MAY 13th 2014

Cars that rocked Monaco: Bugatti T35

Any paddock area reserved for Pre-War Grand Prix cars is going to be full-to-bursting with particularly special racing cars, and the Monaco Historique was no exception, however we’ve picked one out that stood out as being a little different from the rest.
Even sat amongst the imposing Alfa Romeos, brutish ERAs, and the various supercharged Bugattis Chris Jaques’ Type 35 stood out; its super-skinny tyres betraying its lack of a supercharger, but also lending it charm by the mile.
‘It isn’t burning methanol, either!’ exclaims experienced pilot Rob Newall. ‘It does drift beautifully though. The shift pattern is back-to-front, and the brakes aren’t that good so it does demand a lot of planning ahead.’
This is quite a special car, whose history is as rich as you’d expect of a Bugatti Type 35. It was delivered from Molsheim to none other than Malcolm Campbell on 31st July 1926. After a time in the hands of the great Amherst Viliers it was raced by the noted enthusiast Alex Spottiswoode at Brooklands, Chalfont St Peter, Shelsley Walsh, and Prescott amongst other notable events of the time.
The car was then owned and campaigned by Irishman Hugh McFerran and Rochdale-based Charles Moore before finding its way to the much-admired firm of Crosthwaite and Gardiner who carried out a meticulous restoration, as you can see…
Since then it’s raced at Goodwood (twice), Monaco (twice), LeMans, and Brooklands amongst others, and has an enviable finishing rate.
‘It is a bit breathless though going up the hill here at Monaco though’ continues Newall. ‘Shifting accurately is the key to going quickly with it. It’s not that heavy… but not that light either. In fact it’s a bit of a wrestle really.’ Asked if there was any hope of a win, the ace pilot replied ‘oh no. In fact, the last time it was here the winning ERA was crossing the finish line as I was driving up Beau Rivage! We might be the quickest Bugatti though.’
With such an acute lack of horsepower due to the acute lack of a supercharger and several hundred cubic centimetres, to have achieved that would have been a neat trick indeed. A quick scan of the practise times later on confirmed that he’d done it though. Good show, sir!

Share this