1931 Bugatti T51 Dubos Coupé

The Bugatti Dubos Coupé going across the stage at Pebble Beach 2003

This Bugatti Coupé originally started life as a Bugatti factory team Type 51 Grand Prix racer that was driven to great success by legendary French racing drivers Louis Chiron in 1931, and by Rene Dreyfus in 1931 and 1932. The car was reportedly given to Chiron by Ettore Bugatti after the 1931 race season and was used by him for sometime thereafter. After Chiron sold the car, it was eventually acquired by Parisian playboy Andre Bith, heir to a pharmaceutical fortune.

Louis Chiron with a Bugatti Type 51 racer

1937 - The Dubos coupe on the streets of Paris

Andre Bith initially modified the Grand Prix Type 51 by adding headlamps, cycle style fenders, moving the spare wheel to the rear and painting the car black. In this configuration, Bith drove the Bugatti in rallies and sporting events after the modification.

Being friends with Jean Bugatti, the talented designer and son of Ettore Bugatti were friends and lunched together often. When Jean Bugatti drove his revolutionary Atlantic coupe to one of their meetings, Bith was so impressed he immediately started plans to produce a stylish rendition of his own on his Type 51. Bugatti factory driver Andre Roland reportedly assisted Bith in the design and helped him obtain a competent coachbuilder.

Renowned Carrosserie Louis Dubos from Paris was selected and started the new coachwork on the Bugatti on car April 2, 1937 and delivered it to Bith on July 20 1937. The finished car was truly spectacular, the swoopy aerodynamic and finned exterior was resplendent in dark lavender blue with tan pigskin grained leather interior and was complete with a beautifully polished Sycamore wood trimming. Bith was delighted with the results and he proudly entered the car in the 1937 Bagatelle Concours d'Elegance where Mme. Jacqueline Ganet, the reigning Miss France, showed it. The car was well received and scored a win. The trophy was accepted by Mme. Ganet who wore a dress to compliment the beautiful Bugatti paint scheme.

On a rally -- note #44 on door

On the Colorado Grand with Sutherland -- 1997

Bith sold the car a few years later and lost track of it during WW II. The car survived the war and in the early 1950's was sold to American collector Gene Cesari. Mr. Cesari removed the body and exchanged it with American collector Eri Richardson who mated the coupé body with a made-up Type 51 Bugatti chassis. In this configuration and in the great enthusiast Bob Sutherland's hands, it was vintage raced at the Monterey Historics and was a regular on the Colorado Grand events for years. Meanwhile, California car collector J.B. Nethercutt had purchased the Type 51 original chassis #51133 from Gene Cesari and restored it as a Grand Prix with a replica body by renowned Bugatti authority O.A. Phillips.

The Bugatti was a popular feature of the Nethercutt Collection for many years and then in August 2000 the Nethercutt Collection learned that the original Dubos coupé-bodied car would be available at auction due to Sutherland's death. The Nethercutt Collection was able to purchase the coupé with the intent to reunite it with its original chassis with the help of Andre Bith, now over 90 years old. Mr. Bith fondly remembered the car and supplied the Collection with original build documents, photos, receipts and many other remembrances of his years with the car.

At least a weeks worth of labor here!

As debuted at Pebble Beach - 2003

After nearly 50 years the 1931 Bugatti Dubos Coupé is now reunited with it's original chassis #51133 by the craftsmen in the Nethercutt Collection's renowned restoration shops. A total authentic restoration of both the chassis and body with painstaking attention to authenticity was debuted at the 2003 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

MODEL: Type 51
CHASSIS No. 51133
COACHBUILDER: Louis Dubos Paris, France
BORE: 60mm/2.36"
STROKE: 100mm/3.93"
DISPLACEMENT: 2.3L/136.5cu.in

Incredible amounts of hand detailing here

At the Polo Fields in the morning

Simple elegance at its finest

In sunshine, the paint shifts to purple!

Interior -- note the racecar cowl

Awaiting announcement for the winner

Note the location of the gas filler

A view the curve and symmetry of the rear

Making sure the headlights are level

Test fitting rear fenders

Rebuilt engine on the dynometer

The racecar chassis completed

Higher resolution and size pictures available upon request.
Detailed chassis shots also.
Please contact myself if interested.

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