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Wednesday, March 11, 2020

The story of Bugatti post-war comeback with its Type 101

Despite the company glory years of success during the 1920s and 1930s, both on and off the racing track, turn out Bugatti should be entered into difficult years postwar in the long and exhaust disarray. It started when a tragedy happened, Ettore's heir, talented and creative Jean Bugatti, died in a tragic testing accident in 1939, making them all feel sad and devastated. At the same time, the company was ruined apart physically, managerially and financially as a result of the raging of the 2nd World War in Europe.
The one-off Bugatti Type 101 'Berline' with the chassis number 101.500 is designed by Louis Lepoix and then constructed by the German coachbuilder, Karosseriebau Hermann Spohn. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/3aunMwK)
While Ettore Bugatti himself was isolated in Paris shortly after war's end. He was judged a belligerent by the postwar French government because of his Italian citizenship and stripped of his property. The climax, when he died in 1947, at only age 58, split everything that could be recovered from the Bugatti's enterprise into two camps along the lines of the families of his two marriages.
The prototype of Bugatti Type 101 'Berline' 4-doors saloon was built based on a prewar chassis of Type 57. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/3aunMwK)
Meanwhile besides families, workers, and designers who previously had worked under the guidance of Le Patron to the onset of the war felt that's also were their responsibilities to help the company to get out of these difficult times and seem had spurred them to make the allure Bugatti automobile emerged again and respected in the world's automotive.
This early model of Bugatti Type 101 'Berline' 4-doors saloon with the chassis number of 101-500 was only one unit ever built and now sat on display at the Cité de l’Automobile in Mulhouse. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/39An5lz)
Under the leadership of Ettore's youngest son, Roland and assisted by Bugatti General Manager, Piere Marco who was also known as a former company's racer tried to blow some new life into the family company after Le Patron died. Shortly after, the Bugatti Type 73 powered by a supercharged one-liter engine is made and displayed at the 1947 Paris Salon de l'Automobile but it gains less attention and noted as one of the unsuccessful car models.
The Bugatti Type 73 powered by a supercharged one-liter engine is made and displayed at the 1947 Paris Salon de l'Automobile(Picture from: http://bit.ly/3aCowA0)
Finally, they decided to make a new model. Actually, the French company was not build one, but more than one on six (some said seven) chassis of prewar Type 57 and called it under the same name the Bugatti Type 101 and built by four different coachbuilders, ie Gangloff, Guilloré, Antem, and Ghia. As quoted by Coachbuild, the first known as the prototype, its design is done by Louis Lucien Lepoix and then the German coachbuilder, Hermann Spohn (Karosseriebau Hermann Spohn) is contracted for the execution in 1950. There is a mismatch of data, when some said it build by Alphonse Guilloré. Then who actually built it? Who knows?
1951 Bugatti Type 101 Guilloré Coupe with the chassis number of 101-502. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/2Q2milt)
As we mentioned above, it is built based on a prewar chassis of Type 57 and then had a minor design change by Lepoix and became the prototype of Type 101 series produced by Bugatti's coachbuilding partner with less good quality and weird look as it is. It's known only one unit ever built in this body configuration. This one-off car still existed until today and displayed at the Cité de l’Automobile in Mulhouse.

As quoted from Wikipedia, after the prototype finished and then on the chassis number of 101-501 and 101-503 made as the Type 101 Coupe and Cabriolets by Gangloff. Followed by the chassis number of 101-502 built as another Type 101 Coupe by Coach Guilloré.
At the 1950 Paris Salon de l'Automobile, Bugatti showed two examples of Type 101, a Coupe (up) and Cabriolet (below) with the chassis number of 101-501 and 101-503, both clothed by Gangloff, a Swiss/French coachbuilder. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/2xqVZz9)
The next car was built one of a kind with the chassis number 101-504. The coupe was bodied by Antem in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Paris for shown off at the 1951 Paris Salon de l'Automobile. This new model was largely based on a similar brilliant prewar Type 57, including the 3.3-liter dual-overhead-camshaft inline eight-cylinder engine and semi-independent front and live rear axle suspension.
This Bugatti Type 101 cabriolet with the chassis number of 101-503 was bodied by Gangloff. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/2TAlvur)
The car is also equipped with a Cotal pre-selector gearbox, it is the only example of Type 101 with this dramatic coachwork. Its coachwork, however, was thoroughly modern, a full-width streamlined envelope creation that owed only Bugatti’s trademark 'horseshoe' radiator grille to its prewar design heritage It brilliantly presented in black over red, and the Bugatti Type 101 Van Antem coupe has been preserved over the years by its succession of noted owner-collectors.
This Bugatti Type 101 with the chassis number of 101-504 was bodied by Antem in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Paris for shown off at the 1951 Paris Salon de l'Automobile. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/2IsX2AM)
There were only six copies of these made at the time. It was displayed together with the Gangloff drop head coupe before returning to Molsheim, where it was eventually registered for driving on the road and likely used by Rene Bolloré, the next husband of Ettore Bugatti’s widow Geneviève Delcluze.
This Bugatti Type 101 had once owned by the famous Hollywood star Nicolas Cages. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/3aCoWWV)
After that this legendary car repeatedly changed the owners, starting from Gene Cesari, Robert C. Stanley, Bill Harrah known became the next owner before being bought by Jacques Harguindeguy. From here the car was then sold to the famous Hollywood star Nicolas Cages.
This Bugatti Type 101 was bodied by Antem in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Paris and sold to an unknown buyer at the prices of the US. $616,000 in one auction event held by RM Sotheby at Monterey on August 20, 2011. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/3aCoWWV)
Subsequently, it was in the noted collection of Gene Ponder and later entered the John O'Quinn Collection in 2008. In the end, the car was sold to an unknown buyer at the prices of the US. $616,000 in one auction event held by RM Sotheby at Monterey on August 20, 2011.

And finally the last of Bugatti Type 101 was designed by Virgil Exner then built by Italian coachbuilder Ghia in 1965 on the chassis number of 101-506. 
It represents an elegant car of a revered French marque, although it ever lay dormant for the next four decades before the introduction of the stunning EB110 in the 1990s, then there's the breathtaking Veyron followed by the most recently the Chiron and the most expensive models like La Voiture Noir and many other.

Overall, it seems that all the revival efforts mentioned above do not bear fruit and finally the French car manufacturer was sold to Hispano Suiza in 1963. And once again the ownership of this company changed hands in July 1998 to the German automotive giant Volkswagen. Until now the company is owned by the German automotive company Volkswagen Group as a division of Volkswagen France. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | COACHBUILD | CONCEPTCARZ | MADLE.ORG | RMSOTHEBYS]
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