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This car sold for US$360,000 in this condition ... and will not be restored

By

February 1, 2010

One of the most remarkable stories of automotive history closed another fascinating chapter at the third annual Bonhams Rétromobile sale on January 23, 2010 when the legendary Lake Maggiore 1925 Bugatti Type 22 Brescia fetched EUR 260,500.

One of the most remarkable stories of automotive history closed another fascinating chapter at the third annual Bonhams Rétromobile sale on January 23, 2010 when the legendary Lake Maggiore 1925 Bugatti Type 22 Brescia fetched EUR 260,500.

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An archeological find of some magnitude went under the hammer on January 23, 2010, when a rusted 1925 Bugatti Type 22 Brescia that had spent the last three quarters of a century at the bottom of a lake in North Italy was auctioned.

When found and raised, it validated a legend that had circulated for 70 years. Mercifully, it will not be restored, but will live on in the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California in its partially reclaimed glory as living proof of the craftsmanship of the era in general, and the Bugatti marque in particular. The underbidder, an American, had intended to restore the car.

One of the most remarkable stories of automotive history closed another fascinating chapter at the third annual Bonhams Rétromobile sale on January 23 when the legendary Lake Maggiore 1925 Bugatti Type 22 Brescia fetched EUR 260,500.

The car was raised from the floor of Lake Maggiore in Northern Italy last July, where it had been more than 50 meters below the surface, for over 70 years.

The story of the majestic two-seater began in April 1925 when it was delivered new to an architect living in Nancy, France. Three years later, the owner moved to Switzerland, taking his Bugatti with him, but he failed to pay the import duty on the car. On leaving Switzerland, the Frenchman left the car to his Swiss hosts in Tessin. In 1937 its new owners, fearing that they may be fined for failing to pay the hefty import duty, dumped the car in the lake.

It hence became one of those urban legends. Some believed it to be true, that such a car had been dumped in the lake, but most did not.

Rumours circulated for seven decades of a pristine Bugatti being at the bottom of the Lake, before members of the Centro Sport Subacquei Salvataggio Ascona located the 84-year-old Bugatti and brought it to the surface on July 2009. Considering it has been sub merged for nearly three quarters of a century, the car was in remarkable condition.

They do not make 'em like this any more.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The "Lady of the Lake" is now on display at the Mullin Automotive Museum.

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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8 Comments

Wow! That\'s a lot of cash to not restore the car...

Facebook User

It is a piece of history.

Bugatti cars are renowned for creativity, and obviously from the look of this car, craftsmanship.

There is no reason to restore the car, it has a history, the confirmed urban legend as well as being older than most of the people reading this article in the first place. Even in that condition if nothing else it\'s a testament to the craftsmanship that Bugatti should be proud of.

Mike Wilburn

i will restore this car as soon as possible :D

Monster

Hey Mike, isn't Bugatti French?

frank

So.... now that it\'s out of the water... this thing should slowly flake away to iron-oxide dust in about a year. Any thoughts on how they plan to prevent that?

Restoring it would bring back it\'s beauty, and preserve it... far better than a layer of mud. It looks like the Beverly Hillbillies jalopy at this point...

matthew.rings

You really should not restore this car because it is a car with a legend attached and leaving it in its unrestored state shows the connection to its watery legend. If it were restored, it would be a beautiful Bugatti, of course, but in this state it is easier to establish its unique history. It is more a curiosity than a car at this point. It has so much water damage that hardly any of the original car would be left if it were \"restored\". I agree with keeping it unrestored.

Senhor Wynn

Hi everyone. I am on a team of engineers working on preserving this car. The owners would like it kept in the condition it is now. We will work on stabilizing the corrosion through the power of chemistry! It will be in a glass display in the Peter Mullen museum in CA. The case will be filled with an inert gas to assure that no more of the car is lost. If you have any ideas on a process we should use let me know! Thanks!

Hannah Grooms

i am impressed with this car because only of its compact design. reduction in engine size w16. the better way than i thought about the reduction in size of a multi cylinder engine..................great.

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