Lord Raglan Bugatti Type 51 for Bonhams Paris Auction

The 1933 Bugatti Type 51 Grand Prix Two-Seater owned by the late Fitzroy John Somerset, the 5th Baron Raglan (1927-2010), Patron and former Chairman of the Bugatti Owners’ Club and trustee of the Bugatti Trust, is to be sold at Bonhams’ Paris sale of Motor Cars on 5 February 2011. The auction will be held at one of Paris’s most impressive venues – the Grand Palais on the Champs-Elysées.

Lord Raglan, whose great-great grandfather, the 1st Baron, was the General in command of British troops in the Crimean war – and forever associated with the ill-fated Charge of the Light Brigade – was renowned for his love of collectors’ motor cars, in particular Bugattis. “My passion for Bugattis started when I was 18 and I have raced around the world,” he once said, while Andrew Roth in Lord Raglan’s obituary in The Guardian wrote: “If Bugatti-worship were a religion, then the atheist Fitzroy Somerset, the 5th Lord Raglan, would have been its pope.”

In 1998, following in the hallowed footsteps of Ettore Bugatti and Earl Howe, Lord Raglan was elected as only the third Patron of the Bugatti Owners’ Club in its 80-year history, upon his retirement from an exceptionally successful period as the club’s Chairman.

Lord Raglan bought this Bugatti Type 51 in 1979 and restored it himself over the next two and a half years, subsequently racing it for the next 20 years. It is now expected to sell for an estimated €1,000,000 – 1,400,000 (£800,000 – 1,150,000).

Also from the Estate of Lord Raglan, the sale will offer his 1930 Bugatti Type 46 Cabriolet, with coachwork by Figoni, estimated at €250,000 – 300,000 (£200,000 – 250,000).

This is not the first time that Bonhams has offered a Bugatti owned by a former Patron of the Bugatti Owners’ Club at one of their Parisian auctions. In 2009, a 1937 Bugatti Type 57S, originally owned by Earl Howe, sold for a remarkable €3.4 million.

James Knight, Group Head of Bonhams Motoring Department, says, “We feel privileged to have been appointed to offer these magnificent Bugattis with such well-known provenance. Lord Raglan will be forever linked to the Bugatti marque and his cars have only come to market following his death. They will undoubtedly attract a great deal of interest from collectors world-wide.”

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