- Chassis # 510B0
- Engine # 510BO
- A Tool Room Copy Of One Of Ettore’s Most Venerable Racing Machines
- One Careful Owner From New
- Meticulously Maintained And Serviced Exclusively By Marque Specialist High Mountain Classics
- Ready To Be Driven & Shown
The Type 51 is one of Bugatti’s most recognizable race cars and the spiritual successor to the dominant Type 35. While visually identical to the Type 35, the Type 51 housed a supercharged DOHC 2.3L straight-8 engine that put out 160 hp. Today, these 1930s legends are as rare as they are technologically impressive, with only 40 examples ever built by Bugatti.
With these original examples being practically unobtainium for many enthusiasts, Pur Sang of Argentina stepped up to offer an identical experience for a fraction of the price. Offered alongside other replicas like an Alfa Romeo Monza, the Pur Sang Type 51 is hand-built by hundreds of artisans in Argentina and offers the same thrill of the original with modern components and techniques like modern tires and seals implemented for safety. According to Pur Sang, each Type 51 is built using the same design and material specifications that the Bugatti factory used. This is not merely a replica, this is a bolt-for-bolt reproduction of Ettore’s racing machine that is practically indistinguishable, especially when you’re behind the wheel.
This particular example, Chassis # 510B0, was purchased new from Pur Sang by its current and only owner in September of 2008. Under the hood lives a 2.3L Supercharged Dual Overhead Cam Straight 8 engine which is virtually indistinguishable from the real thing both mechanically and in the experience it provides. Since purchase, it has always been serviced and maintained by High Mountain Classics, a Bugatti and pre-war automotive specialist shop in Fort Collins, CO. It has undergone numerous, multi-thousand dollar services and modifications at that shop throughout the years.
The car underwent a refresh beginning in October of 2009 where all of the suspension and steering components, fuel system, and brake system were removed before being cleaned, greased, and plated as needed. Reassembly began in late October and continued into early November of 2009 with the fuel tank, shocks, cross member, and electric fuel pump all being properly reinstalled alongside the remaining motor mounting bolts, headlamps, and steering wheel. Rounding out the refresh was a set of brand new tires and race tubes. The whole refresh took a few months and cost several thousand dollars in total.
The engine was detailed in January of 2010 before being strapped to a dyno and calibrated at Engle Automotive. The car’s fire extinguisher was moved to a more accessible location in January of 2011 and the Ki-gas pump had some of its fittings fixed to remedy a fuel leak. The water pump was modified three years later in 2014 as oil was making its way into the car’s water supply and the old fuel lines were replaced since they showed signs of cracking.
The most recent service record from August of 2017 shows that the Type 51 received a comprehensive inspection which yielded the need for a tune-up and tightening of several nuts and bolts. Some seals and gaskets were also changed including those around the fuel filler, windscreen, and shift lever. The starter cable was rerouted inside the cockpit, the supercharger oil reservoir tank had some of its solder joints redone to fix a leak, and a Brooklands passenger windscreen was installed.
As it sits, this Pur Sang Type 51 is one of the best opportunities to jump headfirst into the world of pre-war cars currently available on the market. With a distinguished pedigree and a spotless service record, it’s the perfect ride to take to select on and off track events, whether they be rallies or the green lawn of a concours. Most of all, it’s an opportunity to experience one of Ettore’s masterpieces, even if it doesn’t hail directly from Molsheim. Upon purchase, the new owner will receive copies of the original purchase documents as well as copies of the numerous pages of maintenance performed.
body and paint
The presentation of this Pur Sang is entering its prime. The more this car can be used the better it will get, as more patina (flaws) will only contribute to a more authentic look. This example has driver-quality cosmetics as it has seen extensive use. The paint is consistent throughout, and shiny, but not without minor flaws. Primer shrinkage is evident under the paint upon close inspection and minor chips can be found in high-impact areas such as the fenders. There is nothing that warrants refinishing, and overall one can be proud of the presentation.
glass and trim
What little glass there is, is without blemishes. The trim throughout appears to be complete and well-replicated from an original.
The wheels are quintessentially Bugatti presenting with a mix of raw casting and light polishing they are free of any major issues but do have minor flaws upon close inspection.
seats and surfaces
The spartan interior shows well with signs of use but is overall clean. The upholstery/leather is in good condition with one little scratch to note that will fade in overtime. There is minor scratching in the footwell, but otherwise, the driver is presented with a beautiful machine-turned dash, correct reproduction instruments, and other accessories.
functionality and accessories
Everything appears to be in correct working order, even the auxiliary hand pumps function if valves are turned to allow for their function. A well-sorted example in proper working order.
engine bay and trunk
The engine bay is reflective of a jewelry-like presentation. The quality of machine work and overall presentation are excellent. There are leaks to be found, and rubber items that do show some age, but did not warrant servicing during the recent service that was performed. Functional and presentable but with minor faults.
The underside is very simple, flat, and essentially one piece of metal. Beyond signs of use and minor (expected) leaks there are no issues to report.
The engine starts easily and sounds healthy. Once at temperature, it holds oil pressure well and keeps within an acceptable temperature range. It should be noted that the spark plugs tend to foul unless the car is consistently run at higher RPM, keeping it running clean/clear within an optimum rev range. Otherwise, there are no unwanted noises, no excessive or concerning smoking, and overall reflects that of a well serviced and sorted example. The only item we noticed during our test drive is that the throttle tends to stick in the first ¼ of its operational range on occasion.
Though it takes some getting used to, due to the lack of synchros, the gear box performs as expected and even better once mastered. All gears are in correct working order and the clutch works as intended as well.
brakes and suspension
The brakes work well and are synched up nicely given they are cable controlled. There is no pulling or pulsating. The suspension feels firm and very compliant while presenting wonderful road manners and feedback.
The tires are Blockey Special 5.00-19 on all 4 corners with considerable tread depth and are supple.
Whether a genuine original or masterfully recreated, we don’t think one could tell the difference when behind the wheel. This is as tactile of an experience as any one vehicle can give a driver. There is a lot to learn but the more comfortable you get the more rewarding it can be. It is visceral but admittedly dangerous to drive. With careful attention, it will make for an excellent back road touring car or show stopper at your local cars and coffee/community. A truly unique experience.