. When the Mullin Collection acquired the entire Schlumpf Reserve Collection in 2008, the unrestored Type 40 was relocated to California, where it has continued to serve as a featured exhibit at the Mullin Automotive Museum.

Featured in Barrie Price’s Bugatti Type 40, Charles Fawcett’s The Bugattis of Jean De Dobbeleer, and documented in recent editions of the American Bugatti Register and Data Book, chassis 40485 is a fascinating, one-of-a-kind example of a popular Bugatti model.

*Please note that all of the Lots in this Auction have been in long-term static storage at the Mullin Automotive Museum and may not be currently operational. They will require mechanical attention and in some cases significant restoration prior to any road use.

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