01:50 GMT +320 November 2019
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    There was still air in the tyres and traces of the original Bugatti blue paint on the bodywork.

    'I Woke Up in a 1925 Bugatti': Why Vintage Car Sat at Lake Bottom for 73 Years

    © Photo : Bonhams
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    From 1935 until 2009 a rare treasure that would excite any car collector - a vintage 1925 Bugatti Type 22 Brescia Roadstar - sat at the bottom of Lake Maggiore on the border of Switzerland and Italy.

    The car sold in 2010 for US$360,000 in the condition it was found and it will not be restored.  

    ​The car, which was built in Brescia, Italy, was originally registered in Nancy, France. A small brass plate on the car reveals the name 'George Nielly, 48 Rue Nollet, Paris' and experts believe he was most likely the owner, who had purchased the vehicle in 1930.

    Vintage 1925 Bugatti Type 22 Brescia Roadster
    © Photo : Bonhams
    Vintage 1925 Bugatti Type 22 Brescia Roadster

    The car then changed hands and was owned, according to local stories, by the legendary Grand Prix driver, Rene Dreyfus, who lost it in a poker game to Swiss man Adlbert Bode in 1934.

    It then ended up in the hands of Zurich-born architect Marco Schumuklerski, who brought the car back to Switzerland and placed it into storage, however he neglected to pay import duties.

    Tax officials found out and realized what he owed outweighed the value of the car, so they tried to destroy it, as a result they rolled it into a lake.

    Vintage 1925 Bugatti Type 22 Brescia Roadster
    © Photo : Bonhams
    Vintage 1925 Bugatti Type 22 Brescia Roadster

    It wasn't until 1967 that the Bugatti was seen again, when diver Ugo Pillon located the wreck. For forty years it became a popular dive spot, until 2009 when a dive club rescued the car from the lake after a young man named Damano Tamagni was attacked and killed. The diving club decided to set up a nonprofit foundation in Tamagni's name in the hope of raising funds. 

    The task took nine months to complete with thirty volunteers, and the car was finally recovered. 

    Vintage 1925 Bugatti Type 22 Brescia Roadster
    © Photo : Bonhams
    Vintage 1925 Bugatti Type 22 Brescia Roadster

    The car was action by Bonhams in January 2010 and was purchased by Peter Mullin of Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California. Mullin bought the car for around US$370,000. It is on display at the Oxnard Museum located in a private room.

    "Over the course of the past few months, the car offered here has become one of the most celebrated of all Bugattis, having lain submerged beneath the waters of Lake Maggiore in Switzerland for more than 70 years. The whereabouts of the sunken Bugatti had been known to the local sub aqua club for many years but in February 2008 a tragedy occurred that would eventually lead to its retrieval," Bonhams said at the time of the car's auction in 2009. 

    Vintage 1925 Bugatti Type 22 Brescia Roadster
    © Photo : Bonhams
    Vintage 1925 Bugatti Type 22 Brescia Roadster

    The car has been kept in the same condition it was found in and according to experts is considered more of a work of art than an antique. 

    "This is a car that's had many different lives, here's a twin-plug competition car, re-bodied to carry its current torpedo body. It has been known to have belonged to Rene Dreyfus, then lost in a card game in Paris," museum curator Andrew Reilly, said in an interview.

    "It was pushed into the lake, it became a part of local lore, and it became a tourist attraction. Depending on what part of its lifespan you focus on, you come away with a different appreciation," Mr. Reilly added. 

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    owner, collection, driver, antique, car, tax, Italy, Switzerland, France
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