"If I don't believe in solipsism, who will?" - Al Batt

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Ya See the Damnest Things

I live in a small jerkwater town. It isn't the end of the world, but on clear evenings you can see it, off to the West. It's mostly blue collar. There is some sneaky big money around, but it's generally in poor taste to let on. Lyle and I were talking about it at breakfast last Saturday. Almost invariably there will be luxury cars, and one or two restored classics parked out front. Now, the Elbow Room is small, sitting 25, maybe 30 tops - 6 booths, 8 stools and a card game going on at the round table in the corner. Everybody in the place looks like hell - like they dress down for breakfast, myself included. This noon we hit a new high. There was a blue (what else?) Bugatti Type 35 on the street. I shouldn't admit I even know what a Type 35 looks like, but because of an ill spent youth, I do. It had modern wheels and tires and the interior looks like hell. (I hope the original wheels are in the garage at home.) This thing is not restored. At all. It just belongs to some guy who gets a kick out driving it. And it is worth more than my house, even as a wreck. What the hell?


reverend dick said...

That is cool as hell. Just driving the thing because it is such a kick in the pants and not worrying about the superficial. HELL yes.

Assuming it is not rusting away and such.

Gunnar Berg said...

Body looked pretty good.

Bikesmith said...

Only a tiny fraction of "Bugatti Type 35"s were made by Bugatti. The vast majority are cheap clones. Though there have been a few pretty good quality replicas too.

Google "bugatti type 35 replica"

And it would take a skilled machinist to mount modern wheels on an original. Not sure, but I think the front drums

Bikesmith said...

Oops! Continuing where I left off...

I think the front drums on most models were too big to fit in most modern wheels.

OTOH it might be the real thing. The orthodontist who's office is about 400' from my house owns Ferrari GTO #1.

Margadant said...

Being entirely too familiar with the jerk-water town in question, I can imagine you and Lyle hearing an angelic chorus swelling inside the Elbow Room as you looked into the street.

I'm moved. So moved, that I will concede that this viewing is more satisfying than running across a Morgan by chance.

Gunnar Berg said...

If it is a replica is was made a long time ago. Everything other than the wheels and tires look 75 years old. If it is a fake they certainly did a poor job with the wheels. They don't look remotely like the originals.

jimmythefly said...


Could it have been this T-37?


Owned by Sandy Leith, completely unrestored. Hemmings Sports and Exotic did and article on it (one of their "driveable dream" series) in March of '07. The funny thing is it actually has a Ford engine, but it is most certainly an authentic Bugatti.

Gunnar Berg said...

I followed Bikesmith Stonich's advice and looked at the replicas. Not likely. This had the engine turned aluninum dash, cracked leather and a number of other markers which indicated age. The wheels I cannot explain.

Similar condition, but wrong part of the country.

It's not that big a town. It'll show up again. And I'll pounce and find out one way or the other.

Sprocketboy said...

Two years ago when in Alsace I visited the Schlumpf Museum where you can see the most amazing collection of Bugattis (including 3(!) Bugatti Royales) and a whole lot of Type 35s. Interestingly, the alloy wheels on the 35 featured integral drum brakes so if you changed the wheels to modern ones you would lose your brakes! A total of 365 Type 35s of all types were built so I lean towards the replica. Antiques & Classics in Buffalo, NY, had a replica in the early 1970s with a turned dash--and modern tires and wheels, which ruined the whole look.

reverend dick said...

I'm just so pleased with the image of you leaping out at the poor unsuspecting owner.

Let it be from a shadowy alley, please.