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1939 Bugatti Type 64 Coupe – Click above for high-res image gallery

Peter Mullin is nuts for classic French cars. His Mullin Automotive Museum is a beautiful shrine to a very specific period of automotive history. One particular vehicle in his collection is Jean Bugatti's unfinished 1939 Type 64 Coupe. Jean was Ettore's oldest son, and he died while test driving the Le Mans-winning Type 57 C. His Type 64 Coupe chassis never got the body that Bugatti hoped to have built for it... but Mr. Mullin is going to change that.

Using Jean Bugatti's sketches as a guide, Mullin has partnered with Stewart Reed Design to develop a vision of what the car should look like. Now, that pair is joined by Mike Kleeves of Automobile Metal Shaping Company, which means that team officially have someone on their team capable of bringing this bit of conceptual art into the physical world.

For more on the Type 64, check out the up-close look at the car we experienced during a field trip to the Mullin Museum in 2010.

1939 Bugatti Type 64
  • 1939 Bugatti Type 64
  • 1939 Bugatti Type 64
  • 1939 Bugatti Type 64

  • Bugatti Type 64 chassis #64002, the second of three Type 64 chassis ever built at the factory. Not the background renderings of the proposed Art Center/Stuart Reed Coupe coachwork.
  • Good look at the balsa-wood placeholder. This gives you an idea of where the finished lines will be.
  • The Type 64 chassis is the same length as the Type 57 Chassis, though wider, lighter and stronger.
  • Note the non-horseshoe grill, similar to the Type 57SC
  • Mullin Automotive Curator Andrew Reilly showing off the proposed gullwings
  • Sporting leaf springs and dampers, the Type 64 sits on the cusp of old and new
  • About the most beautiful radiator cap you're likely to see
  • Everyone loves wire wheels with knock off hubs.
  • The straight-eight, DOHC 4.4-liter V8 produced 170 horsepower in 1939
  • An exceedingly beautiful fuel rail
  • Very interesting: a finned exhaust header. With eight cylinders dumping into one tube, every bit of cooling counts
  • Elegant yet relatively primitive steering box. Note the cotter pins holding the nuts in place. The fancier the Bugatti, the more cotter pins you'll find.
  • Part of the frame, and part of the exceedingly pretty intake manifold

  • Leaf springs, dampers and locating arms
  • Looks comfy
  • Four speed manual is a step up from the Type 57 three speed gear box
  • Check out that steam punk rear end! This might be the world's best looking pumpkin. Also, as is the Bugatti way, notice how there's a bout twenty bolts holding the rear axle in place -- per side
  • New old stock Jaeger gauges
  • Winning Art Center clay model of the Bugatti Type 64 Coupe

Photos copyright ©2011 by Drew Phillips/AOL

[Source: Mullin Automotive Museum]
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Celebrated Southern California Collection Partners with Renowned Coachbuilder To Complete Jean Bugatti's Masterpiece

Oxnard, Calif. (April 27, 2011) – The Peter Mullin Automotive Museum Foundation, organized to support nonprofit public charities that are dedicated to the study, preservation and public display of classic automobiles or public education regarding classic automobiles, today selected Automobile Metal Shaping Company (AMS), to construct the body for Jean Bugatti's famed 1939 Bugatti Type 64 Coupe Chassis #64002.

Originally designed and constructed by Jean Bugatti (Ettore Bugatti's eldest son), the 1939 Bugatti Type 64 chassis was never completed, as Bugatti tragically died while test driving the Le Mans winning Bugatti Type 57 C "Tank". In celebration of Bugatti's legacy, the Peter Mullin Automotive Museum Foundation, Art Center College of Design and Stewart Reed Design collaborated to produce a concept based upon Jean Bugatti's original drawings. AMS has been entrusted with the great honor of completing this revolutionary work of art based on their depth of experience in automotive restoration and prototype construction.

Peter Mullin, Chairman of the Board of the Peter Mullin Automotive Museum Foundation and Chairman and Founder of the Mullin Automotive Museum states, "We are delighted to announce the appointment of Automobile Metal Shaping Company as the coachbuilder to complete this historic automobile. AMS is known among top collectors and manufacturers for their extraordinary work with exceptional cars. Similar to the Type 64, Mike Kleeves and his team at AMS have one foot in the past and one foot in the future – with all the skills of old-world craftsman and the imagination of the modern automotive design industry. Jean Bugatti would be happy to see this car completed."

Stewart Reed, Principal of Stewart Reed Design states, "While we want to respect the Type 64's evolution from the Type 57 as a dramatic new coupe, Bugatti was clearly pushing design into new materials use as evidenced by the lovely all-aluminum chassis reminiscent of aircraft construction. Kleeves' proven reputation with the best technologies and his deep appreciation for quality automotive development are key to our realizing what Bugatti was intending for the Type 64."

Mike Kleeves, Director and Owner of Automobile Metal Shaping Company is honored and excited to help finish Jean Bugatti's Type 64 for the Peter Mullin Automotive Museum Foundation.

Bugatti's Type 64, designed as a successor to the Bugatti Type 57, was originally constructed with a wheelbase of 130-inches and a 3.3-liter DOHC engine with 135 horsepower and was able to reach 120 mph at top speed. AMS will honor the original concept and design of the vehicle incorporating the vehicles' originally-proposed papillon door, slightly different in its architecture from a gullwing door – which Jean Bugatti designed in 1939, fourteen years before Mercedes-Benz produced their similar, famous 300SL gullwing door.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      While I think this is a nice idea, I would leave it alone. Because by leaving it alone and displaying it the way it is gives visitors an idea of what a Bugatti Chassis would look like back in that time period. I also think it would inspire many people and it would let people envision their own Bugatti. Although that's just what I would do. Either way It will be cool to see this project progress.
      Mike McDonald
      • 4 Years Ago
      30's Bugattis are some of the most beautiful and royal cars ever made.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Have this strange feeling its gonna look super sexy when done!
      Wayne B Briggs
      • 4 Years Ago
      1939 Type 64 Coupe:Cars like this one really had a raw character about them, that none really can match out of the today's crop.
      • 4 Years Ago
      it would no more be a bugatti than if i took a person were to build a kit car on a ford frame and call it a ford. the right to call it a bugatti died when the company died
      • 4 Years Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      This will be a pretty oxcart, a combined look into the deep automotive past of the thirties and earlier, with narrow track, inadequate brakes, leaf springs and enormous weight components. It will be a terrible investment but a great ego massage. A visit to the ACD museum in Auburn IN will show you more cars of this era, now very much dated and not nearly as good as the cheapest import available today. Time to move on. Give the money to charity and enjoy the history as it is..
        • 4 Years Ago
        What an uninformed comment. Have you ever even been to the ACD museum? Did you pay any attention while you were there? Cord was front wheel drive, in the 1930s! Duesenbergs had fuel injection, overhead cams, and supercharging, and you could lubricate the entire chassis by pressing a button on the dash. Has technology vastly improved? Sure. Is a Duesenberg SJ comparable to a 2011 Rolls Royce? Not really. But as far as "the cheapest import available today", well, I'd be willing to bet the antique would still win. Of course, we haven't even gotten into the merits of the Duesenberg's hand-stitched interior, real, hand-carved wood trim, and bespoke bodywork. Most houses today don't have that kind of craftsmanship.
      avinash Machado
      • 4 Years Ago
      What a beauty.
      • 4 Years Ago
      LOL @ Duralast battery.