Body style: limousine
This Bugatti Royale is probably the most austere of the six models. This chassis is the last of three that Ettore managed to sell before the war. The two others were sold to the famous clothing manufacturer Esders (chassis 41111) and to Dr Fuchs, a great German surgeon (chassis 41121). This chassis was bought by a gentleman from London, Captain Cuthbert Foster, who commissioned coachbuilders Park Ward to build the body, creating a typical British-style limousine. In the mind of British customers, luxury items had to be sober in their styling. It was completed in 1933, and in line with traditions, Jean Bugatti travelled to England, to screw the solid silver elephant radiator cap on and start the car up for the first time.
Captain Foster kept his ‘Golden Bug’, as he called this Royale, until 1946 when it was sold to specialist Bugatti dealer, Jack Lemon Burton. He made great use of the car for many years, using it to boost his ‘brand image’. It was later sold to an insatiable American Bugatti collector, John W. Shakespeare. He used his Royale for several trips across the USA, from North to South, and never had any problems. Unfortunately, his own financial health was not so rosy, and he had to sell off his Bugatti collection around 1963. A certain Fritz Schlumpf bought the entire lot of 30 cars, which is how the Park Ward Royale ended up in Mulhouse. When it came into the museum, the body was removed from the chassis, and a new, specially-designed upholstery was added to the interior. The Limousine Park Ward gained the place of honour it deserved in 1982, when the Musée national de l’Automobile was opened, displayed on a turntable near the “Coupé Napoleon”.
This Royale enjoyed a second American adventure alongside the Coupé Napoleon, when all six remaining original Royales appeared at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California in 1985.
Two years later, it was the undisputed star on the stand hosted by the Association des Musées Automobiles de France (AMAF) at the Rétromobile motor show in Paris.
It should be added that, with the exception of the interior upholstery, this limousine has barely been modified over its 56 year international career.