Hans Matti, the registrar of the Bugatti Club Suisse, has spent his life assembling one of the most exceptional collections of Bugattis on earth. Now, after selling it, the collection’s new owner decided to allow it to visit the home of Bugatti.
The cars have returned to the Château Saint Jean in Molsheim, the home Ettore Bugatti bought to entertain guests and customers. Still the home of the company today, the classic vehicles were photographed on the grounds of the château with their modern-day descendants.
An exquisite collection that was built up over decades, it features unrestored and unique cars from Bugatti’s halcyon days. Bearing the scars, scuffs, and chips of years of competition, the cars are as much a testament to the history of motorsport as they are to the brand.
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Included in the collection is the Type 49 that served as Jean Bugatti’s personal car and bears his initials on the door. Featuring coachwork designed by the man himself, which is rare enough on its own, it is also the only model in existence that bears Faux Cabriolet body work.
It is joined by a completely unrestored Type 51 Grand Prix that was raced by Louis Chiron. One of the very first Type 51s, it is fitted with engine number 1 and competed at Monaco, Monza, the Targa Florio, and more.
From the factory, the Type 51 was essentially a Type 35B chassis fitted with a new engine. Indeed, this example had its engine removed to become the car it is today. That older engine, meanwhile, was placed in a different chassis by Bugatti and sold as a new car. That very Type 35B is also contained in this collection.
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The Type 35A seen here, meanwhile, has its own factory swapped engine. It contains the supercharged engine from one of the two Type 36s that ever existed (and were later destroyed). These are believed to have been the earliest supercharged Bugattis ever and this swapped Type 35A is the only one in the world containing one of these engines.
Finally, the collection is rounded out by a Type 37A. A successful racer and a later example of Bugatti’s supercharging, the car’s history has been meticulously traced and is one of just 76 ever built.
“We are a brand that constantly looks to the genius of our founder for inspiration,” said Christophe Piochon, president of Bugatti automobiles. “Arguably nothing brings us closer to vision of Ettore than seeing his creations in the condition they left the factory in; the original rivets, paint, and, in particular, the meticulous engineering that came to define his cars and ultimately his success. This collection of cars and the stories that have been gathered around them are absolutely priceless, and we’re honored to have been able to welcome them to home of Bugatti Automobiles. As we look to a new era of Bugatti, it’s pioneering models like these that will be our inspiration.”