The 1928 Bugatti Type 35B, which competed in the first Monaco Grand Prix and has all its original components, has become the most expensive car of its kind following a private sale in Britain. The vehicle sold for a reported $4.5 million.
According to the British Telegraph, the design classic, which also won the demanding Italian road race, Targa Florio, was snapped up by an unnamed "highly-regarded international collector" after being sold by its previous owner, the former Samsung chairman and billionaire Lee Kun-hee.
Chris Routledge, managing director of London-based Coys auctioneers, said: "We believe it is the highest price paid for a Bugatti of this type – certainly in Britain and probably in the world. It is an extraordinary piece of engineering. When you open the bonnet it is like looking inside a Swiss watch.
"Apart from a few charming battle-scars it is exactly as it came out of the Bugatti factory. It still has all its original components and body work, which is highly unusual. It is very exciting to drive. It screams," he continued. "It was in Switzerland during the second World War, which is almost certainly what saved it from being damaged or scrapped and turned into warplanes."
Prior to Lee, previous owners over the past eight decades included the eccentric British car collector and pilot Hamish Moffat, who died in 2002 at age 71, and Swiss Baron Emmanuel 'Toulo' de Graffenried, who died in January 2007 at age 92.