Crossing the Block: 1934 Bugatti Type 59

Pete Weishaupt
2 min readJan 27, 2021


Ralph Lifshitz has exquisite taste. Not just in fashion, but in the aesthetics that are automobiles. He’s well known for his collection of rare cars.

You probably know him better as Ralph Lauren. It should come as no surprise to find a 1933 Bugatti Type 59 in his collection.

The Type 59 is based on the Type 54 chassis. Holes were cut in the frame to lighten it. Power came from the 3.3-liter supercharged twincam straight-8 used in the Type 57. The engine was mounted low for an improved center of gravity. A 4-speed gearbox was located roughly midway between the engine and rear differential for optimal weight distribution.

Besides setting the record for the most expensive Bugatti ever sold at auction, the Bugatti Type 59 is achingly beautiful.


The Ultimate Bugatti Grand Prix Car: The Incomparable Type 59 was campaigned as a Works Grand Prix Car During the 1934–1935 seasons. Literally fit for a king, this 1934 Bugatti Type 59 was once owned by King Leopold III of Belgium.


The gathering of four Type 59 Bugattis at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. All together for the first time since 1934.