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1924' Bugatti Type 23 Biplace Sport

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  • 1924 Bugatti Type 23 Biplace Sport in France, the World

For sale in our forthcoming auction in Paris, on 27 october 2019

Italian title
Chassis no. 2146
Engine no. 527

- Ex-Henri Malartre, ex-Dr Ferrand
- Highly tuned engine; quick, light car
- 8 entries in the historic Mille Miglia

According to the Italian Bugatti Register compiled by F. Guasti, it is believed that this Bugatti 23 was built in July 1924 for delivery to the showroom in Paris. It turned up again in 1966, when it belonged to Henri Malartre, the founder of the museum at Rochetaillée; that same year, it was bought by Dr Ferrand from Le Mans, well known as one of the earliest collectors, who sold part of his collection through Artcurial. Ferrand began to restore the car, using - as he told us at the time - parts he collected from Molsheim. In 1977, it was bought by M.B. Beauvais, who kept it until 1999, when he sold it to Patrick Tapp, a well-known collector from Bordeaux. In 2000, it was bought by its current owner, an Italian enthusiast with another Bugatti, a Type 49, in his garage.
The Type 23 underwent a mechanical restoration in Gianni Torelli's workshop in Emilia Romagna, with a complete overhaul of the engine, gearbox, rear axle and suspension. The owner considered that the passenger compartment of the body was too wide and decided in 2005 to modify it, to give it a narrower, more sporting look. It was entrusted to the Fabrini bodyshop, where the central part was removed, while the rear section was retained and fitted back onto the rebuilt body. The wooden structure of the rear section was refurbished at the same time. The front section, with its magnificent scuttle, was kept.
Since then, the car has been regularly maintained. Thanks to its excellent condition, it took part eight times in the historic Mille Miglia; perfectly familiar with his car, the owner dispensed with a service crew and covered the 1800km of the famous event without difficulty. Recently, the Officine Meccanica Pacini at Pistoia stripped down the engine to carry out the customary checks. Since then, it has only covered some 50km.
During a recent test carried out on the backroads of Tuscany, we observed the car's excellent performance, helped by its light weight and well set-up engine, as well as its satisfactory braking. In the right hands, it can hold its own against cars from the class above it, and with its teething problems dealt with, it is a fine choice with which to compete in the Mille Miglia at the wheel of a Bugatti!
The car is listed in the Italian Bugatti Register produced by Francesco Guasti, the former FIVA president. It comes with a number of documents: its FIVA passport, an ASI certificate in the 'Oro' category, a former Bugatti bulletin, in which it appears in a photograph (apparently taken during the Trois Heures de Contres organised by Jean-Marie Pellerin), an Italian newspaper report on the historic Mille Miglia (where it is again photographed) and a photographic report on its mechanical components, most of which are numbered.
The Bugatti Type 23 will be sold with its original body, probably fitted by Dr Ferrand in 1966, as well as the windscreen and supports it then had.
Also known as the "Brescia", the Type 23 was the first Bugatti to be equipped with an engine with four valves per cylinder; despite its modest capacity, it was an outstanding car for its time. And so it has remained: it will not fail to give its new owner the same pleasure behind the wheel as it did his or her predecessors.

Auction estimate: €550 000 / 650 000

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  • France
  • 6 October 2019
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