Between 2006 and 2008 the owner completely rebuilt his early Type 35 Bugatti, chassis number 4450. During this process he realized that he had sufficient Molsheim spare parts to build a Type 35B, using a replica chassis. He was aware of a replica GP chassis that renowned New Zealand specials builder, Ferris de Joux, had made for himself. Ferris was persuaded to duplicate this highly accurate chassis, and this became the basis for the construction of the car.
The chassis required no attention, other than drilling holes to mount the mechanicals and body, and it was soon on its wheels using a Type 40 front axle numbered 163, ex 40280, and rear axle 409, probably from Type 49, 49513. Much of the braking mechanism was ex Molsheim, as was the steering (steering box numbered M5), steering column and wheel, torque arm, radius arms and tailshaft. The radiator was also from his ‘parts bin’ and is from Type 37, 37146, with a new core courtesy of Autorestorations.To complete the rolling chassis it was only necessary to supply new hubs and aluminium wheels of the correct pattern.
The scuttle is new, but is supported by Molsheim cast aluminium triangles from 37160 and is adorned with correct period instruments apart from the oil pressure gauge which was obtained in kit form from the Bugatti Owners Club. (The 6 inch rev counter is ex Type 23, 1869). The petrol tank is new, but the filler neck and cap are Molsheim, the latter being from 1928 Targa Florio Type 37A, 37327; it still has a hole for the Plombeur’s seal. The Grand Prix body is one of the series constructed in London in the 1980s by the Peel Brothers and came from the ‘Irish Car’ liberated by Ivan Dutton in the late 1900s. It has received much attention from master coach builder Richard Stanley and is highly accurate. It is finished in a semi-matt dark blue with a red band on the bonnet as used on cars running in the Provence Grand Prix in 1926 in the over 2 litre class.
In the main the supercharged engine is constructed from new castings and uses a roller bearing crankshaft and connecting rods accurately made in Australia to factory drawings. Most of the ancillaries such as water pump, oil pump, oil filter, engine driven air pump, breathers and water connections, oil pipes and exhaust manifolds are Molsheim, as are the internal gears and drive shafts. The cam box lid is probably ex Type 30 and the camshaft is ex Type 38 – essentially identical to that on a Type 35. New valve rockers replace the worn originals. The cylinder block and valve gear are from the Bugatti Owners Club and the pistons are new forgings. The engine drives through a Molsheim clutch to a newly constructed gear box, but the highly visible lid is Type 35 in origin and is numbered 172.
In conclusion this Type 35B on a replica chassis, which bears a Bugatti Owners Club chassis plate , has a high content of original Bugatti factory parts. It is fast and reliable and a delight to drive and to look at when stationary. When sold, it will be sadly missed, but it needs a younger pilot.