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Legendary Bugatti Type 22 Brescia retrieved from lake - video

Waters of the world hide a lot of unusual treasures and secrets. Divers are the few ones who have the opportunity to discover them and bring them back to the light of day, where they can be admired by people from all over the world. One such extraordinary discovery is the wreck of a 1925
Published: March 22, 2020 - 12:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 19:27
Legendary Bugatti Type 22 Brescia retrieved from lake – video

Waters of the world hide a lot of unusual treasures and secrets. Divers are the few ones who have the opportunity to discover them and bring them back to the light of day, where they can be admired by people from all over the world. One such extraordinary discovery is the wreck of a 1925 Bugatti Type 22 Brescia racing car from Lake Maggiore.

There is no point in writing about the French luxury and prestige car brand Bugatti. Thanks to the cars that have been delighting the world since 1909, the name Bugatti has become firmly established in people’s consciousness and is known not only to motoring fans, but to practically everyone, including children. Unless something has changed in this respect since my time and the Turbo gum stories, although I sincerely doubt it. But back to the topic…

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Why was the wreck of a vintage Bugatti Type 22, manufactured in the 1920s, found at the bottom of a lake in the Swiss-Italian border region? Is it possible that it was lying there in secret until 2009? Who was its owner and why was he not looking for it? These and many other questions are answered in the video below.

In 1934, the car was owned by French racing driver René Dreyfus, a legend of motor racing in the 1920s and 1930s and winner of the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix in 1930. Unfortunately, his winning streak on the racetrack did not translate to the poker table and one night, during a game played in Paris over a few glasses of something stronger, he lost his automobile to the most likely Swiss playboy Adalbert Bodé.

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But what happened that the Bugatti ended up at the bottom of a lake? Well, when Bodé decided to return to his homeland he was stopped at the border and informed that he could not bring the vehicle into Switzerland without paying a tax. Since we are talking about a man who liked to enjoy life and was a keen gambler, we have to take into account that his bank balance was torn apart by sudden inflows and outflows of cash. The latter seems to have been much more numerous, so that he was unable to redeem his winnings at the hands of the customs office. Especially as the amount of tax due exceeded the value of the car itself.

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Swiss officials therefore marked the vehicle for destruction, which was common practice for property seized as contraband. From today’s perspective, this part already seems absurd in its purest form, but it gets even better. It was decided that the simplest way to dispose of a seized car would be to… push it off a mountainside into the waters of Lake Maggiore. As we can see, you can’t deny them fantasy.

Bugatti-from-the-lake-Maggiore

The Bugatti remained underwater until 2009, when it was finally excavated. Over the years, many people have had knowledge of the unusual vehicle from the Swiss basin, but no one had previously decided to try to recover it.

This is where another, also extraordinary story begins. Damiano Tamagni, a diving club member from Ascona, was attacked in the street and beaten to death by three young men. His fellow divers from his club decided to excavate the wreckage of the Bugatti and use the money raised by selling the vehicle at the annual Bonhams Rétromobile auction in Paris for charity work to prevent youth violence.

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It was assumed that the entire operation and the auctioning of the car would raise $57,000. However, to everyone’s surprise, much more money was eventually raised. The unusual Bugatti Type 22 Brescia caught the eye of American art deco car collector Peter Mullin. He then beat off competition from another collector from the Netherlands, but had to dig deeper into his pockets to do so, as the bidding ended at 360000 USD!

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Currently, the wreck of the unusual car can be found in California, at the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, where the Bugatti is on display in the condition… in which it was retrieved from the bottom of Lake Maggiore. In addition, the entire room has been adapted to resemble the conditions found at the bottom of the lake in terms of lighting and décor.

“Ettore Bugatti started to create a work of art and mother nature finished it,” with these words Mullin explained why he chose not to restore the vehicle.

Source: robbreport.com

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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