A virtual magazine for a true passion!

Editor: Jaap Horst

Volume 8, Issue 1b

What seems a very nice original T37 on the stand of Targa Sicilia, turns out to be an original well preserved 35A . ( no 37 sorry )
According to the factory's delivery sheets, 4789 was the last car of a batch of 5 identical 35A made in july 1926

Retromobile 2003

Jaap Horst

Click on a picture for an enlargement. Big pictures open in a separate window.

As each year, we left on Friday 7th of February for Paris, driving off early at 5.30 to the first day of this year´s Retromobile, a recordcar special. This resulted in 4 big record cars on loan from the Beaulieu museum. Also present some smaller record cars, like the étoile filante from Renault and various others. Very nice was a biturbo Citroën SM, which was used on the salt flats in the USA to reach speeds of over 350 km/h. To attain this the SM had an independent altitude adjustment fore and aft, to optimise the aerodynamics of the car. Pressure gauges separate for the fore and aft hydraulic systems, was used to checkthe amount of lift at high speed.

As for Bugattis at Retromobile: most striking was the lack of any T57! What was there, ranged from a type 30, 4 types 35, one of which was to be auctioned by Christies on Saturday 8, 1 type 37, 2 types 43 and one 55, also on auction. Furthermore the French Bugatti Club stand had several engines from the Schlumpf museum on their stand, a Brescia 16 valve engine, a T50 engine, a T68 engine mockup (not a real working engine), a T73A 3 valve engine (supercharged) as well as a T251 engine. On the Argentinian Pur Sang stand we saw a (new) T35B engine.
As you probably remember from my news section of a while ago, the Argentinians have a design for a T41 Sport Carrera, which they presented last year at Retromobile, and which was also in their brochure, together with similar designs for a Bentley, Alfa Romeo and a Cadillac. Surprisingly this Cadillac was now ready, and on their stand! As you can see in the pictures it really has become a stunning car, engined by a 1930 Cadillac V16 of approx. 175 HP. The car was build in one year, and at the moment work is going on on an Alfa Romeo, using a WW2 1100 HP Aermacchi aircraft engine. For the Bugatti, they are still looking for the right (T41) engine. I suggested them a King-Bugatti 16 cylinder, but I don´t know if any of those is still available! We may be seeing more of the Cadillac, as it has been sold to Belgium.

As for Bugattis there was of course a lot more to be found at Retromobile this year, including cheap and expensive books, a few books now for the first time at Retromobile available, like the Wimille book by Paris and Mearns, the book by Yan Verdier about Henri Novo etc. For the ones looking for miniatures there were of course the same fabulous Boissou models, Héco miniatures and the like. Most impressive though were the models in 1:8 scale: a T50 Le Mans by Christian Gouel, and a T57G Le Mans by Sean McKenna. Especially his T59 wheels were very realistic looking! For an airplane addict like myself there was a very nice all metal Bugatti plane, made by Benoît de Clerq. Wing span of this sculpture is approx. 40cm.

Auction results:
ex Bill Serri T55.208: 1.52 million euro (1.68 including costs)
The ex Hamish Moffatt T35B 4913: 850.000 Euro
All 3 EB110 prototypes fell approx. 10.000 short of their lowest estimate of 60.000 euro each, and were not sold.

At about 7 we left Paris again, discussing all the cars that were to be seen, new books, automobile design etc, to arrive back late, tired, but happy.

Some cars on the stand of Bruno Vendiesse, a T37 and a T35, busy being restored. The T37 is a T40 mechanic with a new frame.

A T35 on the stand of Métal 5, some polishing product

The stand of the Argentinian Pur Sang surprised us, not so much with their T35B engine, but with the Cadillac V16 Sport
On the stand of Christoph Grohe the new edition of 4008, the ex U.Hucke Strassbourg car, now with a body similar to the ex Junek 22/30, surely a body which is more usable for a client than the cigar

Another T43 was also to be seen (and for sale), not 100% complete yet. This is the first attempt of our Argentinian Pur Sang friends to build T43 replicas.
On the stand which Jaap Braam Ruben always shares with Eric Koux: A T43


The T68, said to be a mock-up, not a real engine
The French Bugatti Club had a load of Engines, this is their stand, with the T73 engine at the front, and the T251 behind it

A real engine, the supercharged T73A

The T55 at Christie´s
The T35B of the Christie´s auction

A collection of EB110 proto´s, not sold

A few smaller record cars, from top to bottom: Citroën Petite Rosalie and Renault étoile filante
The most famous record cars, from top to bottom: The Golden Arrow (1929), The Sunbeam 1000cv (1937) and the Bluebird CN7 Proteus (1963)

The famous Rover Turbine car Jet1 very nicely presented with drawings in the background, explaining the working of the car.
Some of the nicest miniatures from the Retro: Top: Benoît de Clerq´s airplane, middle: Sean McKenna´s T57G, bottom: Christian Gouel´s T50 Le Mans

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Vive La Marque !!