Rare Bugatti roadster stored in a shed for 50 years sells in New Zealand for millions
Car will remain in New Zealand and be offered for display
By Kurt Bayer
A rare vintage Bugatti roadster, once owned by a member of the Louis Vuitton family, and which was stored in a reclusive New Zealand engineer’s shed for five decades, has sold for an undisclosed sum, understood to be more than NZ$2 million (US$1.4 million).
The 1934 Bugatti Type 57 Gangloff Roadster was left behind by legendary Central Otago mechanical engineer Bob Turnbull after he died in 2012, aged 82.
It has since undergone a ground-up restoration to what is believed to be its original colours of pearl with burgundy trim.
The Bugatti, which had been on the market for NZ$4 mmillion (US$2.9 million), has been bought by Auckland businessman Steve Lockwood in a sale managed by North Canterbury classic car specialists Waimak Classic Cars.
“New Zealand is a young country - it is a responsibility we all have to preserve our own history for our future generations,’‘ said Lockwood.
It’s understood that Lockwood plans to offer the car for display around prominent New Zealand car museums so that “all Kiwis could enjoy and learn about this unique vehicle, its provenance and the legend behind it - Bob Turnbull”.
Proceeds from the sale go to the Bob Turnbull Charitable Trust, established to help potential engineering students and facilitate improvement of the social, cultural, educational, economic and spiritual lives of Turnbull’s Central Otago community.
The Bugatti Type 57 is one of the most revered models in the glittering history of the famous French marque.
It features cutting-edge engineering, for its time, in all aspects of its chassis, suspension, engine, and driveline which allowed for unparalleled levels of performance and on-road refinement.
During the car’s time in France, it was owned by a member of the Louis Vuitton fashion designer family and also an Austrian aristocrat.
In 1956, it was imported into New Zealand for 350 British pounds.
A year later, Turnbull - who is credited with developing a key element of Hamilton Jet propulsion units - bought it and transported it to the tiny Central Otago gold-mining town of Ophir where it had remained for the past 50 years.