Other gear came in from Bart Loyens, the Amsterdam stockist, including a correct steering wheel and the lovely Marchal headlamps. “New” brake drums came variously from a friend in Massachusetts and another in Colorado. The latter wouldn’t release his pair until I had arranged for another set for his car to be shipped from England. All this took a bit of doing, but it was fun, also.
The main problem now was that the Bugatti never seemed to get finished, so I finally persuaded Russ Sceli to take it on as one of his projects for 1971. In the fifties, Russ had operated one of the first foreign car dealer-ships in Hartford, and had restored several Bugattis of his own before retiring to the quiet of his hilltop retreat in Canton, Connecticut. Here, he would take on one car at a time in his meticulous garage–! was glad to have the T-40 in his care. Russ took everything apart, and… Continue reading
Although the French word “carcasse” can be used to describe an automobile frame, “chassis” is far more common and one can only suspect that “carcasse” meant what it said –namely, a carcass. After 1950, the T-40 passed through several more hands before ending up with Cao van Tung who apparently had some notion of using its engine in a small ferryboat somewhere in the delta. Fortunately, this project never got beyond the stage of naval (sic) contemplation, and the Bugatti came to its penultimate resting place on a side street in the aforementioned city of Bien Hoa.
David brought the car to a garage in Saigon which is where I first saw it. Picture, if you will, in a dank corner of a fairly run-down establishment, this veritable carcass of a Bugatti. The unmistakeable radiator was flanked by the empty sockets of what once had been the headlights. The cycle fenders were dented, sagging, and badly rusted. The body shell was so porous in places that a finger could be put through by poking… Continue reading