The Ex – Sir Malcolm Campbell, Bernard Kain 1926 Bugatti Type 35 to 35B

The Ex – Sir Malcolm Campbell, Bernard Kain

1926 Bugatti Type 35 to 35B

Nothing combines art, engineering and racing pedigree to the same extent as the legendary Bugatti Type 35B. The straight 8 2.3-litre supercharged engine resembles a piece of art as much as a racing engine. With that distinctive sound that you only get from an eight-cylinder Bugatti, their raw speed and legendary road holding, it is not difficult to see why they captivate peoples passion and hold their position at the pinnacle of motor racing history. 

The Type 35 made its debut at the 1924 French Grand Prix at Lyon and embodied all of Ettore Bugatti’s experience, talent and sense of aesthetic beauty. With its sleek streamlined body and trademark horseshoe radiator, it is one of the iconic designs of the 20th century. The Type 35’s beauty was matched by its performance.

The Bugatti Type 35 in different guises became a dominant force winning countless Grand Prix and sports car races in the late 20s and early 30s in the hands of Works drivers and amateurs alike. Convincingly winning the Targa Florio in 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928 and 1929; the French Grand Prix every year from 1926 to 1930 and what has to be one of the most significant victories in motor racing history when William Grover-Williams won the inaugural Monaco Grand Prix in 1929. So successful was the Type 35 that out of 23 cars on the grid for the 1930 Monaco Grand Prix 14 of them were Bugatti. Type 35Bs are still raced hard to this day at some of the most prestigious circuits around the world including competing for the same cup that Williams won all those years ago.

This Car

Very few names have more significance and command more respect in Bugatti history here in the UK, both before and after the War, than Malcolm Campbell, Jack Lemon Burton, Geoffrey St. John and Bernard Kain. All four of these great names are an integral part of the rich history of this fabulous car we have the privilege of being able to offer for sale today.

This car as you see it today has remained substantially unchanged since it was restored by highly respected and greatly missed Bugatti expert and keen racer Geoffrey St. John in 1964. According to the extensive David Sewell reports that accompany this car, in early 1963 Geoffrey St. John purchased an 8-cylinder Type 35 chassis complete with front springs, possibly the front axle and various other parts, including the front apron and under-tray, from David Hale who is understood to have purchased them some two or three years earlier, with H. H. ‘Tom’ Thomas, from well known Bugatti dealer Jack Lemon Burton.

Jack Lemon Burton was well known for buying and selling Grand Prix Bugatti both before and after the War and he along with early Bugatti enthusiast such as Geoffrey St. John and Hugh Conway should be credited with why so many fabulous Bugatti have passed through the UK over the years. 

Using this chassis and utilising other original spares he had available, Geoffrey restored the car as complete running wire-wheeled Type 35B and sold the finished car to his great friend, former VSCC Chairman and Bugatti Owners Club Vice President, Bernard Kain in 1965. The engine was built using the lower crank-case from a Type 55 Bugatti, Chassis Number 55211 and Engine No. 13. Eventually Bernard fitted the more desirable Type 51 aluminium well-based wheels and went on to campaign it with great effect.

Bernard Kain along with Geoffrey St. John and Hamish Moffatt have to be three of the best known and most prolific racers of Grand Prix Bugatti in the post-War era. From his first race in the car at VSCC Silverstone on the 23rd of April 1966, Bernard went on to race the car extensively and with great effect, winning a number of major VSCC races including the Boulogne Trophy on more than one occasion, the prestigious Itala Trophy four times and the Williams Trophy twice. A regular feature at Prescott as seen above, VSCC race meetings and on Bugatti Rallies, he also raced the car at the inaugural Monaco Historic Grand Prix. 

While removing layers of paint from the original under-tray and front apron in preparation for painting, Bernard  discovered that they had both come from the same car and more notably discovered the registration DOL 2. This is what later lead Bernard to register the car DOL 2 when he finally registered it for road use in May 1972. 

Now road registered, he set off on the 1972 International Bugatti Rally in the Charente in France. Reporting on the event at the time for Bugantics David Sewell comments on ‘Kain and Rippon with their well known 35Bs’. 

Bernard continued to use the car until 18 years ago, back in 2001, the current owner approached Bernard about whether he would part with his beloved Type 35B and as such a private deal was struck. 

Upon purchasing the car, the current owner commissioned highly regarded Bugatti specialists Ivan Dutton Ltd. to undertake a complete and sympathetic restoration. The car was carefully stripped back to a bare chassis and all of the major mechanical components were overhauled and expertly restored. Throughout the process a great deal of time and effort was put into maintaining the cars rich and undiluted patina. An ethos that thankfully has been carried on to this day. 

While the car was stripped back to its bare chassis, the opportunity was taken to have international renowned Bugatti historian and former Bugatti Owners Club registrar David Sewell to inspect the car on his behalf. This was done in late 2001 at the workshops of Ivan Dutton Ltd. Upon close inspection of the frame, the frame number and other defining features, by both David Sewell and Tim Dutton, it was concluded that the frame number was 146 that of Chassis 4696, the Ex-Malcolm Campbell 1925 Type 2-litre Grand Prix car. 

Chassis Number 4696 

Chassis number 4696 was finished in November 1925 and was imported into the UK on the 27th of January 1926 by Land and Water World Speed Record holder and accomplished Brooklands racer Malcolm Campbell, through W. Sorel of London. An early 2-litre Grand Prix car, it was fitted with the roller bearing engine, numbered 68. Campbell campaigned the car in several races during 1926. According to David Sewell, through his research, it has been deduced beyond reasonable doubt that 4696 was the car he took the 2-litre class 50-mile record at Brooklands at a speed of over 108 mph during the 50-Mile Race on the 24th of March 1926.

Registered YM 9558 in early March 1926 it was subsequently sold to Scottish marmalade manufacturer Alexander Keiller. In May 1928 Keiller purchased a Type 35B and offered 4696 up for sale with Westminster Garage in London. According to the 2014 Nordic Bugatti Register 4696 was purchased by Eugan Bjørnstad in 1930. He ice raced the car during his brief ownership. As detailed by Bjørnstad himself in an interview in 1982, he described how he put a rod through the side of the engine while starting it in -20 degrees centigrade at the start of an ice race on the Femsjøen lake near Halden. He describes how the car was taken to Paris for repairs and he purchased a Type 35B. 

From Bjørnstad, ownership is understood to pass back to England, in what is believed to be early summer 1931, by Aubrey Esson-Scott. The car is believed to have passed from Esson-Scott to John Houldsworth and subsequently his widow, before finally ending up with Jack Lemon Burton before the War. 4696 as with so many cars of its era was probably broken up for spares at some point by Lemon Burton which leads to it ending up in the hands of Geoffrey St. John in 1963.

Current Ownership

The current owner, a keen enthusiast, known for driving and enjoying his cars, has very much taken up the mantel left by Bernard Kain and has used the car all over the globe during his 18 year tenure. The pairing have taken part in numerous International Bugatti Rallies and events from the Czech Republic, Italy, France and Holland right down to New Zealand. He has taken the car to Angouleme on a number of occasions, although not to race, and has also participated in numerous private rallies and jollies. In 2004/2005 the car was entered into sprints at Goodwood, Colerne and in Yorkshire, winning the Fastest Vintage Sports Car on each occasion. Other accolades came from winning the Percy Fawcett Trophy at the concours at the 2018 Bugatti Owners Club Garden Party and featuring in Octane magazine two separate occasions.

Upon taking ownership of the car back in 2001, the car was stripped back to a bare chassis by Ivan Dutton Ltd and was the subject of a complete nut and bolt rebuild including the roller bearing crank and all mechanical parts. Since then he has continued to entrust Tim and his team at Ivan Dutton Ltd. with maintaining the car. Early last year the engine was stripped and rebuilt again when the Type 55 lower crankcase fitted to the car was reunited with its original car. The outgoing lower crank-case was replaced by one from an engine just four numbers away, the original lower crank-case from Type 55 Chassis No. 55229, Engine No. 17. 

This has allowed Type 55 to regain its original sump while not affecting the level of originality that this car so richly enjoys. Bar the change in lower crank case and the refitting of the original gearbox casing to the car, it has remained remarkably unchanged since its original restoration by Geoffrey St John in 1963/64. A well known and fondly regarded car within Bugatti and VSCC circles, it will remain etched in the memory of many a racing enthusiast of the post War VSCC and historic racing era. 

Offered for sale for the first time since the early 1960s, this stunning example has a presence and patina that can only be achieved by years of love and use. With a history that contains some of the most famous Bugatti names both pre and  post War, this is a unique opportunity to add your name to that list and write the next chapter in its long and illustrious journey.