THE 1928 Bugatti Type 35B that won the very first Monaco Grand Prix has been awarded a preservation trophy by the Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens (FIVA), at the Chantilly Arts & Elegance Richard Mille event.
The FIVA preservation award recognises vehicles that retain much of their original components, materials and finishes and as such are important cultural artefacts. The 2016 awards are part of the FIVA World Motoring Heritage Year celebration under the patronage of UNESCO.
This Bugatti Type 35B Grand Prix race car was constructed in Molsheim, France, in February 1928, and driven to victory by William Charles Frederick Grover-Williams in the inaugural Monaco Grand Prix in April 1929.
During the 1928 and 1929 seasons, racing greats Louis Chiron, Robert Benoist and René Dreyfus also drove the car – to four other Grand Prix podium finishes. By 1931, the car had retired from racing, and was subsequently used as a road car. In 1954, it was bought at auction by Edmond Escudier, who owned the car until 2005, when it was sold to the present owners.
Among the most well-preserved Grand Prix cars of the period, the Bugatti retains its first paint buried under the layers of colours it displayed during its active years of racing. Chips of the paint were subjected to a sophisticated analysis by experts at Glasurit to document the colour of each layer of paint, while almost all the engine and mechanical components are those originally fitted to the vehicle. Amazingly, the leather straps on the bonnet and seats are all believed to be original – as are the Bugatti alloy wheels.