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Peter Giddings Racing



The Type 59, considered by many to be the most elegant of classic pre-war racing cars, was Ettore Bugatti's last attempt to produce in any number a competitive car to match Alfa Romeo, Maserati, and the threatened domination of Auto Union and Mercedes-Benz.

The Bugatti Type 59 was not a single-seater. The chassis was modeled on that of the Bugatti Type 54, with side members very deep at the scuttle and tapered elegantly towards the front on both sides of the classic radiator and meeting at the rear within the slim tail fairing. The frame of this particular Type 59 dates from the first batch of 1933 works cars and chassis. Subsequently in 1934 these early cars and chassis were replaced by new trepanned frames in an attempt to keep the cars within the 750 kg weight limit.

Works drivers included Dreyfus, Brivio, Benoist, Wimille, and, as an independent, the great Tazio Nuvolari. Initially campaigned in 2.8 liter form, the Type 59 was subsequently (at the behest of Nuvolari) enlarged to 3.3 liters.

Whilst eventually outstripped by the German teams, the Bugatti 59's performance and race winning record was exceptional. Podium finishes in 1934 including first and second places in the Belgian GP by Dreyfus and Brivio; first place in the Algiers GP by Wimille; third place in the Monaco GP by Dreyfus; third place in the Spanish GP by Nuvolari; third place in the Swiss GP by Dreyfus.

In 1935, Type 59's won first and second places in the Picardy GP by Benoist and Earl Howe; first and second places at Mannin Maar by Brian Lewis and C.E.C. Martin; second place in the Tunis GP by Wimille (average of 99 mph); second place in the Loraine GP by Wimille; second and third places in the Donnington GP by Earl Howe and C.E.C. Martin; third place in the Dieppe GP by Wimille; fastest-time-of-the-day and a new record at La Turbie by Wimille; third place in the Brooklands 500 Mile Race by Earl Howe and Brian Lewis (at an average of 115.03 mph -unsupercharqed).

In 1936, the Type 59 won first place at the Deauville GP by Wimille; third place in the Tunis GP by Wimille; second place in the South African GP by Wimille (at an average of 103 mph); first place in the Comminges GP (unsupercharged) by Wimille; class C record at the Brooklands Outer Circuit by Earl Howe (138 mph - also fastest standing-start lap at 118 mph).

In 1937, first place at the Pau GP by Wimille - (unsupercharged); first place in the Bona GP (North Africa) by Wimille (unsupercharged); first place in the Mame GP by Wimille (unsupercharged); winner of both heats of the Tunis GP by Wimille (unsupercharged); Wimille also won the 400,000 franc prize in an unsupercharged Type 59 for lapping Montlhery at over 91 mph - in fact Wimille lapped this 12 mile road circuit for 182 miles at an average of 91.3 mph, just a fraction below Van Brauchitch's Mercedes Benz record for one lap! In so doing, Wimille established a new lap record at 92.44 mph.


Engine: Straight-eight of 2.8 liters (later enlarged to 3.3 liters). Twin overhead camshafts operating two valves per cylinder. Crankshaft on six plain bearings (previous Bugatti GP engines had roller bearings). Single Rootes type supercharger fed by two down draft Zenith carburettors.

Bugatti claimed 230 bhp for the 2.8 liter and 250 bhp for the 3.3 liter. In fact, this particular 3.3 Type 59 Bugatti engine produced 230 bhp when tested by Sean Danaher on 23.3.98

Drive Train: Rear axle has double reduction gears to allow propshaft and engine center line to be dropped, the gear box being contained in a casting straddling the chassis frame.

Suspension: Reversed quarter elliptic springs at the rear but with the axle sliding in blocks and located by radius rods. The front axle is hollow, split in the center and joined by a collar, brake torque being dealt with by radius arms connected to De Ram shock absorbers.

Wheels: A multitude of fine wire spokes in front of a polished aluminum disc and hub assembly; these elegant wheels are the identifying signature of the Type 59.

Weight: 1980 lbs

Top Speed: approximately 250 kph (155 mph)

This Bugatti Type 59 is now being campaigned by Peter's friend, Charles McCabe.

TYpe 59 at Seattle

Peter at speed at Seattle International Raceway, July 2000. Photo by Bob Dunsmore.

Bugatti 59 in rain

Peter and the Bugatti 59 in the rain.

Bugatti 59 at Coronado

Peter slides the Type 59 around the pylons at Coronado, 1999. Bob Dunsmore photo.

Beautiful body

The beautiful body of the Bugatti Type 59. Photo by Mike Sims.

Bugatti 59 engine

Incredible machine work on the Type 59 engine. Photo by Mike Sims.

Bugatti 59 and Austin Healey

Peter keeps the Bugatti 59 ahead of an Austin Healey at Portland. Bob Dunsmore photo.

Bugatti linkage

Bugatti Type 59 geared carb linkage! Photo by Mike Sims

Bugatti 59 wheel

The beautiful and distinctive wheel of the Bugatti Type 59. Photo by Mike Sims

Bugatti opposite lock

Peter balances the Type 59 Bugatti with a touch of opposite lock. Portland, Bob Dunsmore photo.

Bugatti in the rain

Peter drives the Bugatti Type 59 at Winton - the first ever Type 59 to compete and be seen
in Australia. Photo by James Smith.


Peter leads an Abarth at Coronado, 1999. Bob Dunsmore photo.