There is a very special Bugatti located at the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California. The 1925 Bugatti Type 22 Brescia draws in viewers thanks to her shocking condition and fascinating back story.
The story of the Bugatti from the lake has been carefully pieced together and includes some irresistible bits. It seems that the special Bugatti logged approximately 75 years underwater because a lucky chap won her in a bet, but lacked the funds required to get the car over the Italian-Swiss border. It was mandated that all items left at the border be destroyed…and apparently that even included precious items like a Bugatti car. Some say the border agents tried to hoist the car into the lake with chains for later retrieval–but that the chains rusted out and the car plummeted to the bottom of the lake. It was at the bottom of Lake Maggiore that the vehicle remained entombed in water for close to a century.
The 1925 Bugatti Type 22 Brescia belonged to Golden Age of Grand Prix driver Rene Dreyfus. According to the legend, Dreyfus lost the car during a lubricated poker game to Swiss playboy Adalbert Bode in Paris in 1934. Bode was not exactly flush when trying to get the car home, and without the means to pay the duty fees, he was forced to leave it behind.
The car remained in the back of the minds of the locals until a violent incident in 2009 sparked a dedicated dive team to exhume it. The violent loss of a youth inspired locals to retrieve the car and use the proceeds of the sale to form a non-profit against youth violence in that child’s name. The buyer was Peter Mullin of the Mullin Automotive Museum, who shelled forth $370,000 for the tarnished relic. The machine is maintained and preserved in a unique and artistic display at the museum, walled off from other collections and luring in viewers eager to learn of the details and see it with their own eyes.
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