17 Jul 2009

1925 Bugatti Brescia Recovered From Lake Maggiore

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2008 Rocky Mountain Concours d’Elegance, Category:Prewar – Best in Class: 1920 Bugatti Type 13, Ron Hetherington, Centennial, Colorado

Noah Joseph
at Autoblog reports on the recovery of a treasure from an Italian Lake 80 years later.

The Bugatti Type 13 – Ettore Bugatti’s first automobile to speak of – was a revolutionary design for its time and went on to claim innumerable race victories and put the fledgling company on the map until the outbreak of the First World War put everything on hold in Europe. When the war was over, Europe began the task of rebuilding itself and racing resumed. …

In 1921, Bugatti redesigned the engine with one of the first four-valve heads in the industry and fielded a team at the Brescia Grand Prix, where it swept the competition by claiming first, second, third and fourth places. A public looking for something to celebrate was enamored, so Bugatti gave the Type 13 the Brescia nameplate and began selling customer versions.

Four years later, a Swiss dealer placed an order for three Bugatti Brescias, and while the first two were paid up in full, the third customer somehow failed to pay the applicable duties to import the car and it was subsequently abandoned in Lake Maggiore in northern Italy along the Swiss border. There it sank deeper and deeper for decades before being discovered by divers in the 1960’s.

Since then, the Brescia remained a sunken treasure until this past Sunday when a diving crew raised the long-lost Bugatti out of the lake. The car had been sitting on the lake bed for so long that once brought back onto dry land, one of the tires burst with a startling bang. The car will now undergo a full restoration and will be auctioned off to benefit the Damiano Tamagni Foundation, which works to prevent youth violence.

Basler Zeitung (German)

3:10 video

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