Sold for $2,323,381 at 2005 Bonhams
This Bugatti Type 59 is the first of the four Type 59s supplied to private British owners in 1935 by the Molsheim Bugatti factory. As a Bugatti works team car it was entered in the 1933 Spanish Grand Prix at San Sebastian, driven by Rene Dreyfus, and later the 1934 Monaco Grand Prix, driven by Robert Benoist. During the 1935 race season, it was driven by its new owner, Charlie Martin, at both Brooklands and the Isle of Man, as well as the Marne Grand Prix at Reims. In 1936, the car was driven by John Fitzroy, the 9th Duke of Grafton, in the Limerick Grand Prix in Ireland. It was later acquired by Arthur Baron, who rebuilt the car and fitted a pre-selector gearbox for speed trials and hill climbs. Post war, the car was campaigned by George Abecassis (of HWM car fame) and amateur driver Kenneth Bear before spending 56 years with Bear's mechanic, E.A. Stafford East. From 2016 to 2018 a fresh restoration was carried out and its original engine was found and installed. Today the car is presented with its dark green livery and pale blue tail band as driven by Charlie Martin in the Junior Car Club International Trophy Race at Brooklands in 1935.