In 1938 a British Colonel G.M. Giles bought a supercharged Bugatti Type 57 chassis #57593 sans body the unique design of which he entrusted to his brother Eric Giles and Jean Bugatti.
The Corsica Coachworks in London were entrusted with the realisation of the body which was painted light blue and trimmed with Connolly leather “imprinted with a crocodile texture”.
Colonel Giles kept the car until 1939 after which it’s history is well documented all the way to the present owner Californian Property Developer and founder of the Mozart Foundation Automobile Museum in Mountain View California, John Mozart.
John drove the car for many miles before undertaking a restoration of the car which was completed in time to be awarded the best in show accolade at the 1998 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
It would appear the restoration and subsequent award ruffled a few feathers causing one European hack to comment “Dismay has greeted news that a customized Bugatti was the shock ‘best of show’ winner of this year’s prestigious Pebble Beach Concourse d’Elegance…”
It would appear that a rather antagonistic and possibly xenophobic minority in the old car community took a disliking to John’s choice of colour for the vehicle, which discretely hides some of it’s clumsy finish, the use of chrome stone guards on the leading edges of the rear wings / fenders, which are a vast improvement on the original and unsightly black rubber items, or the use of real crocodile hide in place of the Connolly leather “imprinted with a crocodile texture”.
For my money John has done a great job improving on the original intention of the Giles brothers vision and certainly kept to the spirit of the vision, personally if I had the cash and the choice I’d much rather own the Corsica Roadster #57375, but a Bugatti is a Bugatti and I doubt Mr Mozarts example will be turning any fewer heads than my personal favourite.
My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing his photographs which he took at Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance in 2011.
Thanks for joining me on this “Customising Crocodiles” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at what has been happening at the Avenue Drivers Club this year. Don’t forget to come back now !