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SLIDER: 1939 Bugatti Type 59/50B Racing Car

Around 1935 Jean Bugatti produced a new 4.7-litre twin-overhead camshaft engine known as the Type 50B. His father had left Molsheim by this time, fed up with labour unrest at the factory and wanting to pursue railcar projects at his Paris office. The new engine was fitted to several racing cars and the final version, with supercharger, won the 1939 Coupe de Paris in the hands of Pierre Wimille.  He competed with it at Prescott that year and achieved 2nd Fastest Time.  After the war, Wimille used the same car to win the first post-war race (the Coupe des Prisonniers on 9th September 1945).

This is that car, Chassis No. 50180.  It is seen here at Prescott where it is one of the main exhibits of the Bugatti Trust’s 2019 Summer exhibition.  It will remain until September and will therefore be at Prescott for the VSCC’s hillclimb on 3rd and 4th August.

In July 1939 Jean Bugatti accepted the invitation to compete at the first Bugatti Owners’ Club International hillclimb meeting and brought this car with him, together with Wimille as driver, accompanied by the two famous Bugatti mechanics Robert Aumaître and Lucien Wurmser.  The car had the most powerful engine built by the factory and was fitted with twin rear wheels specially for the event.

Raymond Mays in an ERA achieved FTD at 46.14 secs, and Wimille finally posted a time of 46.69 secs to take second place.

This car was kept by the factory until acquired by the Schlumpf brothers and is now part of the Cité de l’Automobile – National Museum – Schlumpf Collection.  It is completely untouched and unrestored and is of exceptional historic significance.

Photo courtesy of Peter McFadyen. See his website:

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