After the brief mention of Thomas Pitt Cholmondeley-Tapper in the last issue of NZ Classic Driver I was astounded to receive a message from Andy Datlen at Auto Restorations in Christchurch: “We have the Bugatti here, do you want to have a look at it?”

So, on a late September Saturday morning, I squeezed into the passenger seat of a small, pale-blue car, with sunglasses providing protection from bugs and low-flying seagulls, a cap on backwards so I looked the part, and a grin a mile wide across my face.

A drive along the Summit Road of Christchurch’s Port Hills with a pause for photographs – a similar experience to the Nürburgring?

The underside of my thighs was massaged by the gear-change rod that goes across the full width of the tiny cockpit, and the outer side of my left foot was tickled by a chain from the brake mechanism.

It’s small, low, narrow, ‘mechanical’ in appearance – and there are no doors.

The scale of the Bugatti Type 37 disguises how small it really is. The 37 uses wire wheels compared to the Type 35’s cast magnesium

The Bugatti, Australian owned since the early 1950s, was restored by Auto Restorations in Christchurch in 2005 and has just been back for the final act before being returned to the Land of Oz.


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