May 10, 2007

Type 52: The Baby Bugatti

bugatti_type52_allanstone.jpg

Allan Stone Gallery is an old school, but low key institution on Upper East Side, which began showing works by such emerging New York artists as Willem deKooning, Andy Warhol, and Eva Hesse. One of the gallery program's unifying themes, they say, is a "profound formal soundness and the achievement of an aesthetic level of excellence." [Wait, that's two themes!]

Right now through the end of June, the gallery is showing the work of legendary carmaker Ettore Bugatti, including two cars--a 1937 Type 57 and a Type 52--artifacts, parts and drawings.

Type 52 is perhaps better known as the "Baby Bugatti," a 1.3m, half-scale version of the Grand Prix Type 35. The original Type 52 was built for Ettore's 5-year-old son Roland, and it had its debut at the 1927 Milan Automobile Show. By 1930, Bugatti had filled over 150 special orders for Type 52's, which were electric-powered, and had a leather seat and leather straps across the bonnet. Top speed is about 11mph, making the Type 52 officially the Slowest Bugatti Ever.

If a likely six-figure price seems too steep for your kid, don't worry. An Argentine outfit known as Pur Sang [I know it's a Bugatti aficionados term, but still, yow] makes absolutely faithful, handbuilt re-productions of several Bugatti models, including the Type 52. Price is on request, but since their full-scale cars seem to go for about 1/10th the price of the originals, I'd guess a new Type 52 can be yours for around 20-30 Bugaboo Units.

Or there's always the nearly finished near-replica by Authentic Models, which for some reason didn't put the electric motor or brakes in their one-off aluminum pedal car version. It's marked down, no up, to $4,600 shipped.

Bugatti is at Allan Stone Gallery through June 28 [allanstonegallery.com via dt reader karen]
Pur Sang Baby Bugatti Type 52 re-production [pursang.co.nz]

Previously: Aston Martin Junior V8 Volante

2 Comments

I'm a dealer for the Authentic Model version, just needed to correct the statement about the brakes not being functional, they indeed are fully functional.

I do own an authentic model of the type 52 with the original Bugatti manual of use.

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