In one of my father’s photograph albums, there is a photograph, probably taken in 1933 or thereabouts, of Jim Fielding’s 1 1/2-litre Type 37 Grand Prix Bugatti. The car itself is well documented and is still extant.
Registered YF 4747, there are several photographs of it on the internet. Obviously a very keen enthusiast, Jim was forever tinkering with his Bugatti in an attempt to improve its performance and appearance.
On the Friday before the last 1934 Brooklands Whit Monday meeting the late Bill Boddy of Motor Sport realised that Jim’s Bugatti – outwardly a normal Type 37 – was in actual fact a very special specimen of the marque. Needless to say, he had brought it up to the track from Gloucester at a phenomenal average. In road-going trim, he regularly achieved a genuine 90mph on the Oxford Road, and did Tuffley Avenue to Olympia in 2hrs 4mins – 106.7 miles!
Boddy strolled over to examine it, as one did at Brooklands when anything new appeared, and stood before it in admiration, thinking that this was the most beautifully turned-out Bugatti that he had ever seen – and there were plenty of other immaculate examples of the marque at the time! The paintwork was spotless blue, the front axle, brakes, steering arms, etc. were shining like pure silver in the sun, the interior of the white-painted cockpit showed not a trace of oil, and the fascia was intriguingly full of dials. Perhaps the beautiful finish of the car as a whole diverted his attention from certain highly significant “bulges” in the bonnet: anyway it was not until Jim had returned and lifted it, to disclose a biggish supercharger squatting between the radiator and the cylinder-block, that it dawned upon him that this motor was a very “Special Type”.
In fact, so special that Boddy devoted several pages to it in ‘Bugantics’, the marque magazine. Anent Paul Weldon’s acquisition of GT40 P/1034, registered number HFH 67D, the Rolls-Royce for which he exchanged it, had a condition of sale that he must buy a Ferrari 330GT with it. He bought them both, exchanged the Rolls for the GT40, and then sold the Ferrari for a profit!
Does anyone know why and where this photograph was taken? My father was born in the same year as Mr. Fielding, so perhaps they could they have met at Cambridge perhaps? But did Mr. Fielding attend this university? Or was my father contemplating the purchase of the car, because shortly afterwards he bought a 1750cc Alfa Romeo Zagato which is a similar car? If you can help, please share your information and memories by clicking on the words Add a comment about this page below.