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The 1937 and 1939 24 Hours of Le Mans Winning Bugatti 57C.


David Green
(@david-green)
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Posts: 2441
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The 1939 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 16th Grand Prix of Endurance, and took place at Circuit de la SartheLe MansFrance, on 17 and 18 June 1939. 
By June 1939, the outbreak of World War II was less than three months away. The following year's 24 Hours of Le Mans was originally planned for June 1940, but due to the invasion of France in May the race was called off. Endurance racing would not return to Le Mans until 1949, four years after V-E day ended World War II in Europe.
starting line of the 24 hours of le mans 1939
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Jean Pierre Wimille et Pierre Veyron vainqueurs des 24 Heures du Mans 1939 sur Bugatti Type 57C
 
 

Number of competitors: 42

Number classified as finishers: 16

Winners: Jean-Pierre Wimille and Pierre Veyron (#1 Bugatti 57C)

Distance covered by the winners and average speed: 3,346 km (249 laps) at an average 139 kph

Highlights:

  • The winners established a new distance record at the wheel of the only Bugatti fielded in that year’s 24 Hours.
  • The 1939 victory was the second for Jean-Pierre Wimille, after his win on his Le Mans début in 1937. 

 

Here is a Starter Kit model of the Bugatti 57C 1939 Winner that I built a few years ago.

 

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David Holcombe
(@d-m-holcombe)
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Joined: 8 months ago
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David, I really like your work with the Starter kit.  Well done!  And I also applaud your mixture of the pictures of the original along with the model.  A fine post!  Thanks. Laugh David H


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Harv Goranson
(@mg-harv)
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Joined: 25 years ago
Posts: 873
 

This is the Spark version, released around 5 or 6 years ago. Spark included body-color stone guards ahead of the headlights and painted the car in a flat blue. Not sure where they determined the paint color, but headlamp guards seemed to be in place for at least part of the race.

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Spark 43LM39 Bugatti pic1
Spark 43LM39 Bugatti pic2
Spark 43LM39 Bugatti pic3

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David Green
(@david-green)
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Posts: 2441
Topic starter  

Bugatti 57C

Harv mentions above that the Spark model version of the 1939 Bugatti 57C is in flat blue. My search so far has not turned up a colour image of this historic car. Unfortunately, the car no longer exists. Models of the vehicle were made in both gloss and flat paint.

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bugatti 1939 lemans 24 hour 02 800

 

On 11 August 1939, while testing the Type 57 tank-bodied racer which had just won the 24 Hours of Le Mans race that year, not far from the factory on the road near the village of Duppigheim, 30-year-old Jean Bugatti was killed when he lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a tree, after avoiding a cyclist. Jean was the son of Etienne Bugatti.

image

 

Bugatti introduced the legendary Type 57 in 1934. In true Bugatti fashion, the chassis of this high-performance road car was proven on the race track.The Type 57G took to the track in 1937, with an enclosed body that was quickly dubbed the "Tank." The Type 57G did Bugatti proud, winning the French Grand Prix in 1936 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1937 and 1939.

The Type 57G took to the track in 1937, with an enclosed body that was quickly dubbed the "Tank." The Type 57G did Bugatti proud, winning the French Grand Prix in 1936 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1937 and 1939.

Here is the 1937 Le Mans Winning Bugatti 57C as modelled by Spark. I note that the dark blue of this model is flat.

 

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Just three Type 57G Tanks were produced, but what the car lacked in production numbers it more than made up for in results.

 


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Harv Goranson
(@mg-harv)
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Joined: 25 years ago
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As a correction, I said flat blue, not flat black. And I have the '37 Bugatti by Spark too. In between these two victories there was the Delahaye 135CS driven by Shaboud and Tremoulet, also modeled by Spark. Here's that one, plus another view of the '37 Bug.

Spark 43LM37 Bugatti pic3
Spark 43LM38 Delahaye pic1
Spark 43LM38 Delahaye pic2
Spark 43LM38 Delahaye pic3

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Curtis Parisi
(@parisi50)
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Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 102
 

Nice model and I like your race details.


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Chris Sweetman
(@chris-sweetman)
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Joined: 25 years ago
Posts: 126
 

The Bugatti 1937 and 1939 Le Mans winners were very different cars:

https://www.stevebarnettmodelcars.com/photo_12782172.html#photos_id=12782191

This is based on the Starter kit. Note Steve used gloss paint for both blues.

https://www.stevebarnettmodelcars.com/photo_12782172.html#photos_id=12782172

Also based on a Starter kit and Steve uses a gloss for this one too.

Incidentally, doesn't the Spark use the mouldings from Starter?

Here is an official piece on the 1939 victory from Bugatti:

https://www.bugatti.com/media/news/2019/80-years-ago/

Unfortunately, no mention if the blue was flat or gloss but in the leading photo from the article it does look like there was a shine to the paint finish.

 

 

Robin Hood County
Nottinghamshire England UK


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David Green
(@david-green)
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Posts: 2441
Topic starter  

@chris-sweetman

Thank you Chris. That Steve Barnett website is wonderful and what a great model builder he is. Love those extra details.

I am inclined to think that at least the 1939 Bugatti 57C had gloss paint, but not as glowing as our current paint. The reflections on the black and white images tend to support that in both a few that I have and that official piece that you show here.

I did read in a few sources in the early days of Spark that they used Provence Moulage and Starter resin kits as the basis for their models. If did so, I doubt with their current success and variety, that the still do so.

I still have several dozen unbuilt resin kits but I have build dozens also, but no where near the Steve Barnett quality. I hope to show a few more post-war Le Mans winners that I have built, over the next few weeks. I don't build much recently, finding it easier to purchase Spark and a few other ready built models of good quality.

I started early with white metal and still have a large number of these, both built and still in boxes, but the resin seemed much easier to work with and generally produced a more finished product.

 

 


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