This 1935 Bugatti could top €1-million at Paris sale
Type 57T raced by Earl Howe and the tragic Pierre Levegh will be offered at the Bonhams Rétromobile sale in February
This 1935 Type 57T, one of the most important racing Bugattis in existence, will be offered by Bonhams at its Grandes Marques du Monde au Grand Palais sale in Paris on 8 February.
It's estimated that it will fetch between €780,000 and $1,300,000 (£690,000-1,200,000 or $953,500-1,590,000) due to its condition and provenance.
The Bugatti was specially built for the influential British racing driver Earl Howe, who started his career late, making his serious racing debut at the age of 44 when he took to the wheel of a Bugatti T43, before progressing to his first GP at Monaco in 1931. This car made its debut at the Ulster TT race in 1935 (above) with Howe at the wheel.
After a short time in the UK, the Type 57T was moved to Paris and bought by young French racing driver Pierre Bouillin, better known as Pierre Levegh after he changed his name to emulate his motor-racing uncle. Constructed with a Duralumin body, the Bugatti is extremely light for its size and type, weighing just 26cwt including the driver, fuel and water.
Levegh's racing career was looking promising but sadly it was infamously cut short in 1955 at Le Mans. His Mercedes was thrown in to the air after Hawthorn and Macklin were forced to swerve quickly, and landed in the crowd, killing 83 and injuring more than 180 in what remains one of the worst accidents in motorsport history.
The Bugatti was Levegh's first sports car and he made his first appearance with it at the May 1937 Grand Prix des Frontières road race at Chimay in Belgium. Two months later, he competed in it at the Marseille 3-hours race.
Levegh sold the car in 1938, and it moved to Australia where it was bought by Duncan Ord, who raced the Bugatti at Pingelly on January 1939 – its third international racing appearance.
The car has been with its current owner in Australia since 1958, where it underwent a gradual restorations with a high level of original detail. Leading Bugatti expert Pierre Yves Laugier regards it as one of the finest Bugattis around.
Philip Kantor, Head of European Motor Cars at Bonhams said: 'It is an honour to be offering the Bugatti Type 57T at Grand Palais – its originality and great provenance from Earl Howe to Pierre Levegh, will surely make it one of the most sought-after lots in Paris.'
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