Bob's famous Bugatti is sold - and will remain in New Zealand
Bob's extremely rare vintage Bugatti roadster has been sold - but it will remain in New Zealand for all to see.
The 1934 Type 57 Gangloff, which spent the past 50 years in the tiny South Island village of Ophir in Central Otago being restored by reclusive mechanical engineer, the late Bob Turnbull, has been purchased for an undisclosed multi-million dollar sum by Auckland businessman Steve Lockwood.
Now the money earned from the sale will be used by a trust Turnbull established before he died in 2012, the Bob Turnbull Charitable Trust, to help potential engineering students and to carry out charitable work.
And the Bugatti will be offered for display around prominent New Zealand car museums so that all Kiwis can learn about this unique vehicle and the story behind it.
"New Zealand is a young country, and we all have a responsibility to preserve our history for our future generations," says Lockwood.
This sale was managed by Waimak Classic Cars, a classic car specialists company based in Rangiora, North Canterbury.
Bob's Bugatti Type 57 rates as one of rarest and most valuable vintage cars in New Zealand. Its lines were created by the French company's founder Ettore Bugatti's son, Jean, and the coachwork was by the famous firm of Gangloff.
The 1934 car was the first roadster by Gangloff, the only one produced that year, and it generated great interest at the Paris Motor Show. The following year this same car was entered for the Cannes Concours d'Elegance and won the title "Grand Prix des Roadsters".
During its time in France the car was owned by two prominent entrepreneurs and ultimately an Austrian aristocrat, before being shipped to New Zealand in 1956.
Bob Turnbull then purchased the vehicle in 1958 and transported it to Ophir - population 50 - where it has been for the past 50 years.
Turnbull is now recognised as one of New Zealand's most talented engineers whose abilities are compared with the late John Britten who was best known for his radical motorcycle designs. A reclusive man, Turnbull is credited with developing a key element in jet propulsion units in the famous Hamilton Jet boats now used worldwide.
Since his death, Turnbull's Bugatti has undergone a ground-up restoration and has been restored to what is believed to be its original colours of pearl with burgundy trim and carpet and pale tan upholstery. Restoration was completed in February 2015.