1927 Bugatti Type 35B Grand Prix ex- George Eyston, Penn-Hughes, Stubberfield
Surely among the last of her kind, this Type 35B offers the lucrative chance to carry out a first restoration on a Grand Prix Bugatti with continuous history – and to return her to competition in the tradition of her line of celebrated owners. This Type 35B had a distinguished racing life in period competition with Captain G.E.T. Eyston and others, and post-war carried on with well-known pioneers and VSCC stalwarts campaigning in innumerable competitions and hill climbs right into the 1980s.
Delivered to new to London, first owner Baron Leo d’Erlanger was a young merchant banker who later in life became chairman of the nascent Channel Tunnel Company. Chassis 4848’s early competition history was with speed king George Eyston, best known for setting three land speed records aboard Thunderbolt, latterly at 357.5 mph.
Eyston was present at over 14 international events with the Bugatti from Brooklands to La Baule and Montlhéry further afield. At Brooklands, Eyston made nine Class D record breaking runs in the Bugatti during 1927 and 1929 and finally achieved his Brooklands 120mph badge in 1929.
The young Clifford Penn-Hughes took ownership in 1930, gaining his own coveted Brooklands 120 mph badge in June 1931. Already a Monaco veteran, an entry in 4848 for 1932 sadly came to naught with brake failure and an off in practice, and the Bugatti moved on to a brief interlude with Bobby Bowes.
Later with Jack Duller, younger brother of Bentley Boy George Duller, she gained notoriety for a lurid spin into the Brooklands infield at a meeting in 1933 (Duller emerging unscathed). Rebuilt with a factory chassis direct from Molsheim (number 744) still present today, she reappeared in ’34 and ’35, and with the champion speedway rider Fay Taylour in ’38.
Emerging post-war with Jack Fairman at Shelsley Walsh in June 1946, she found a superb home that year with leading sprint and hillclimber Peter Stubberfield, who converted her to single-seater form. Fastest time of day at VSCC Prescott in August 1946 set the pattern for eleven years of countless victories, accompanied by wife Kay and faithful boxer dog Bruce, who spent hours in the seat taking in the scene.
With Frank Wall from 1963, the ex-Stubberfield single-seater continued to be campaigned enthusiastically, with the drives shared with the great Hamish Moffatt, famed for taking his ’23 Lagonda the length of Africa in the early ‘50s. Importantly, Wall re-acquired the original Grand Prix scuttle and tail sections, which remain with the Bugatti today.
In 1982 chassis 4848 was acquired by one of the leading UK-based collectors of the era with an exceptional passion for motor cars. Now offered from more than 40 years of continuous family ownership, her restoration to original form has been started and her earlier history is detailed in an accompanying report by Bugatti historian Mark Morris.
Retaining her original engine numbered 120T and reunited with the original scuttle and tail, any onlooker can immediately grasp the immense possibilities – suitable for a wide variety of events, and certain to reward a fortunate new owner with years of the greatest and most well-deserved pleasure.