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Bugatti Coachbuild to debut at The Quail

Wed, 15 Aug 2012

After 73 years, Jean Bugatti's final masterpiece has been completed, and the 1939 Bugatti Type 64 Coupe Chassis (No. 64002) will debut with its recently completed coachbuilt body Aug. 17 at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering.

First designed in 1939 by revered designer and engineer Jean Bugatti (1909-1939), the chassis was never finished, due to Bugatti's tragic death during the road test of a Bugatti Type 57. After years of extensive research by the Mullin Automotive Museum, which owns the car, and more than a year of planning and coachwork, this Friday will mark the first time Jean Bugatti's final chassis will wear a streamlined, handcrafted body, a vision left unfulfilled for 73 years.

Created in collaboration with the Mullin Automotive Museum, Stewart Reed Design and Automobile Metal Shaping Company, the new body will pay homage to Jean Bugatti's original concept. The hand-formed body, crafted using many of the same coachbuilding techniques employed in 1939, will feature numerous original styling cues including iconic papillon (much like gullwing) doors and an intricate riveted body structure. The body was constructed so that it can be easily removed from the chassis, revealing the intricate design.

“We've dedicated much of our efforts at the museum to honor the Bugatti family and the marque, but never have we done something of this scale,” said Peter Mullin, chairman of the Mullin Automotive Museum. “I cannot imagine a greater token of respect to the Bugatti family than to help finish Jean Bugatti's beloved final masterpiece.”

Those unable to attend The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering will have the opportunity to view this piece of automotive history at the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, Calif., this fall, among the museum's collection of prewar coachbuilt automobiles.

Courtesy of the Mullin Automotive Museum
An overhead view of the handcrafted body for the 1939 Bugatti Type 64 Coupe.

By Roger Hart