Saturday, October 11, 2014

1931 Bugatti Type 51 Dubos Coupe

Built strictly for Grand Prix racing, the original Bugatti Type 51 emerged in 1931. Its engine was a 160 hp (119 kW) twin overhead cam evolution of the supercharged 2.3 L single overhead cam straight-8 found in the Type 35B.

One of the forty Type 51s, chassis #51133, was made to combine the best attributes of luxury and sport. After a brief racing season, which saw this car race at the hands of Rene Dreyfus and Louis Chiron, it was sold to Andre Bith. He took his purchase to Louis Dubos in Paris to create a body which would end up being a miniature version of the Type 57SC Atlantic. Complete with tan pigskin upholstery and polished Sycamore wood trim, Dubos' detail work was as exquisite as the best Bugatti's.

At some point the Dubos body and chassis #51133 got separated. While the chassis was owned by the Nethercutt Collection, the original body was offered at auction in 2000. The Collection picked up the body and reunited the orphan components after nearly 50 years of separation. Mr. Bith, the original owner, helped Collection by offering documents and photos pertaining to #51133.

The restoration was completed just in time for the 2003 Pebble Beach Concours where the feature marque was Bugatti. Against very stiff competition, the Dubos Coupe took second in class to a Type 57SC Atlantic. (

1931 Bugatti Type 51 Grand Prix Race Car 

Only 40 units were built.

(Photos from, &

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