1932 Bugatti Type 55 Standard De Luxe Roadster

1932 Bugatti Type 55 Standard De Luxe Roadster

The Bugatti Type 55 has been described as one of the most aesthetically perfect two-seaters ever built. A.C. Whincop, a respected Bugatti expert, but with obvious bias towards the marque said, in 1943, of the Type 55 “ … the most fascinating sports car ever built, and one capable of delighting the senses more than any other car, irrespective of price or year of manufacture”.

The two-seater body of the Type 55 was created by Ettore Bugatti’s twenty-one year old son, Jean, and his use of contrasting colours to emphasise the sweep lines along the side of the bodywork showed him to be a master of design. In 1939, by a cruel twist of fate Jean died at the wheel of a car he was testing. Jean was Ettore’s very talented, obvious successor who was responsible for the design of several famous Bugattis.

The first Type 55 appeared in 1931 as a replacement for the Type 43 sports car. It had a supercharged 2262cc engine. The chassis was based on that of the Type 54 racing car, while the cast aluminium wheels were of a similar design to those used on the Type 51. Nowadays regarded as the ultimate in classic looks, the original rationale of aluminium wheels was that they were cheaper to make than wire wheels. It could do 180km/h and delivered lightning fast acceleration.

The Type 55’s superlative road-holding characteristics and its ability to travel over long distances at high speed made it a remarkably effective sports car in which to travel from point to point in complete comfort.

The motoring press was very impressed by the virtues of the Type 55. In 1932 Motor Magazine praised it as ‘a really comfortable, well sprung car’.

Between 1932 and 1935 just 38 examples of this model were built.

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