1929 Bugatti Type 41 Royale Binder Sedanca Replica
- Year: 1955
- Make: Bugatti
- Model: Royale Binder Sedanca
- Type: Sedan
- Miles: 85410
Location : Miami, Florida, 33150
Absolutely one-of-a-kind replica of the most expensive automobile in the word: 1929 Bugatti Type 41 Royale Binder Coupe de Ville. Originally built in the early '80's by body hammered steel and fenders of fiberglass, besides being able to take off the front section of the roof; it took over $250,000 and 2 1/2 years to build. Incorporating original Bugatti and Rolls-Royce parts, the chassis is from a GMC motor home on a 159" wheelbase, using a Big Block GM with 3-speed automatic transmission.
Ettore Bugatti had certainly succeeded in building the ultimate luxury car, but now came the difficult part; finding customers. The biggest obstruction was the high price Bugatti asked for the car. At the 1932 Olympia Show in London one of the chassis was offered for a staggering £6,500, which was twice as much as the most expensive Rolls-Royce.
Eventually only five additional Royales were constructed, which was well short of the 25 car run Bugatti had quietly hoped for. Only four of these found an owner; the first and last car produced remained in the hands of the Bugatti family for many years. Ironically none of the Royale's owners were royals and to this date none of the six Type 41s has ever been owned by a royal. Bugatti did manage to turn a profit out of the project by selling Type 41 engines to a train manufacturer. With the subsequent Type 46, 50 and 57 models, Bugatti did manage to conquer the luxury market.
The first Royale customer was clothing manufacturer Armand Esders. He had Bugatti fit a two-door roadster coachwork, penned by Jean Bugatti. Considering the size of the chassis, the 2+2 body was surprisingly elegant. No lights were fitted as Esders never drove at night. This Royale came closest to becoming royal property as reputedly the King of Romania had the car rebodied by Henri Binder with a coupe de ville style bodywork. The design was very similar to the Coupe Napoleon body on Ettore's own Royale. Due to the outbreak of the War, the King never took delivery of the car. It survived the second world war, hidden in the sewers of Paris. When peace returned it was sold to England and eventually ended up in the Harrah collection in the United States.
In 1986 the Binder bodied Royale was bought by Californian collector General William Lyon. He offered the car during the 1996 Barrett-Jackson, where he refused an offer of $11 million; the reserve was set at $15 million. The new owner of the Bugatti brand, Volkswagen, bought the car in 1999 for a reputed $20 million in 1999.