The strange case of the Bugatti in the lake

The Retromobile Salon kicks off in Paris January 22, with an unusual lot at the centre of the prestigious car auction.

The auction's organizers are no strangers to delving into history, but amongst the classic cars and automotive memorabilia set to go under the hammer, Lot 250 has generated the most intrigue. A 1925 Bugatti Brescia Type 22 Roadster, which has lain at the murky bottom of Lake Maggiore for the past 70 years, has been raised from the depths and is expected to sell for €70,000 - €90,000.

Auctioneers Bonhams is unable to trace the exact history of the vehicle, although the remarkable preservation of the registration plates has helped. On April 11 1925, the brand new chassis ‘2461' was registered in Nancy, France, by Georges Paiva. Bonhams believes that in 1930, it was transferred to Paris and the ownership of Georges Nielly, who affixed a brass plate to the vehicle that still remains.

How and why the Bugatti made the 900 km journey from Paris to Ascona on the banks of Lake Maggiore is unknown. The most likely candidate as owner has emerged as Marco Schmuklerski, a Swiss architect who lived in Ascona between 1933 and 1936. Researchers believe that he may have studied at the Beaux Arts school in Paris, purchasing it from Nielly whilst in France, or bought it from a French tourist or client in Ascona. Either way, import duties were never paid; the story around Ascona holds that the taxes amounted to more than the Bugatti's value so it was dumped, unceremoniously, in Lake Maggiore when Schmuklerski left town.

After 73 years 52 meters underwater, Jens Boerlin and other members of Ascona's sub aqua club retrieved the wreckage on July 12 2009. Restoration, the creation of a replica, or public display are some of the most likely options for the new owner of the Roadster. For the winner of Lot 250, this year's Retromobile will certainly auction some fascinating history - along with a classic car.

Retromobile runs from January 22-31 at the Porte de Versailles in Paris.

Website: http://www.retromobile.fr

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
News
news
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Cover Supervisor

    £75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

    Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

    Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

    £22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

    SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

    £1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam