There was no end to the breadth of competitive events that the Type 37A was entered in. From conquering more powerful machinery in Grand Prix to endurance races such as Le Mans, Mille Miglia, Brooklands Double Twelve and Targa Florio, the 37A was in them all. The artistry and engineering, as with all Bugattis, was breathtaking and only 76 of the much rarer supercharged Type 37As were ever built.
Leaving the famous Molsheim factory in September 1927 with engine 182, 37283 was the second supercharged car, sold new to Omnia in Munich, before being acquired in 1932 by avid Bugatti enthusiast Belgian Alex Paul to join the T40 already in his stable. Paul kept a hand-written record of what he did to and with the car for the next 18 years. After competing in the 1937 Grand Prix des Frontieres a Chimay, Paul added a headrest and unique luggage to the Bugatti, and using a single Solex carburettor instead of the supercharger, in 1938 he and his wife took the Bugatti on an epic 4,000km tour of France, keenly keeping a diary of their adventure which was later created into hardback book form.
In 1940, the Paul’s were forced to flee to the south of France. The journey was slowed due to refugee crammed roads, and the Bugatti was impounded by the armies of Marshal Petain. Paul, very concerned as to the safety of his beloved Type 37A, one night bribed a guard who was supposed to be looking after it, disappearing off into the night. Not wanting to risk losing it again, he drove it through the night with fuel they had bought from a pharmacy! For the rest of the war, the Bugatti was hidden away in Brussels.
The 1946 Grand Prix de la Cambre saw the Bugatti’s final competitive outing, before being sold to M.R. Hamers in 1950. Hamers used the Bugatti on local rallies, parting with it in 1951 to another avid Bugattisti Stephane Falise who owned 37283 until 2009! For 22 of those years the 37A was kept company by the Leopold T59.
Recently inspected by Bugatti historian David Sewell, whose report will accompany the Bugatti, the 37A is the perfect mixture of road and race car – encompassing the Grand Prix character, but not the highly strung nature, of the Type 35. With four owners, the last for nearly 60 years, this Bugatti Type 37A is certainly one of the most original and probably the last un-restored example in the world.
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