2y ago
- Legendary racing driver Jean-Pierre Wimille getting the Type 59/50B in position for a practice run at Prescott hill climb, July 1939, under the watchful eyes of Robert ‘Le Grand Robert’ Aumaître, lead works mechanic (Photo © The Bugatti Trust).

My big news of the day is that the Works 59/50B Wimille Bugatti will make its historic return to Prescott 80 years on as one of the main exhibits of our Summer exhibition. The car is on loan from the Cité de L’Automobile – National Museum – SCHLUMPF Collection. MULHOUSE (France) and will remain at The Bugatti Trust until September.

History: In July 1939 Jean Bugatti accepted the invitation to compete at the first Bugatti Owners’ Club International hill climb meeting and brought the Works monoposto Type 59 fitted with 8-cylinder supercharged 4.7 litre type 50B engine for his works driver Jean-Pierre Wimille to drive. He was accompanied by his two mechanics Robert Aumaître and Lucien Wurmser. It had without doubt the most powerful engine built by the factory and was fitted with twin rear wheels specially for the event.
Raymond Mays, ERA achieved 46.14 secs to take first place. Wimille in his first run on the unfamiliar course achieved 47.50 secs, improving it to 46.69 secs on his second run to take second place.

After the event Jean Bugatti wrote to apologise for bringing an unsuitably large car for the hill and promised the next year to bring one of his new 1-litre cars. This, of course, was not to be. Except for its single outing in 1945 in the hands of Wimille at the Coupe des Prisonniers in the Bois de Boulogne in Paris, the 59/50B was not to be raced again.

It was retained by the factory until acquired by the Schlumpf brothers for their museum and is now part of the Cité de l’Automobile - National Museum – Schlumpf Collection, the museum located in Mulhouse, France and housing the brothers’ collection. The car has remained untouched and unrestored since then and is of exceptional historic significance.

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Comments (5)

  • What a terrific story Angela! Was there a benefit to having dual wheels in a hill climb situation?

      2 years ago
    • Dear Ben I will get you more details as I am I contact with the son of Le Grand Robert who told me it was very much a last minute decision. I also know that the width of the car with the twin wheels mounted made it impossible to use the normal return...

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        2 years ago
    • Not only have I not driven there but I've never watched a British style hill climb in person. It's really fascinating to see so many historical cars being driven under historical circumstances. Hill climb in the USA is either a 6 pack of beer...

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        2 years ago