Bugatti Club Australia's Victoria & Tasmania Tour, March, 2017 (66 Photos)
UMPH was thrilled to receive a tip-off that the Bugatti Club Australia's 2017 Victoria and Tasmania Tour was making its way down Tasmania's east coast, en route to the historic former convict station at Port Arthur, approximately one hour's drive south east of Hobart. What else could he do but load Upper Middle Petrol Hound into the X1/9 and head down there to meet the participants, camera in hand?
This first Bugatti is actually from New Zealand and was being driven by a friendly, and knowledgeable, fellow from Vanuatu. He told UMPH that despite its looks, it's not the more famous Type 35 Grand Prix racer but is a two-seater that was always intended to be a road-going car.
He further explained that the straight-eight engine, seen below, is actually two four cylinder blocks that are connected to, but aren't actually part of, each other. At least that's what UMPH thinks our friend said (if anyone can better describe how the engine/s are configured, please feel free to do so in the Comments section).
The engine has a capacity of 3 litres and is connected to a four speed, non-synchro gearbox with an overdrive. Apparently, the car is capable of over 160 kmh - or 100 miles per hour in the old money. That's likely to be a wild ride on its cheese-cutter tyres and all elliptically sprung suspension!
Another Bugatti. Another country of origin! The example seen below hails from Massachusetts in the north-eastern part of the United States of America. That's a very, very impressive journey!
According to the British chap that was piloting this lovely Victorian-registered Bugatti, the car has quite a history, having been purchased brand new in the 1930s, in Australia, by the current owner's father. One of the first journeys it made was to take the man who owns it today home from the hospital where he was born! It's been in the family ever since.
It's also interesting to note that it's an "Australian" Bugatti, meaning that it arrived from France sans coach-work and had everything aft of the windscreen manufactured in this country. That makes the car a rarity amongst rarities, if not totally unique.
Whilst the car is clearly a treasured family heirloom- and extremely rare and valuable, too - its owner is also a generous and trusting man, having lent the car to its British crew to drive in the tour. That might say something about the the notion that you can never really own a classic car - all you can actually do is be its custodian and understand that, at some point, it will be someone else's turn to cherish and enjoy it.
The car featured in the following sequence of photos is also Australian-registered, this time being from Queensland in the tropical north-east region of the continent. It was beautifully presented, with lovely deep-green duco, tan-coloured leather upholstery and a marvelous wooden dashboard.
The engineering was on show, as evidenced by the two images of the cable-actuated front brakes depicted below. Like several of the other cars on the tour, it also features all-round semi-elliptical springs.
The striking yellow Bugatti featured above and below is also Victorian-registered. It appears to be one of the smaller, and perhaps older, vehicles participating in the tour.
Regular UMPH readers will recognise this elegant, long wheel base Bugatti as being the same one featured in the post Readers' Photos # 6 (please see http://uppermiddlepetrolhead.blogspot.com.au/2017/03/readers-photos-6-tipo-type-28-bugatti.html). That makes it a Tipo 28 - Ettore Bugatti's first foray into the luxury car market - dating from 1921 (wikipedia - https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bugatti_Tipo_28).
The sweeping, enclosed front mudguards (wings for the British; fenders for American readers) suggests that this Bugatti is newer than those featured earlier on in this post. However, UMPH can't tell you anything else about the car, other than to rave enthusiastically about its beauty and grace.
It was a pity that this amazing early Bugatti was hidden under a tarpaulin (but at the same time totally understandable!). However, photos of this specific car, by Michel Porro, can be found at Getty Images (http://www.gettyimages.com.au/event/classic-bugattis-tour-the-alsace-wine-route-180974068#several-bugatti-cars-type-brescia-are-lined-up-during-a-tour-in-2013-picture-id450486336), taken when it was on another Bugatti tour in the Alsace wine region of France, not far from the birthplace of the Bugatti marque. That's no mistake, either; it's the exact same vehicle, as evidenced by the Swiss registration plates bearing the number VD-399 060. Another extremely impressive trip indeed!
Rounding out the day very nicely was this beautiful, British-registered Bugatti saloon, the only car that UMPH saw on the tour that had a tin top. Oh, the luxury! Maybe almost a necessity in Tasmania's occasionally fickle weather? Yet another epic journey from the other side of the world to tour Victoria and the island state.
Thank you to all the tour participants that generously allowed UMPH to get close and personal with their magnificent machines. Thanks, too, to those of you that shared your knowledge, and love, of the Bugatti marque with him; it is deeply appreciated.
The history of Bugatti, in precis:
Founded in Molsheim, Germany, in what's now the French region of Alsace, in 1909.
Italian-born founder Ettore Bugatti was the son of an Art Nouveau furniture and jewellery designer and considered himself to be both an artist and a constructor, which is evident in the beauty of his automotive designs.
Bugatti cars enjoyed considerable success on the European Grand Prix Circuit.
However, Ettore's death in 1947 was effectively the end of the marque, with the last car of less than 8,000 in total being manufactured in 1950.
There have been several not particularly successful attempts to restore the brand, which was eventually sold to Hispano-Suiza in the 1960s.
The Bugatti name now belongs to the Volkswagen group, who produce the Veyron (2000 - 2015) and Chiron (2016 ...) supercars bearing the Bugatti badge.
(Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bugatti.)
U M P H