1932 Bugatti Type 49 Cabriolet For Sale by AuctionFrench title
Chassis number 49469
Engine number 397
- Superb original condition
- Elegant original body
- Succession of well-known, enthusiastic owners
- Type 49 engine
This car, which left the factory in December 1931 with engine number 341, was ordered for 44,150.30 francs (plus an additional 1000 francs for the Bugatti alloy wheels) by Bariquand & Marre, a company based at 127, rue Oberkampf, in the 11th arrondissement of Paris. Its activities included the manufacture of the Smith-Bariquand carburettors which were fitted to the 5-litre Type 46 and 50 Bugattis, among others.
The bill of sale for this Type 49 was issued on 22 January 1931 and, fitted with a Parisian three-position cabriolet body which it still has today, it was delivered on 2 March 1932. On 1 August 1938, it was given the registration 9975-RL9, corresponding to the department of Paris in the pre-1950 system. Later, it turned up in the hands of Robert Cornière, who registered it in his name in August 1950, with the registration number 3107 L 75. Cornière, who died in 2001, was one of the very first collectors and, as a Bugatti enthusiast, was known for the enormous collection of documents he amassed, one of the largest in France. During the time he owned the car, for reasons which are unknown, but perhaps following a breakdown, he replaced engine number 341 with number 397 from another Type 49 Bugatti which he owned (chassis number 49505). It is believed that engine number 341 was later fitted to René Giordano's Bugatti, chassis number 48505. In any event, it was still a Type 49 3.3-litre in-line eight-cylinder engine with twin spark plugs.
In 1958, Cornière sold the car to Jean de Dobbeleer, another leading Bugatti enthusiast, who sold it in turn the following year to Wynant Dean, a resident of Louisville, Kentucky in the United States. Dean still owned it in 1962, but shortly afterwards it was bought by Paul Morgan, who lived at the time in Philadelphia and then in Westchester. He kept the car until his death in 1998, after which it passed to his children Paul and Mary. On 3 August 2002, it was offered for sale at the Meadow Brook auction but did not change hands after it failed to reach its reserve. At the end of 2002, however, its owners found a buyer: Mark Smith from Skippack in Pennsylvania. Smith had Ralph di Stefano from Pottstown (Pennsylvania) complete the restoration which Morgan had begun. He subsequently sold the Bugatti 49 cabriolet to Nick Harley, who in turn sold it to a magistrate in the south of France.
Today, the car is in very good original condition, with its well-preserved original bodywork, including the wooden structure. The leather upholstery is partly restored and partly original, with a snakeskin appearance, while the carpets and hood have been refurbished. It is fitted with Bugatti alloy wheels, including twin spare wheels. Although the car runs and the gears engage correctly, it is recommended that a complete mechanical overhaul be carried out before entering a rally or undertaking a long trip.
The car comes with a very interesting history file, including some period photos and an old French title. It should also be noted that the Type 49 Bugattis are considerably cheaper than the Bugatti 57 Stelvios, whilst being lighter and rarer, and offer similar performance. In addition, this car presents several noteworthy qualities: it still has its original body (one of the most elegant to survive on a Type 49) and has belonged to a succession of well-known and discerning owners. All of these are points which will not go unnoticed by the keen enthusiast.
Photos © Dirk de Jager
Estimation 400 000 - 600 000 €