2023 Gooding Pebble Beach Sale (Bugatti Type 55 Announced)

A 1933 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster (Estimate: $8,000,000 – $10,000,000) is the most expensive pre-war car on sale at the Gooding Pebble Beach 2023 classic car auction.

A 1933 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster (Estimate: $8,000,000 – $10,000,000) is the most expensive pre-war car on sale at the Gooding Pebble Beach 2023 classic car auction.
© Gooding

A classic 1933 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster (Estimate: $8,000,000 – $10,000,000) finished in yellow and black is the most expensive pre-war car on sale at any of the Monterey Ca Week 2023 classic car auctions. It is also the second most expensive car on offer at the Gooding Pebble Beach 2023 sale. It is one of only seven Type 55s to have retained its original Jean Bugatti roadster body and counts Ralph Lauren as a previous owner.

Gooding Pebble Beach Sale 2023

Gooding & Company Pebble Beach classic car auction 2023: 18 and 19 August 2023 at the Pebble Beach Parc du Concours during the annual Monterey Motoring Week in California, USA.

Previous Gooding Pebble Beach sale results during Monterey Week:

YearEarnings ($ million)Million-Dollar CarsLots Sold & Sell-Through Rate
2023$9524133 sold, average price $714,522
2022$10928135 of 158, 85%, average price of $810,758
2021$10724115 of 132, 87%, average price of $930,829
2020555 of 77, 71% (online-only auction)
2019$76.817108 of 140, 77%
2018$116.525123 of 147, 84%, average price of $947,174
2017$91.522110 of 135, 81%, average price of $832,670
2016$129.826115 of 138, 835, average price of $1,128,606

The Pebble Beach auction record is $22,000,000 paid for the 1935 Duesenberg SSJ in 2018. It is the most expensive car ever sold by Gooding, the most expensive American car ever, the most expensive pre-war car ever, and of course the Duesenberg marque record holder.

1933 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster at Gooding Pebble Beach 2023

A 1933 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster (Estimate: $8,000,000 – $10,000,000) is the most expensive pre-war car on sale at the Gooding Pebble Beach 2023 classic car auction.
© Gooding

A 1933 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster (Estimate: $8,000,000 – $10,000,000) is the most expensive pre-war car on sale at the Gooding Pebble Beach 2023 classic car auction and the second most expensive car in the sale behind the 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta (Estimate: $9,000,000 – $11,000,000).

Unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in October 1931, Jean Bugatti’s Type 55 was an ultra-high-performance machine, capable of reaching a top speed in excess of 110 mph. The model was the spiritual successor to the Type 43 Grand Sport, a road-going Grand Prix car combining the mechanics of the Type 35B with sporting coachwork.

Between 1931 and 1936, Bugatti built 38 examples of the Type 55, and of these, only 14 were originally fashioned with Jean Bugatti’s sublime roadster bodywork, such as the example on offer here. Of the 13 surviving roadsters today, just seven are understood to retain their original coachwork and matching-numbers mechanical components, making these precious few Jean Bugatti Roadsters among the most exclusive road-going Bugattis, far more rare than even the Type 57S Atalante. 

According to factory records, this Type 55, chassis 55231, was completed in March 1933 and originally equipped with engine no. 32. Upon completion, it was exhibited on Henri Sagnier’s Bugatti and Talbot stand at the inaugural Foire d’Alger, a major national trade fair held in Algiers. 55231 was then sent to its first private owner, Juvénal Emile Jarron, the son of prominent Algerian doctor Juvénal Constant Jarron. In March 1935, Sagnier’s son Valentin entered Jarron’s Type 55 in the Bouzaréa Hill Climb organized by the Province of Algiers Automobile Club, where it was driven to an overwhelming victory.

After 1937, the Type 55 passed through the hands of several local owners, remaining in Algeria throughout WWII. The Type 55 would eventually end up in the ownership of Swiss mechanic Alexis Post and was later owned by Bernard Viallon, who recommissioned the Type 55 in the late 1950s, carrying out much of the work himself. Viallon sourced parts directly from the Bugatti factory in Molsheim, and once finished, drove it until 1960, when it entered a long period of on-and-off restoration.

This work was not completed until March 1986, when the Type 55 was prepared to join the growing world-class car collection of American designer Ralph Lauren. 55231 was shipped to marque specialist Crosthwaite & Gardiner of England, where it was thoroughly restored and refinished in black with dark blue coves. The roadster remained with Mr. Lauren until 2003, when it was sold to UK collector William Ainscough. In 2005, it changed hands to Dutch connoisseur Ton Meijer, who commissioned a mechanical restoration performed by Laurent Rondoni’s esteemed Ventoux Moteurs Engineering.

Once finished, 55231 was shown at Villa d’Este and Pebble Beach, and was also exhibited on Bugatti’s stand at the 2007 Geneva Motor Show. Once it made its way to the ownership of Henri Chambon, the Type 55 was repainted in its original black and yellow color scheme, and inspected by two of the leading Bugatti historians, Pierre-Yves Laugier and Mark Morris. Both historians concluded that this Type 55 retains its original chassis frame, engine, gearbox, rear end, and coachwork, ranking this example among the very best of this exceptionally rare breed of Bugatti.

Bugatti Type 55 Prices at Auction

1932 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster
© Gooding

Bugatti Type 55 roadsters are rare and only a few made it to auction in recent years. The model record is $10,400,00 paid for a black-and-blue 1932 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster at Gooding Pebble Beach 2016. It was at the time the most expensive Bugatti and most expensive French-made car ever. It was also the first (of now five) Bugattits to achieve over $10 million nominal at a public auction.

The only other multi-million dollar Bugatti on offer during Monterey 2023 is the 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Tourer by Corsica, estimate $5,500,000 – 7,000,000, on sale at RM Sotheby’s Monterey 2023.

Monterey Week 2023 Classic Car Auctions

Top classic car auctioneers with sales during Monterey Week 2023 include Gooding (Pebble Beach), Bonhams (Quail Lodge), RM Sotheby’sBroad Arrow, and Mecum.

Monterey Week 2023 Auction Results

Monterey Week 2023 Auction Previews

Monterey Week 2023 Pre-Auction Announcements

Previous Monterey Week Auction Results