Bugatti 51 Grand Prix Racing Two Seater

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51 Grand Prix Racing Two Seater





Five Type 51s with DOHC heads were prepared for the 1931 season. Numbers #51122-25 were works entries, while #51121 was sold to English privateer Lord Howe. Two of the cars were conversions from 1930 works Type 35Bs: #51122 had been #4962 and #51125 had been #4961. By mid-year, a further six cars – #51126-51131 – had been sold to privateers.

The next six cars were factory team cars. The first was, #51132, which was registered on July 7th, 1931 and fitted with engine #15, gearbox #13 and rear axle #15. Number 51133 was completed at the same time. Their first race was the 10-hour Belgian GP at Spa on July 12th, and #51132 was dispatched with Albert Divo and Guy Bouriat. Number 51133 was also sent, with drivers Achille Varzi and Louis Chiron.

The race started promisingly, with Chiron setting the fastest lap at 87.94 mph, but by half distance, Varzi and Chiron were out with magneto problems. Then Divo came in on lap 51 to hand over to Bouriat, and a rear tire blew and wrapped itself around the axle. Williams and Connelli were driving one of the older works cars and took the win.

On July 15th, the factory registered four more Type 51s – #51134-51137 – and sent five cars to the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring. Caracciola won for Mercedes, but Chiron and Varzi were second and third, Bouriat seventh and Williams retired.


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