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World records set at Gooding and Co’s Mullin Collection sale

Words: Nathan Chadwick | Photography: Gooding & Co/The Mullin Collection

The 1938 Bugatti Type 57C Aravis Special Cabriolet was the star of the Mullin Collection sale from Gooding & Co, which took place on Friday April 26, 2024. The Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California played host to a 114-lot selection, all sold at no reserve – but it was the Type 57C that had everyone talking, when it doubled its pre-sale estimate and sold for $6,605,000.

The sale was wide ranging, covering a wide variety of French makes – although we were still taken aback by seeing a a 2009 Citroën C3 Pluriel among the collection. We’ve pulled out some of the headline lots below – what did you have your eye on?

The Bugatti (pictured above) is one of only four Gangloff-bodied Aravis Special Cabriolets created, and one of just two built on the supercharged Type 57C chassis. Chassis 57768 was originally sold to Bugatti works driver Maurice Trintignant, who entered it into the Grand Prix du Comminges on August 6, 1939, and finished 11th. He kept the car until 1947, when ownership passed to Jacques Roblin, and then a Parisian called M Carette and the Garage Proust.

After a prang with a Peugeot 203, it was then sold to M Chevalier, who then sold it to Madeline Mitton. She removed the supercharger and sold it to Rudi van Daalen Wetters of Burbank, California in 1964. He kept the car until his passing in 1999, and the Mullin Collection acquired the car three years later.

It then sent the car to marque specialist Scott Sargent of Sargent Metal Works in Vermont for a full restoration, with input from its first owner, Trintignant. A reproduction supercharger and intake manifold from English Bugatti specialist Brineton Engineering was sourced, and the car subsequently made its debut at the 2005 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where it won First in Class, the first of several concours appearances. Estimated at €2.5m-€3.5m, it sold for $6,605,000, setting a world record for the marque.

This 1930 Bugatti Type 46 Semi-Profilée Coupé set a world record for Type 46 model. Chassis 46136 was first ordered by Dr Vladimir Boruvka, the owner of a famous sanatorium in Prague, through Czech Bugatti agent Vladimir Gut. Its original body and style are unknown, but in 1934 it was sent to Czech coachbuilder Oldřich Uhlík, who built a coupé body of his own design. After showing the car at the Concours d’Elegance at Poděbrady in 1936, Uhlík bought the Bugatti from Dr Boruvka in 1937 and used it as his company car.

Following several more European owners, the Bugatti was owned by Walter Grell of Switzerland by 1973, having spent 13 years in the country. It was then bought by Jack Braam Ruben of Maastricht, Netherlands in 2000, who replaced the Bugatti’s engine with an new-old-stock unit from the estate of Udo Rand. The damaged transaxle was replaced with one from Charles Renaud, while cast-alloy wheels from Crosthwaite & Gardiner were installed.

Harry Kouwen produced a replica Semi-Profilée body, while the mechanicals were refreshed by Simon Klopper. The car was sold to John Ridings Lee in 2008, and then joined the Mullin Collection in 2011. Against a pre-sale estimate of $700k-$900k, it sold for $1.105m.

This 1933 Hispano-Suiza J12 Cabriolet, chassis 14004, was first sold to HS Lethbridge, who kept the car for two years before selling it to a Mr De Ghest, who had the Vanvooren bodywork fitted. It was later sold via a family called Kraemer to exotic car dealer Viviano Corradini in November 1955, before joining the collection of Dr Samuel Scher, and then that of Richard Paine of the Seal Cove Museum in Maine.

John Mozart then acquired and restored the car, with engine work completed by Phil Reilly & Company of Corte Madera, California. Upon completion, it won First in Class honours as well as the Alec Ulmann Trophy at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 1991. It then joined the Mullin Collection, and has returned to Pebble Beach twice, seeing class victories on both occasions. Against a $2.5m-$3.5m estimate, it sold for $2.315m.

This 1931 Bugatti Type 40A Roadster was one of the surprises of the night, selling for more than three times its low estimate. One of 32 uprated Type 40A models built, chassis 40902 was originally delivered through official Swiss Bugatti dealer Bucar in July 1931. By 1962 it was in the US collection of John Shakespeare in Centralia, Illinois. His entire collection of 30 cars was sold  to French industrialists Hans and Fritz Schlumpf in 1964, and formed part of the Schlumpf Reserve Collection. The car was then acquired by the Mullin Collection in 2008. Estimated at $90k-$120k, it eventually sold for $302k.

This unique 1927 Bugatti Type 40 Break De Chasse was originally bodied by Carrosserie Gangloff in a style described as Conduite Intérieure – a close-coupled saloon. It was first sold to Fernand Huck, director of the Société Franco Suisse de Navigation in Strasbourg, France, and in the 1930s or 1940s it was converted to a wooden Break de Chasse or ‘shooting brake’ body. It was also fitted with Houdaille front shock absorbers and rear De Carbon telescopic units.

After several French owners, it was sold to American Bugatti enthusiast Lyman Greenlee of Anderson, Indiana via a Belgian dealer. It quickly entered the collection of John Shakespeare, who later sold it to the Schlumpf brothers. It joined the Mullin Collection in 2008, and has remained in unrestored form. Estimated at $100k-$150k, it eventually sold for $445k.

This 1936 Bugatti Type 57 Ventoux was another car to double its pre-sale estimate. Formerly part of the John Shakespeare and the Schlumpf Reserve Collections, chassis 57377 was first delivered to a D Saint on February 28, 1936. Its history comes alive again in the 1960s, when it was spotted on Swiss licence plates. John Shakespeare then owned the car, before it joined the Schlumpf Collection in 1964. It was kept in the Reserve Collection, and joined the Mullin Collection in 2008. Estimated at $200k-$250k, it sold for $511k.

This 1934 Bugatti Type 57 Ventoux also more than doubled its pre-sale estimate. Its first owner was a Jean Verdier, who kept it until 1938. By 1963 it had joined the John Shakespeare Collection and then the Schlumpf Reserve Collection. It then joined the Mullin Collection in 2008. Against a pre-sale estimate of between $125k and $175k, it sold for $472,500.

Other highlights from the sale included a 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster that sold for $1.105m against a $1m-$1.3m estimate, an unrestored Chapron-bodied 1947 Delahaye Type 135MS that sold for $70k against a $100k-$150k estimate, a Chapron-bodied 1937 Delage D8-120 Three-Position Cabriolet that sold for $731k against an $800k-$1m estimate, and a Graber-bodied 1937 Bugatti Type 57 Galibier that sold for $179,200 against an $80k-$120k estimate. For the full results, more information can be found here. The Pluriel? It sold for $11,760 against an $8k-$12k estimate.

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