The Bugatti Type 41 Royale is one of the grandest of vehicles. One was recently completed with a documentary created of the entire process.
The Bugatti Chiron and Veyron are some of the most expensive production cars in the World. It just so happens that if one were to come up for sale, a Bugatti would also be one of the most expensive cars to ever sell. Some experts believe it would be the first car to ever sell in the nine figures.
The Bugatti Type 41 or the Royale was designed and built to be the biggest, most luxurious, and most expensive car in the World. When it was designed, it was supposed to be sold only to royalty.
Launched during the Great Depression, 25 were planned but only six were ever built. The last time a Bugatti Royale changed hands was in 1999 but at the time,
Currently, four are owned by museums and a fifth is owned by the Volkswagen Group, the parent company of Bugatti. It is not known who owns the sixth Bugatti.
There is also a seventh Bugatti Royale that has appeared on the scene, if you will.
Bugatti Type 41 Prototype with a Packard body
The Old Motor, a publication by Hemmings Motor News called the vehicle a recreation of Ettore Bugatti’s 1926 Torpedo Packard Prototype for the Royale.
When it was first built, the wheelbase of the chassis was an incredible 169.3 inches and fitted with a Packard touring car body from the 1920s. The engine was a 15-liter straight-8 producing bwtween 275 and 300 horsepower.
The prototype was given a two-door fixed-head coupe with coachwork by Weymann in Paris. The vehicle was destroyed by Ettore Bugatti himself in 1930 or 1931 when he fell asleep at the wheel.
Arising from the ashes
The prototype was rebuilt a second time with a Coupe Napoleon body. During World War II, the prototype and two production vehicles were sealed into the walls of the family home in Ermenonville, France to hide the vehicles from the Nazis.
Today, that car is one of two on display at the Musee National de l’Automobile de Mulhouse. The collection is the former Schlumpf Collection.
The Bugatti radiator
All of the other Type 41 Bugattis were fitted with a smaller straight-8 having only 12.7-liters of displacement. It was mated to a three-speed gearbox. Every Bugatti Royale was 21 feet long, 20 percent longer and 25 percent heavier than the current Rolls Royce Phantom.
Atop every horseshoe radiator is a sculpture of a posed elephant that was created by Ettore’s bother Rembrandt Bugatti. The dashknobs were made of whalebone while the steering wheel is made of walnut.
The discovery and recreation of the Bugatti Type 41 prototype is really an amazing story. N-TV from the Netherlands created a documentary file covering the entire rebuild process. This is a promotional video for the documentary.
The original frame of the prototype was completely replaced after the Bugatti crash. It was later discovered in the United States.
The company behind the project, Hevec Classic Cars in the Netherlands located a mid-1920s Packard touring car body, a replica Bugatti Royale engine and a large assortment of original Bugatti parts.
Two thousand of the 26,000 images in the Bugatti Trust were used to recreate the missing parts when needed. It was an exhaustive restoration with no stone left unturned.
Nine Bugatti Royales?
This seventh Bugatti Royale could very well be the ninth if you consider the number of exact replicas that have been built over the years. One was built by the Schlumpf Brothers using original Bugatti parts. That car is now in the French Musee National de l”Automobile de Mulhouse. The second Type 41 replica was built by British businessman Tom Wheatcroft.
In 1999, the Volkswagen Group is said to have paid $20 million to acquire its Bugatti Royale from an American collector. Collectors has suggested that if one of the original six Royale’s were to come up for sale, it may well become the first nine-figure vehicle ever sold, exceeding the $38 million paid in August 2014 for a classic 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO.
Photos: Bugatti Page