Last weekend was my son Felix’s eighth birthday. You may remember last year I fantasized about getting Felix this Fix-It Felix arcade game from the movie Wreck-It Ralph for Christmas, although that never panned out. This year his birthday gifts included video games (both handheld and for the Xbox), a whoopee cushion (they never get old), various lights, some clothes, and so forth. What he really wanted was an electric skateboard – all the power, and none of the effort. Aside from the cost, there were the usual parental concerns about giving a toy to a kid that might end up hurting the child, or someone else. Today’s remarkable find makes me rethink my position.
We ran across this incredible replica of a 1930’s Bugatti “Baby” Type 52 Electric Car:
The Bugatti Type 52 electric car, nicknamed “Baby” by the folks who made her, was a beauty to behold. The listing explains:
“The Bugatti Type 52 was a half-scale Bugatti Type 35 electric racing car for children. About 90 examples were produced at the Molsheim factory between 1927 and 1936, and the cars were frequently used both as playthings and for more serious racing among the children of the European elite. The number 52 was probably given by the late Hugh Conway and was never used by the factory. The factory always referred the car as Baby.
The first example of a Type 52 was built for Ettore’s son, five year old Roland, and was first shown at an exhibition in Milan.
The Type 52 was powered by a single 12 volt electric motor with front and reverse. Braking was done by way of expanding wooden shoes at the front and rear drums.
The car was originally just 1200 mm (47.2 in) between the wheels, but this was expanded to 1350 mm (53.1 in) when it was found that even children had difficulty with leg room. The car was about 1800mm long overall with a 625 mm (24.6 in) track width.
This Type 52 “Baby”, built subsequent to the cars the factory put out, is a near perfect reproduction of the original Type 52 built by Bugatti. This Type 52 runs and drives as the original did, and is in extremely well restored condition.”
Now I am not saying that Felix would like this car, if I could afford to buy it for his birthday. No, he would absolutely love it! All I would need to do is have an original Bugatti Type 35 (the full scale model, according to the listing) and we could go tooling down the road together. Never mind walking to school – let’s take the matching Bugattis! Incredible as it may seem, we had a replica Bugatti Veyron up for sale a couple of years ago, so it isn’t completely out of the question that me and Felix could have our own replica Bugattis…
But back to this particular car. The seller has done some research, and determined that this car was most likely one of the William Harrah Type 52s, handmade in the early 1970’s. But does it run? Again, the seller explains:
“This car runs and drives and is ready to be taken out and run by anyone small enough to fit in it. If you would like me to send you a video of my nephew actually driving the car, please let me know and I will email it.”
We kind of wish he had posted it to YouTube, or put it on the listing page, but for now our imagination will do. Finally, the seller states:
“With all of this history, this car should not be discredited in any way from the original, as the originals have recently sold for over six figures. As this car and the cars like it built by Harrah are near flawless re-issues, collectors consider these cars important in their own right. “
Felix and I would have to agree – I wonder if the seller would consider a trade for a beater Big Wheel?