1927 Bugatti Type 37A Grand Prix Car – Lot 271 Sold at $445,000

As if being a Bugatti weren't cool enough, this is one of their legendary GP cars from the heyday of Bugatti track domination. It also happens to hold the distinction of once being a UK Speed Record-Setter. This ex-Chris Staniland car has an apparently-more-than-adequate 80hp, supercharged 1498cc single overhead camshaft inline four-cylinder engine. The Type 37 emulated the GP-winning Type 35, but was designed to be a more attainable and manageable car that could serve as a successor to Bugatti's early "Brescia" that had made their reputation with some 2,000 units sold over its 16-year lifespan.

Although successful, the Type 37 was a bit short on performance. So in 1927 Bugatti added a version of the Roots supercharger from the Type 35. The resulting car was dubbed the Type 37A. The Type 37A was first and foremost a competition car with its magneto ignition and Bugatti's signature aluminum wheels replacing the standard 37 wire wheels. Bugatti ended up cranking out 77 Type 37As between 1927 and 1930.

One of those is the car featured here. Bought and raced by Fairey Aviation test pilot, Chris Staniland, chassis number 37290 saw duty over four seasons, recording four outright wins and two seconds along the way. At the end of 1928, Staniland also used it to set the British Class-F 1-1/2-liter speed record for distances and times up to one hour. He managed to eclipse all but one of the records that were on the books, and which had ironically been set by a supercharged, two-liter, eight-cylinder Type 39A Grand Prix Bugatti in 1927. It even lapped Brooklands at 122.07 mph in 1929. Not bad for an 80hp four. It ended up selling at "only" $445,000 at RM.

[Source: RM Auctions]

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