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Jay Leno inspects the one-of-a-kind 1931 Bugatti Type 51 Dubos Coupe

The 1931 Bugatti Type 51 Dubos Coupe is a unique combination of coach-built bodywork and race car mechanics. Now part of the California Nethercutt Collection, it was recently featured on “Jay Leno’s Garage,” where Cameron Richards, vice president of the collection, explains the design and history of the collection. it.

This car started out as a grand prix driver, and was driven in competition by Louis Chiron (named for Bugatti Chiron) and Rene Dreyfus. It was sold in 1936 to Andre Bith, who commissioned Parisian car builder Louis Dubos to convert it into a road car. Dubos gave the car its distinctive bodywork (which Leno notes is similar to Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic), and it has been known as the Dubos Coupe ever since.

The Type 51 retains its racing engine, a twin-cam 2.3-liter twin-turbo eight that makes around 185 hp on petrol or 200 hp on wine. Combined with a 4-speed manual transmission, the engine can propel this car to 140 mph.

1931 Bugatti Type 51 Dubos Coupe in Jay Leno's Garage

1931 Bugatti Type 51 Dubos Coupe in Jay Leno’s Garage

At the back are four small exhaust pipes. This is done to avoid clearance issues with a larger diameter exhaust, Leno says. The front wheel has a smooth shell, but Bugatti’s traditional spiky racing wheel can be seen sticking out below the rear fender. Another issue is the refueling unit, which is housed in the cabin and surrounded by leather seats and can make refueling a bit stressful.

The coupe changed hands a few times over the years, and at one point the Dubos chassis and bodywork split. The Nethercutt Collection acquired the chassis, and subsequently positioned the body, as part of a collection in Colorado. After nearly 50 years, the two components were reunited as part of a total restoration.

Like all cars in the Nethercutt Collection, the Dubos Coupe is completely drivable, as Leno demonstrates by driving near his Los Angeles-area garage.

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