The story of this two-seat convertible began in 1934 when the car was built as the Type 59 Sports based on the chassis of the Type 57 series. A short time later, this car was replaced by a special new chassis to participate in the next Grand Prix races.

The car was also driven by many legendary drivers, including driver René Dreyfus, a leading driver of the pre-war period and a hero of the French resistance. In addition, this car is also driven by drivers Robert Benoist and Jean Pierre Wimille. One of the later owners of the legendary racing car was racer King Leopold III of Belgium – an avid Bugatti fan. Recently, the Bugatti Type 59 Sports was awarded the prestigious FIVA Trophy for “Well-Preserved Pre-War Car” as part of the world-famous Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’Este in Italy.

Bugatti first launched the Type 59 Sports car on September 24, 1933 at the San Sebastian Grand Prix. The car is equipped with a turbocharged inline eight-cylinder engine. Bugatti first used the Type 59 Sports with a 3.3 liter 8-cylinder engine (number 5) in the 1934/1935 season. Driver René Dreyfus drove the car to a third-place finish at the Monaco Grand Prix in April 1934.
Robert Benoist drove the car to a fourth-place finish at the French Grand Prix in Montlhéry in July of the same year and achieved a similar result at the British Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps.

At the Spanish Grand Prix in September, Jean-Pierre Wimille finished sixth. Ettore Bugatti retired from Grand Prix racing with the Type 59 Sports and sold four of them to car enthusiasts in the UK. One of these cars was converted into a racing car by Bugatti himself in Molsheim. To this day, the Type 59 Sports remains the only Grand Prix car to be converted into a sports car at the factory and survives to this day in extremely original condition.

Engineers removed the turbocharger from the engine compartment and installed a new oil tank with two lubrication pumps and a fully synchronized four-speed dry gearbox with central shift paddles. The team also revised the bodywork with small fenders, small windshield, small headlights and the car was also engraved with the new chassis number 57248. Jean-Pierre Wimille also used the Type 59 Sports sports car from 1935 in the new 750 kg weight class. In the 1937 season, this Type 59 Sports with Wimille at the wheel won the Grand Prix de Pau and de Tunis and de Marseille.

Affectionately called “La Grand Mère” by the mechanics in Molsheim, the sports car competed in races in Africa and won the Algerian Grand Prix. In July 1937, Jean-Pierre Wimille won the Grand Prix with the Type 59 in the Grand Prix de la Marne on the track at Reims, three minutes ahead of the runner-up. At the end of the season, a long-time Bugatti customer purchased this special sports car with a successful racing history and that customer was King Leopold III of Belgium.

Ettore Bugatti once repainted the car for the Sultan in the Sultan’s favorite color of black, and it was decorated with a yellow stripe. Leopold III and his wife were deported to Saxony in June 1944, and after the war the family initially went into exile in Switzerland. It was not until 1959 that the former king and his family moved to Argenteuil Castle in the province of Brabant-Wallonia with one of the main assets being a Bugatti.

In 1967, the former King sold the Bugatti to a Belgian collector and this collector kept the car for about 20 years and did not restore it once. In 1989, the race car was transferred to an American Bugatti enthusiast, who also kept the exterior in original condition and only restored the mechanicals. After that, the sports car was moved to two other garages owned by famous collectors. This car is currently owned by a Bugatti enthusiast. Paint that is still good but rusted has been carefully preserved, and damaged areas have only been lightly repaired. Other time marks such as scratched leather seats and scratches on the wooden steering wheel are still retained in their original form.

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