A fully documented 1933 Bugatti Type 51 Grand Prix formerly owned by collector extraordinaire Peter Mullin will go under the hammer at RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island Sale 8-9 March 2019.
This particular striking example of Bugatti’s dual-overhead cam classic was also one of four cars used by the 1933 factory team of Varzi, Dreyfus, and Williams, making it one of the most desirable Bugatti’s around.
The Bugatti Type 51 was first introduced way back in 1931 and stepped into the company’s much revered two-seat race car design that originated with the much loved Type 35.
Ettore Bugatti utilised the engine structure he jesuitically licensed from Harry Miller’s Indianapolis racing car stable and made good use of the now well known dual-overhead cam version of the supercharged straight-eight.
Chassis no. 51153 was recorded as the first in a batch of 5 Type 51s, and subsequently given the works treatment, which included engine strip-down and axle rebuilding in preparation of for the 1933 racing season.
Independence day 1933 saw the Type 51 registered to Automobiles Ettore Bugatti of Molsheim, used as a race-test car for approximately nine months.
Sotherby’s report that the the Bugatti was also entered at various events in northern England over the next two years, setting a best time at Shelsley Walsh during two appearances, racing Prescott three times, and Brighton once.
In early August 1947 the car set a course record of 14.8 seconds at the Hartlepool quarter-mile sprint. Through 1949 additional modifications were undertaken that included the installation of an ENV pre-selector gearbox, Newton telescopic shock absorbers, externally actuated Lockheed hydraulic brakes, and dual external exhaust pipes. Racing at sprints at Weston-super-Mare and Queensbury, Arnold also experimented with a two-stage supercharger from a Type 50.
Provenance of the highest level, including being used by the legendary Works team of Varzi, Dreyfus, and Williams, makes this beautifully prepared Type 51 a collectors dream. The vintage classic also comes with a FIVA passport and is correctly equipped with proper factory mechanical components and is eligible for the finest vintage racing events worldwide.
Anyone interested in this remarkable Bugatti can see it via this link.