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Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Una Bugatti per Damiano: forgotten Bugatti Brescia Type 22 is rescued to help people

Damiano Tamagni was a 22-years-old Swiss lad that was beaten to death by three young criminals in a Carnival night in Locarno, Swiss. His parents, instead of only mourning, created a foundation in order to prevent juvenile violence, the Fondazione Damiano Tamagni. What does this have to do with cars, you may ask, but, in this case, everything. In order to work, this foundation has to count on financial help and it has received a very nice one from a lady that was lying at the bottom of the lake Maggiore, in Switzerland. Her name? Bugatti Type 22 Brescia.

People do not have a real idea of how this precious car was ever sunk, but it seems the car was one of three vehicles ordered by a Swiss dealer of Bugatti. Since only two clients paid the import taxes, the remaining car could not enter the country. Why it has been sunk makes no sense at all to us, but... The fact is that the car was in the water for over 80 years, at least. It was first delivered in Nancy, France, in April 11, 1925.

The Type 22 comes from the Type 13, the first car Bugatti has mass-produced (2,005 units). The name Brescia has emerged from a victory that happened in 1921 in this Italian city in which all first four places included Bugatti Type 13 vehicles. The road legal versions of the car were named "Brescia modifiée", or Brescia modified. The Type 13 was a light car (450 kg) powered by a four-cylinder 1,4-litre engine (more precisely 1,368 cm³). It delivered 40 hp at 4,500 rpm. As with most cars of that time, Bugatti only sold the structure of the car (chassis and engine), which was taken to a coachbuilder in order to have a body. The one that was built for the Bugatti in the lake Maggiore was a service from Emaille, a coachbuilder that must not be that popular, once no one knows of other works it might have performed.

Now the car will be restored (believe, it is possible) and sold. The money will be given to Fondazione Damiano Tamagni. This is why the operation to save the car, officially announced in November 2008, was called "Una Bugatti per Damiano", or "A Bugatti for Damiano". It is a pity the car can't bring Damiano back, but at least it will help some other young guys not to leave so soon.

These are pictures that gives us an idea on what the car may look like when its restoration is completed. This is a 1923 Type 22, once driven by Colonel B. Austin, a disabled man (he had no legs) that entered the car in 16 races and won 11 of them. This helped change laws in the United Kingdom in order to allow handicapped people to drive. The pictures are at The Annex to The Green Dragon at Picasa and we have received the kind authorization of its owner to publish them here. What a noble car this is...

Source: Una Bugatti per Damiano and The Annex to The Green Dragon at Picasa