The Mullin Automotive Museum, a Southern California institution devoted to the preservation of French art and automobiles from the Art Deco era, debuted its restored 1931 Bugatti Type 50 S (chassis no. 50117) at the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in mid-August.
An extremely rare example, chassis no. 50117 is one of only a handful of surviving Type 50s, and this one the only with Million-Guiet coachwork. The special aluminum coachwork was innovative not only in its clean aesthetics, but also its unique construction that enabled three passengers to comfortably fit within.
Underneath, the Type 50 was equally as remarkable with an all-new supercharged inline eight-cylinder engine with dual overhead cams and new engine architecture, which featured a hemispherical combustion chamber and 90-degree inclined valves that made the Type 50 so quick that the model was raced from 1931-1935.
The Mullin Collection’s Bugatti Type 50 has the matching body, chassis and drivetrain that it first came equipped with in 1931. In an effort to preserve the Bugatti’s originality, the Mullin Automotive Museum commissioned Logan Calkins of The Alan Taylor Company in Escondido, Calif., to do a restoration to the Type 50 over the course of six months.
As part of the restoration, one-off galuchat upholstery was handcrafted for the Bugatti’s interior that was bleached, sanded, polished and dyed by Alan Taylor’s team over the course of several hundred hours. During this intensive process, a special sage green dye was mixed with a UV-protectant solvent, giving the stingray leather a translucent sunburst finish. This unique material was a trademark of luxury furniture design of the Art Deco era, yet is seldom seen in automotive restorations.
Following its display at the Pebble Beach Concours, the Bugatti returned to the Mullin Automotive Museum as part of “The Art of Bugatti” exhibition, on display through Dec. 31.
For details, visit www.mullinautomotivemuseum.com.