Bugatti breaking records

5 Classic Bugatti Cars Breaking Auction Records in 2020

The value of historic Bugatti cars continues to rise. In 2020, the five most valuable vehicles that were sold at auction internationally were all from Molsheim.

Even with the challenges with the pandemic, auction houses Bonhams and Gooding & Company reported that the historic Bugattis auctioned broke records. In fact, it is the first time that that five of the most expensive cars sold at an auction were produced by a single manufacturer. 

Ettore Bugatti

It is widely known that Bugatti automobiles have always been exclusive, with their value growing alongside their age. Frank Wilkie from Classic Analytics stated:

“Bugattis from the Ettore and Jean Bugatti era, especially in their original condition and with a history of racing, have always been among the most expensive classic cars on the market. This trend has held steady and in fact even increased despite the general decline in interest in pre-war vehicles.”

Here is a look at the top 5 Bugatti cars that sold in 2020:

Bugatti Type 59 Sports  (Chassis 57248)

In September 2020, Gooding & Company auctioned a 1934 Bugatti Type 59 Sports with chassis number 57248. It would sell for USD 12.681 million making it one of the most expensive Bugattis to be ever sold in a public auction.  

The Bugatti Type 59 Sports was built as a racing car for the Bugatti Grand Prix factory team where it went on to win the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa, and later it finished third in the Monaco Grand Prix. 

Some of the biggest names in Bugatti racing have also handled the car, including Louis Chiron, Robert Benoist, René Dreyfus, Jean-Pierre Wimille, and Achille Varzi.

1934 Bugatti Type 59 Sports

After completing a successful racing season, the Type 59 was converted into a sports car by Bugatti and in 1937, it was purchased by King Leopold of Belgium.  

The vehicle has been kept in its original, unrestored condition. It is equipped with a 3.3-liter 8-cylinder in-line engine and a supercharger with a power output of around 250 PS.

back of 1934 Bugatti Type 59 Sports
steering wheel

Bugatti Type 57S Atalante  (Chassis 57502) 

A rare and highly desirable 1937 Type 57S Atalante was sold at the Gooding & Company auction in London in 2020 for the sum of €10.44M.

The example is a truly distinguishing model that the British racing driver and Bugatti enthusiast Earl Howe purchased in 1937.

Bugatti Type 57S Atalante
Bugatti Type 57S Atalante body
interior of Bugatti Type 57S Atalante

Only 17 Bugatti Type 57S examples were given the popular Atalante body. It is equipped with a turbocharged 3.3-liter 8-cylinder engine that can produce up to 175PS. 


1932 Bugatti Type 55 Super Sport Roadster  (Chassis 55220) 

In March 2020, Bonhams’ Amelia Island auction sold a 1932 Bugatti Type 55 Super Sport Roadster that had a factory body that was designed by Jean Bugatti for USD 7.1 million.

In total, Bugatti constructed 38 units of Type 55 Super Sport chassis, and only 14 of them had a Jean Bugatti designed roadster body. Of the 14, only 11 are known to still exist today.

The Type 55 was ordered new by the third Baron Rothschild, Victor Rothschild, where it remained in his collection for decades.

1932 Bugatti Type 55 Super Sport Roadster
front of 1932 Bugatti Type 55 Super Sport Roadster

It was later acquired by Dean S. Edmonds Jr. in 1985 for GBP 440,000. At the time, it was considered the most expensive car that was ever sold in Britain. The Type 55 was subsequently restored and in 1993, won first place in its class at Pebble Beach.  


1928 Bugatti Type 35C (Chassis 4871)

The Bugatti Type 35C Grand Prix broke two records when it was auctioned in 2020 by Gooding and Company in London. It was part of the 5 most expensive vehicles sold in auction by a single manufacturer, and after having been sold by Gooding & Company for USD 5.23M, became the most expensive Type 35 sold at auction.

The Bugatti Type 35C Grand Prix, chassis 4871, was initially made for the 1928 Targa Florio. French racing driver, Jannine Jennky was its first private owner who won the first-ever Coupe de Bourgogne in Dijon in the car.

The example is more than 90 years old and since 1932, it only had four owners. It remains preserved in its original, unrestored condition. 

Bugatti Type 35C Grand Prix

The Type 35C that Bugatti produced up until 1930 had an 8-cylinder in-line engine and a capacity of two liters. With the assistance of a Roots-type supercharger, the Type 35C can produce 128PS, which enabled it to reach a top speed of more than 200kph back in 1928. 

front of Bugatti Type 35C Grand Prix

Bugatti Type 55 Super Sport (Chassis 55221) 

In February 2020, a 1931 Bugatti Type 55 was sold for USD 5.07M in Paris at the Rétromobile 2020 auctions which made Chassis number 55221 the most expensive car that was sold at the auction.

Bugatti Type 55 Super Sport

In 1932, the example was driven by Count Guy Bouriat-Quintart and Louis Chiron as a factory racing car in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Subsequently, the owner equipped the car with a distinct Figoni body and it remained with the family for more than 60 years. It is equipped with a 2.3-liter 8-cylinder turbocharged engine that can produce 160 PS. 

rear of Bugatti Type 55 Super Sport

[Source: Bugatti]