Amelia Island

10 March 2012

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Lot 178

1930 Bugatti Type 46 Superprofile Coupe

  • Chassis no. 46208
  • Engine no. 77

Sold for $1,017,500


140 bhp, 5,359 cc SOHC inline eight-cylinder engine with three valves per cylinder, three-speed manual gearbox, front semi-elliptic leaf springs and rear inverted quarter-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel, cable-operated drum brakes. Wheelbase: 3,505 mm (138")



• A faithful recreation of Jean Bugatti’s Superprofile coachwork

• A “companion” model to the T41 Royale



Barely 30 years elapsed from the emergence of the first Type 13 Bugatti until the cessation of production at the onset of the Second World War. In that time, an almost endless stream of models and variants poured forth from Ettore Bugatti’s works, each of them meticulously crafted from the finest materials and lovingly detailed by dedicated artisans. Of all Bugatti models, one of the most elegant, imposing and luxurious was the Type 46, which was introduced in late 1929, and approximately 450 examples were produced to 1933. The steel ladder-type chassis of the Type 46 featured a long 138-inch/3,505-mm wheelbase and was powered by an equally impressive, long-stroke 5.4-liter inline eight engine featuring a single overhead camshaft. Its impressive specifications included three valves per cylinder and twin spark plugs per cylinder, which delivered a stout 140 brake horsepower. Engine durability was also very good, by virtue of the engine block casting itself, which extended down to the main-bearing supports. Consequently, the engine’s structure was rigid and thereby provided exceptionally smooth operation.



The three-speed manual gearbox was mounted within a rear-transaxle unit, marking another technical innovation of the basic T46 design. Four-wheel, self-adjusting cable-operated brakes with 16-inch drums provided stopping power. Wire-spoke wheels were used early in the T46 production run, while stylish, vane-type “Royale-style” alloy wheels were fitted to the later cars. The T46 also influenced the mechanical specifications of the long-wheelbase T50, which shared the T46 chassis, radiator and transaxle assemblies.



The combination of Type 46 attributes, especially when its fine chassis and engine is clothed in sophisticated coachwork, makes it one of the most appreciated Bugattis. In fact, the T46 is perhaps best known as the “Petit Royale,” so-named for its striking resemblance to the Type 41 Royale, which remains famous for its massive 4.3-meter wheelbase and 12.8-liter engine. With the Type 41 Royale’s engine displacing roughly 2½ times the volume of the next Bugatti model offered, the Type 46 “Petit Royale” very capably bridged this otherwise massive gap in the manufacturer’s model range.



As described in the definitive book Bugatti Type 46: La Petite Royale by Bohuslav Klein, Roland Saunier and Kees Jansen, the T46 remains highly significant in the Bugatti pantheon as one of the marque’s most influential road-going models. As they wrote, “no other Bugatti Type motivated so many European bodymakers in the thirties, to build such exclusive bodies, as this one did.” They further stated that no fewer than some 40 custom coachbuilders applied their unique artistry to the T46 chassis during the model’s relatively brief production run.



As noted in their authoritative reference, chassis 46208 was originally mated to and still retains engine number 77. It was ordered as part of a package of two cars, the other being 46202, by Bugatti dealer Dominique Lamberjack of 68 Rue Bayen, Paris on January 10, 1930. These chassis cost 72,200 Francs apiece and were delivered on February 1, 1930. It is believed that the original coachwork on 46208 was the four-door style known as conduite interieure. In 1932 the car was registered in Agen, capital of the Lot-et-Garrone department, with plate number 3630 JV1. In 1935 it was sold to a gentleman by the name of Grenier and on to another fellow named Rodriguez in 1937, who lived in nearby Villenueve-sur-Lot. Some time around this period it returned to Paris wearing plate number 6324 RL4. Later on, it was bought by Baron John Raben-Levetzau, owner of Aalholm Automobile Museum in Nysted, Denmark.



The present owner opted to have the drab sedan coachwork replaced with a faithful recreation of the “Superprofile” coupe penned by Jean Bugatti, which some argue is the finest of all of his designs. The coachwork was produced by Mr. Ken Haywood of New South Wales, Australia, who has been responsible for many award-winning cars. This photo-documented restoration and coachbuilding effort is regarded as one of his finest results. Only a very small number of the profile series of cars, with their steeply raked windshields coupled with dramatic fender lines that predate those of the celebrated Mercedes-Benz 500K, are known to exist. Jean Bugatti’s gifted ability to follow through when he penned these lines is evident in the marvelous upward curve at the end of the rear fenders and the yellow panel sweep that contrasts with the deep black paint.



The beautifully appointed interior is brown ostrich leather complemented by a flawlessly finished wood dash and steering wheel rim, which appear even more inviting due to the warm glow of the dual instrument lights. The balance and presentation of the interior is highlighted by the front seats which look more like lounge chairs belonging on a sunny patio than automobile seats. This design is so timeless that its simplistic style was emulated with the interior of the Spyker “Peking to Paris” SUV. The engine turning on both sides of the firewall, cylinder head and other components displays not only the cleanliness and quality of presentation but also serves as a reminder of the legendary machine fit of the engine components.



The entire finish of this car is consistent from the body and concours-quality paint which is matched by the finish of the chassis and suspension components. The lithe Superprofile body is augmented by a restrained amount of chrome that adorns the handles and latches, horseshoe radiator surround, Scintilla headlights and matching fender lights. The entire assembly rides on Royale-style wheels shod with period correct Goodrich Silvertown tires. Chassis 46208 was shown and won honors at the 2011 Sydney Concours and will garner high praise and attention wherever it is shown around the world. It is a remarkable feat of coachbuilding prowess as well as legendary Bugatti engineering.

Addendum

Please note the title for this vehicle is in transit.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

Cameron Smyth

csmyth@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Cameron Smyth joined RM Sotheby’s as a Car Specialist in 2015, working out of our corporate office and providing assistance on c... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more