A virtual magazine for a true passion!

Editor: Jaap Horst

Volume 9, Issue 3

History of 40816

By Julien Dubrulle
Click on pictures for an enlargement!

40816 in the 50´s.
You have probably seen the picture of 40816, which was the surprise at the Molsheim Festival, September 2004. Rapidly afterwards, I received a mail from Julien Dubrulle, stating that there were some errors in my story, especially concerning the upholstery for the car, which was indeed original. Luckily, the car is to remain as it is now. JJH

I agree with you on some points but have to clarify the situation.

At first, the car has been in the same family since 1930. The Family was from the Pharmacy area in the Paris suburbs.
M. Vernin, the first owner ordered the car on 6th February 1930. He asked M. Albert Berluteau to make a body the same day. On the 28th March the same year, M. Vernin received the car, and one month later the body was ready. The body ordered was a Drophead 2 doors and 4 seats 'cabriolet 2 portes 4 places'. At that time leather was used most of the time, but he ordered an 'Art & Deco' style trim in Velours Frappée. The strange upholstery now in the car is for sure original, and has never been removed from the car.

The car was very little used by M. Vernin himself, the car was maybe not enough reliable for him and his family. When one of his sons was in need of a car in the 50's, his father lent him the car. The car was a bit old-fashioned, so he decided to modernize it. A new shade of pale blue was painted. Some plastic rear lights were adapted. However, the car was quickly stopped again and put in the family barn. After only 30.000 km from new.
Nevertheless, we have the file of the car with all the invoices and letters from new. The klaxon, the 'Flasques de Roues' and some very scarce accessories are still on the car today .

The car while at Snecma

After a while, they wanted to have the car restored and shown in display in the Snecma museum... but people there never undertook (thank god!) the restoration and the car stayed in their 'atelier' workshop for some years.

Recently, the car became a burden for the Snecma and a decison has to be taken ! The best was the sale.. But due to several children, the sale was a bit difficult and the car was advertised through the Club Bugatti France web site. The car was for sale to the best offer, which my father won.

We went to fetch the car January 14, 2004. 74 years after M. Vernin´s father, my father had become the second owner of 40816.
The car was incredible! Nobody had driven the car for more than 50 years, nobody hed dismantled the car. It is hard to believe that we can still find such a Bugatti!

Mid April, with two friends Alain Marguerite and Michel Faux we decided to undertake the mecanical restoration in order to be ready for the 75th anniversary of the Bugatti Club from England.
We had a good time and would have been in time if we didn't have a piston problem ! We had them manufactured in Germany and there was a delay. In the same time we discovered that the block was in poor condition ! It was frozen long time ago, which had to be repaired.

Restoration of 40816

All mecanical parts such as the front axle, brakes, engine, gearbox, back axle, clutch were removed and checked. We felt like we didn´t have the right to clean them from outside, so only the inside of the parts were cleaned: However, this method takes far longer. But the result is there. The car seems untouched but everything has been checked !

Some instruments were missing.. I put some period instruments to fit the holes...

Finally, the car was just ready for he Molsheim rally in September !!

The car ran perfectly the whole weekend and only some adjustements had to be done to the carb. Be sure that as long as the car will be at home, it will stay like it is today! There are so many 'Pebble Beach' cars that, this one will stay as it is.

The car as it is today!

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