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 Post subject: This site amazes me. Chapter 2
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 5:16 pm 
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I was searching through WIKI looking for any info on the recently auctioned T51 Reg. 4799 NV1, when I found 51132, and there it was, the car's entire history up to and including the auction I mentioned, and I did not know it did not sell, either.

It really is quite remarkable the level of detail available totally free of charge. To all those who work so hard and so diligently to keep the rest of us informed, from the bottom of my hart - Thank You.

Just a quick couple of questions, if you don't mind :

1) When was the outside exhaust fitted?
2) Apart from the paint and upholstery, is everything else original?
3) Is the Ralph Stein mentioned, the same guy who wrote, amongst others, "The Greatest Cars" ?
4) Any thoughts on why it didn't sell?

Thanks
Johan


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 5:48 pm 
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For your help :

Catalogue Description :

The Bugatti Factory Works, Vanderbilt Cup-Racing

1931 Bugatti Type 51 Grand Prix

Chassis No. 51132

Engine No. 15

* Road-Registered Supercharged Grand Prix Racer
* Well-Documented History
* Genuine Factory Works Grand Prix Car
* Oran Grand Prix Winner
* Vanderbilt Cup Racer
* Remarkably Original And Complete
* Frame No. 732

* 2.3-Liter Straight Eight-Cylinder Dual Overhead Cam Engine
* Roots-Type Supercharger
* 160 BHP
* Ladder-Frame Chassis
* 4-Speed Transmission
* Rear-Wheel Drive
* Leaf-Spring Suspension
* 4-Wheel Mechanical Drum Brakes


Chassis No. 51132, fitted with Engine No. 15, originally began life as a Type 35B (Chassis No. 4961), which formed part of the four-car Bugatti works team in the 1930 Targo Floria, three of which managed to complete the grueling race. Later in the same year, the car was one of three works Bugattis entered for the Grand Prix of Europe at Spa. Because this race was run to a fuel-consumption formula, the three cars were converted to two-liter Type 35C specification and fitted with bolster fuel tanks and smaller superchargers. Chassis 4961, with race number 8 and driven by Guy Bouriat, led to the finishing line before stopping – to boos and jeers from the crowd – to allow team leader Chiron, under team orders, to pass and take the win, and thereby become 1930 Champion of Europe. Following the Grand Prix this Bugatti underwent conversion to the new Type 51 specification along with Chassis No. 4962, Chiron’s winning car that became Chassis No. 51133. Unfortunately, this process was more complex than Bugatti had envisaged, and the car was not completed in time for it to compete in the French Grand Prix as originally planned. After the conversion was finally completed in June 1931, the car was renumbered as 51132, registered for road use by the factory, and was used throughout the year as a works practice car. The car was then supplied in December of the same year to French racing driver Jean-Pierre Wimille for a total price of 140,000 francs. Wimille had made his Grand Prix debut only a year beforehand, driving a Bugatti 37A at the 1930 French Grand Prix in Pau at the young age of 22. Wimille would later go on to become one of France’s most celebrated racing drivers, competing in illustrious events such as the Le Mans 24 Hours and winning numerous Grand Prix victories, as well as becoming a prominent member of the French Resistance during WWII. Following the Nazi occupation, Wimille and fellow Grand Prix race drivers Robert Benoist and William Grover-Williams joined the Special Operations as Executive of the French Resistance. Of the three, Wimille was the only one to survive. During the 1932 racing season, Wimille competed extensively in the car, winning the Oran Grand Prix in Algeria on May 2nd. Four years later, in 1936, the car was imported to the US by Bradley Martin, who also owned Wimille’s Type 59/50, and entered by McClure Halley for Texan Dave Evans to drive in the inaugural George Vanderbilt Cup, a race spanning a total distance of 300 miles held on New York’s Long Island on October 12th. This race was initially highly controversial, with many New York politicians and public figures campaigning for the event to be banned, but the event prevailed. Qualifying 36th from 45, Evans drove a respectable race to finish 14th–not bad for a race car that had run its first race five years earlier. To many, the 1936 Vanderbilt Cup was the first major trophy in American motor racing. Chassis No. 51132 still retains the outside exhaust system from this race, which reportedly saved one second per lap. The car was later sold with a damaged engine to the famous American motoring author Ralph Stein, who had Molsheim replace the damaged section of the crankshaft, only for the same rod to emerge again through the crankcase in 1940, after which he sold the car to a George Weaver. While under his ownership, Weaver installed either a Frontenac or a Peerless Marine engine. The car was featured in the March 1947 issue of Bugantics, the Bugatti Owners Club quarterly magazine. By April 1953, when the register in the 1954 Bugatti Book by Eaglesfield and Hampton closed for press, ownership of the car had passed to David Uihlein of Milwaukee, who quoted its engine as being a 2.9-liter 16-valve OHC Frontenac. Later, the car was recorded in Hugh Conway’s 1962 Bugatti Register in the ownership of Thomas Rosenberger of Wisconsin, who remained the registered owner of the car until 1979, when he reported the car as being engineless. It later passed into the ownership of Paul Moser of Santa Barbara, California, from whom it was then purchased in 1985 by Klaus Werner of Germany. Werner later reunited the car with its original engine, after it was rebuilt using genuine Molsheim parts by Californian, Bugatti specialist and lifelong enthusiast O.A. “Bunny” Phillips, a man who had raced against this same car 23 years earlier at the 1936 Vanderbilt Cup. After the engine was reunited with its chassis, Werner successfully competed with the car in a number of historic European racing events before selling it in the early 1990s. David Sewell’s report states that Chassis No. 51132 is “a remarkably complete and original car,” and there is no doubt as to the authenticity of its chassis frame, front axle, gearbox and coachwork. All original identifying numbers are correct and matching. All other chassis components, cross-members, radiator, bulkhead, etc., are original parts. Given the rigors of competition and the stress and wear it creates in racing cars, it is rare to find a car that has survived unscathed. To find a car of this caliber, with this provenance and in this condition is truly extraordinary; and accordingly, it ranks amongst the finest surviving examples of the highly desirable Type 51 Grand Prix Bugatti.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 6:10 pm 
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Wow! Thanks a lot.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 6:49 pm 
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#51132:

Image


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 Post subject: 51132
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 7:22 am 
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Yes, it sold, 2.800.000 USD. Buyer is far eastern. Not sure if the car goes there of not. A good car that got a rumor pounding from the car mafia before the sale, undeserving. Would have sold my horses to get that one, all ready to go.


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 Post subject: Frame 732, chassis 51132
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 7:30 am 
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Must be the latest frame on a T51 that I know, 732. Does anyone know a later frame number that this? Very interesting T51 with a great history, should be considered one of the better and important cars out there.
Will anyone give their opinion on the finest T51 in existance today? Considering across the board in history and originality? :roll:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 9:06 am 
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Are You sure it was sold because Gooding & Co said no ??

See here : Lot #125 :

http://www.barchetta.cc/All.Ferraris/ev ... index.html

and http://www.goodingco.com/auctions/resul ... alized.pdf

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[Antoine de Saint-Exupéry]


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 9:10 am 
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Onebugatti's post strikes a nerve with me, according to Conway less than 20 T51's survive with all major components intact. What about if I start with 2 or 3 of these cars at a time, then we have a discussion about their history, provenance and originality, and update WIKI accordingly?

Let me do a trail run tonight, let's see what happens. Perhaps by concentrating on the few original survivors, the ones omitted from the thread can provide their own form of clarity. Besides, I love learning more about the T51. I think it has something to do with there being only 40 of them, of which 60 survive!

Till tonight then.
Johan

PS. Scuderia, your reply just goes to prove how elusive the facts can be. Thanks.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 10:13 am 
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Urges the next book by Pierre-Yves Laugier on the Bugatti Type 51 which will enlighten us a little more. Too bad for me because I could certainly do not buy it because of its price, which could still be fatal for me.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 10:40 am 
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Ah yes, Pierre-Yves Laugier. Probably the Greatest Living Historian/Author, and the price of his work reflect this. I don't care what sacrifices I have to make, I must have his work on the T51. From what I understand his next work, on the T55, is nearing completion, which will be followed by the T50.

Probably a good thing I am a confirmed bachelor, otherwise I could never justify spending so lavishly on books. My brother tells me that raising children is even more expensive. Fortunate indeed are those who can afford children, Bugattis and books. As for me, I've got books. I am blessed indeed.

Life is Beautiful.
Johan


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 Post subject: 51132, not sold
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 11:45 am 
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Sorry, I misunderstood the information I had. The Bugatti, 51132 was a no sale after it was BID up to 2.800.000 USD by a far eastern wanna-be buyer. That sum bid was unacceptable to the owner - bravo for the owner, he is a true believer in 51132.


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 Post subject: Good nerve, or toothache
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 11:54 am 
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I've got a copy of Hugh's notes on the T51's, it is an interesting summary of all and every car, and each component number. As you post two of three, and if you keep them separate , I will add what I have. Of course the frame numbers are not subject to those records, and wonder if Laugier will publish them as they are regarded as ''Holy Grail'' in the elite Bugatti circles.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 1:14 pm 
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Laugier's book on the T57S features photographs of most of the numbered components for each of the surviving cars. Some, like the 2 Atlantics and most of the 17 Atalantas also feature photos of the body numbers. Most of the T57S' are, however, still largely intact as few of them were raced in period. The T51, on the other hand was designed as a pure racer and from what I understand component swapping was not only common, but keeping accurate records of these changes was hardly ever done.

Seen against this background it speaks volumes for the tenacity of Bugatti owners and/or historians that so much is known already. Which is why I think it might be fun to get as much info about the T51 now, so when the Laugier work is published we can all slap our fore-heads and go : "Of course! Why didn't I think of that?"

Before I got Laugier's T57S work (And before I discovered this forum, truth be told) I was diligently compiling a list of them all, but realised that I must have got quite a few wrong when I ended up with notations on 48 separate cars! The first book I collected was actually Bernard Simon's work on the T57S, then Laugier's one followed. I couldn't find the English language translation anywhere, until I stumbled onto this Forum on the 27th of September 2007; by the 28th a regular contributor, who has since become a good friend, had e-mailed me a copy of the translation. It is this act of generosity which inspired me to share everything about Bugattis I know. What is unexpected is how much I in turn learn from others' passions.

The T35/51 never really interested me until I started reading Michael Muller's exquisitely detailed posts. His great and obvious passion for Ettore's racers truly inspired me. I think like most amateur historians, I am attracted to the more limited production cars for the simple reason that I find it easier to build up a complete record of these. (I suffer from 'complete-ism' - is that a word?) I started with the Royale, then the T59, followed by the T57S. Thanks to The Bugatti Trust's Photo Gallery this was followed by the T55 (Their T50 album lacks sufficient chassis numbers though) and thanks to the combination of Hugh Conway and Michael Muller, the T51 is my latest project.

Sometimes I miss the days when just looking at the pictures was enjoyment enough. Searching for Bugatti component numbers is a surprisingly addictive pastime.

Regards
Johan


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 Post subject: Re: Good nerve, or toothache
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 2:02 pm 
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onebugatti wrote:
As you post two of three, and if you keep them separate , I will add what I have.

may I start..?

#51134 8)

http://www.bugattibuilder.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=740


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 Post subject: 51132
PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 8:48 pm 
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The outside exhaust was fitted by Zumbach for owner McClure Halley in early 1935. The engine and chassis numbers are not stamped on the crankcase leg and the upper crankcase shows no evidence of the two or three "legs out of bed" it is known to have thrown in its prewar US history. It is now thought that perhaps both crankcases are Factory replacements, but the lack of chassis and engine numbers on the crankcase leg is a mystery. The camboxes are correctly numbered (15). The rear axle is no. 12 ex-51141, possibly substituted at Molsheim in the period (51142 was "burnt out at Montlhery" according to Conway), although the only time Halley raced the car, at the June 23, 1935 ARCA GP of the USA at Briarcliff Manor, NY, he broke the right rear wheel and bent the rear axle. It is just possible he arranged a replacement from Molsheim, but we will likely never know. Gearbox is correct no. 13.
Yes, it is the same Ralph Stein.
Rumor has it that the reserve was $3 mil.
There are a few gaps in the catalog history...Stein sold the car to a gent named Bill Schmidlapp who in turn sold it to Lou McMillen who was responsible for installing the Peerless marine engine, previously fitted to a pseudo-Bugatti special he had raced in the ARCA. McMillen sold it to George Weaver.


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