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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Submerged Bugatti Recovered After 74 Years Goes To Auction

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An original 1925 Bugatti Brescia Type 22 Roadster, submerged in a lake for over 70 years, is expected to fetch at least €70,000 when it hits the auction block later this month. The car had been in Switzerland's Lake Maggiore since 1936 following an argument between the car's owner and a government official.

Roughly 20% of the car is reusable, including the aluminum, brass, rubber, and wood used in its original assembly. The car suffered more damage on its right-hand side due to its position in the lake. Evidence of early tuning work shows a car with "a simple racing body lacking electrics," two-piece valances under the bonnet, and flared rear mudguards. The car's identity was tracked through its chassis number, 2461, engine number, 879, and gearbox number, 964. It carries a Chausson radiator, Zenith carburetor, and a twin ignition from SEV.

Proceeds from the car's auction will benifit the Fondazione Damiano Tamagni charity, which works to reduce levels of violent crimes amongst juveniles. The foundation was named for Damiano Tamagni, a young man killed in February 2008 after being severely beaten by three others in Locarno, Switzerland. Tamagni was a member of a diving club which frequently toured the car underwater. His father Maurizio is still a member of the club, and worked with them to rescue the vehicle.

The last owner of the car is believed to be Marco Schmuklerski, an architect who's buildings are still dotted around the country. Rumors in Switzerland suggest that an official, upset that import taxes were never paid on the car, demanded the car´s destruction. The official´s underlings complied by dumping the car in the water, where it was forgotten until 1967 when a local diver found the car half-buried on the lakebed.

As a group the diving club worked to surface the car, an event witnessed by Bugatti Club Suisse members last July. Estimates suggest the auction value of the car could top €90,000. The vehicle could potentially be restored, or it could be prepared as a display piece.

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Fiat 500 EV & Chrysler Badged Lancia Delta Displayed in Detroit

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Fiat is showing off their influence on Chrysler at this year's NAIAS. The Italian automaker has 20% ownership of the American brand, managerial control over it, and is using the Detroit show to introduce new models to Americans.

Small cars are seen as critical to Chrysler's a new chapter in the company's history. Thus, new management ordered engineers at Fiat-owned Lancia to rebrand the Delta as a Chrysler. Sporting a new grille, the Delta is not expected to be rebranded as a Chrysler for the North American market. The rebadged Lancia is mainly a conversation piece for Chrysler to guage reactions to the synergistic possibilities between the two brands.

The Delta is joined by the Fiat 500 EV and the Abarth 500. Fiat plans to kick-off NA sales of the 500 later this year with a 100-horsepower 1.4-liter engine produced in Michigan. A 175-horsepower turbocharged unit will be fitted for the NA-spec Abarth 500. Vehicle production will take place in Mexico

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