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James Young Bugatti T57C Faux Cabriolet 'Charmaine' #57787 1939
James Young Bugatti T57C Faux Cabriolet 'Charmaine' #57787 1939
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This Type 57C #57787 was ordered by William P. Harges, a wealthy American living in England. This supercharged model was fitted with an elegant, one-of-a-kind custom body by James Young of Bromley, that was crafted to Rolls-Royce standards. It was delivered to Mr. Harges in March 1939 by the London Bugatti agent, Jack Barclay Ltd. This car was one of the last Bugattis to leave France before the Germans entered Paris.

A Faux Cabriolet (the roof does not fold), this Bugatti?s many intriguing features include a sliding sunroof, very thin A-pillars for better visibility and more graceful lines, landau irons, dual enclosed side mounts (one is simulated and it contains a ?hidden? toolbox), illuminated vanities, folding picnic trays for the rear passengers and a recessed tool tray. The rear seats resemble armchairs in a posh British men's club and the three-quarter top affords considerable privacy for rear seat occupants.

Apparently Mr. Harges did not own the T57C for long before it caught the attention of Colonel Godfrey Giles, President of the Bugatti Owners Club and one of the foremost Bugatti owners of his day. As a measure of his admiration for #57787, Colonel Giles convinced Mr. Harges to trade his lovely cabriolet "even across" as the British would say, for Giles' spectacular 1938 Type 57SC Corsica-bodied roadster #57593, which he called "La Petite Suzanne."

Colonel Giles, who liked naming his Bugattis, called #57787 "Charmaine" and according to the American Bugatti Register, he said it was "...the most luxurious car of any make he had ever owned." But Giles, as well, did not own Charmaine for very long. The car's next owner, the Hon. Dorothy Paget, daughter of Lord Queenborough and Pauline Payne Whitney, was a celebrated British thoroughbred horse racing personality. Miss Paget sponsored Bentley racing teams that competed at Le Mans and she financed the development and competition of Sir Henry 'Tim' Birkin's famed 4.5 liter "Blower" Bentleys.

The Bentley connection continued. Charmaine's next owner was 3-time consecutive Le Mans winner, "Blue Train" owner and former Bentley Motors owner and chairman, Woolf "Babe" Barnato. Bugatti authority, Geoffrey Battersby was the next owner, and he sold #57787 to a Mr. R. Newsholme, from whom it passed to British industrialist, Alan Haworth, who kept the car for thirty years on his Isle of Man estate.

Noted British collector and vintage racer, Terry Cohn bought Charmaine and kept the car in his collection. Cohn had the car fully sorted mechanically by a Bugatti specialist before bringing it to the United States. In 2009 Charmaine was put up for auction by RM Auctions with an estimate of £275,000.- to £400,000.-
She sold at a price of £308,000.- / 344,000.- Euros / 513,000.- USD.


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