When’s The Last Time You Saw These French Beasts Racing Wheel To Wheel?
Story by Stewart Perry // Photography by Ross Perry
A race meeting in rural Victoria, approximately 130 miles from Melbourne, is not the place you’d expect to find an abundance of pre-war French Grand Prix cars here in Australia. The recent Historic Winton held at the Winton Motor Raceway, however, would make you rethink that theory.
With an exceptional turnout of seven of these Grand Prix beasts, France’s once-world-dominating machines were able to delight the crowd with their speed, simplicity, and seriously brave pilots.
Five Type 35, 37, and 51 Grand Prix Bugattis were accompanied by a 1926 Talbot Darracq Grand Prix (one of only three ever produced), and a 1927 Salmson Grand Prix. An early Bugatti Type 23 Brescia road car also ran, albeit in the regularity section rather than the all-out racing class.
This year marked the Historic Winton’s 40th anniversary, having been established in 1976 as Australia’s second ever (by a mere five months) all-historic race event. It was a sight to watch all of the classes thunder ’round, sure—but these pre-war machines stole the show.