You might remember a story from last summer about the recovery of a vintage Bugatti from a lake in Italy. The story was both fascinating and sad, and definitely one worth recounting.
The tale begins, or so we're told, in Paris in 1934 when a Swiss man acquired the car from legendary racecar driver Rene Dreyfus in a game of poker. The man headed home in his new car, but when he arrived at the Swiss border, he was required to pay customs on the car. Not having enough money, the man left the car at Lake Maggiore. By law, the Swiss officials were supposed to destroy the car, and they apparently did so by pushing it into the lake.
A little more than thirty years later, the Bugatti was discovered by a local diving club in the summer of 1967. The car became a local attraction for divers who would plunge more than 170 feet to see the remains at the bottom of the lake. It would seem that the Bugatti would forever remain there until a tragedy changed its fate. A young local man, Damiano Tamagni was brutally beaten and killed, and the diving club decided that they would try and retrieve the car and sell it to benefit the foundation created in his name to combat youth violence. It took more than thirty volunteers and nine months, but the Bugatti was finally lifted from the lake on July 12, 2009.
From there the Bugatti was put up for auction for the highest bidder. At Bonham's Retromobile sale in Paris earlier this year, the Type 22 Brescia brought a top bid of £228,000 – around $350,000 USD – much higher than the pre-auction estimate. The winning bidder? None other than the Mullin Museum in Oxnard, CA. The museum has decided to not restore the Bugatti and display it in its current condition.
We were overjoyed to see the Type 22 Brescia in person at the museum's grand opening last week, and were fascinated with the different parts of the car that survived three-quarters of a century submerged underwater. The right side of the body is completely gone, but other items like the tires and some of the gauges are perfectly intact. You can see the car in detail in the high-res gallery below.