A super rare 1934 Bugatti Type 59 is set to display at this years Concours of Elegance. Taking place at Hampton Court Palace from 3-5 September, the event is renowned as one of the top three concours d’elegance events in the world. The finest collector cars will grace the grounds of the palace and nowhere else in the UK can the public see such a high standard of rare historic vehicles. This includes the already confirmed Voisin C-27 Aérosport, which will be making its first ever appearance in the UK.
The Bugatti Type 59 is famed as the most beautiful of all Bugatti’s motorsport creations and one of the most elegant racing cars of all time. Unlike many such “monoposto” race cars of the period, the Type 59 was styled as a two-seater, which allowed the driver to sit low next to the gearbox. It was noted that Ettore Bugatti didn’t like having his drivers high over the prop shaft, as would have been the case in a narrower and tighter single-seat body.
That carefully crafted shape tapers into a sharp point at the tail, which itself houses the fuel tank, in between two beautifully riveted halves of metal. Every detail is perfection, right down to the signature piano wire wheels, which are beautifully engineered and are the perfect complement to the Type 59’s proportions.
The Bugatti’s engine was a straight eight-cylinder, with two overhead camshafts driven by a train of gears from the rear of the crankshaft. This drive was also taken to the Bugatti built supercharger, which was mounted on the right-hand side of the engine. Two down-draught Zenith carburettors sat on top of the beautifully engineered straight eight.
Despite its advancements and its beautiful shape, the Type 59 arrived two years too late to make a meaningful impact. This was down the increasingly competitive Mercedes and Auto Union cars, which by 1934 were beating the competition on a regular basis on the Grand Prix circuits of the world. This example, #59124, had a best result of fourth at Spa-Francorchamps with Robert Benoist at the wheel. The famous Tazio Nuvolari also raced a Bugatti Type 59 as an independent, but with factory support.
However, despite its failure to deliver glory on the track, is an important car in Bugatti’s history. Just six or seven built, and its enviable looks, the Type 59 remains one of the most desirable pre-war cars ever made. And its appear at this years Concours of Elegance will certainly be one of the highlights of the show.
Also confirmed for the Concours of Elegance will be a total of around 1,000 cars, which will gather to form a series of special features and displays. One of these will include a Gulf vs. Martini celebration, plus a display of unique or bespoke modern rarities in the Future Classics class and a line-up of the finest coachbuilt Rolls-Royces. Also new for the 2021 show is a collection of 95 British cars gathered to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s 95th birthday, and a 30UNDER30 Concours which is aimed at inspiring the next-generation of classic car enthusiast.