First pressing of the Beetle’s White album, or its millionth download on iTunes? A Christian Louboutin, or its $40 Beijing knock-off? Can you spot the differences? 99-percent of the public wouldn’t be able to, but we all want to feel special, included in exclusive clubs, and there’s no more elite club than the world of classic automobiles.
In this “One-of-One” world where numbers matching, original engines and period correct dominate Concours’ around the world, “replica” is a dirty word. The term conjures images of Ferraris built atop a 1980 Pontiac Fiero chassis’ or a Volkswagen Beetle-based 911; in other words, cut-rate and sketchy. Unfortunately, the market for real cars is going through its most ostentatious era ever. Prices are absurd with Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Bugattis, and Porsches sometimes doubling in value in just six months. To enter this Game of Cars is beyond the reach of mere mortals. Only heirs to massive media fortunes, monarchs, and brutal dictators are able to play.
Pur Sang Argentina, however, is bucking the trend of expensive classics and abysmal replicas with the company’s picture-perfect 1927 Bugatti Type 35 recreation. This was not built in 1927. Ettore Bugatti didn’t sign off on it before it went to a customer. It was not built in the company’s Molsheim factory on France’s German border. Hell, it wasn’t even built in Europe. Yet, if placed it next to a Type 35 Ettore built with his own hands, it’s more than likely the Frenchman wouldn’t be able to discern his craftsmanship between Pur Sang’s.
Pur Sang’s OCD goes to new heights as it has its own foundry and metal shop at the company’s Argentinian factory and every single piece on the car is built on-site with many of the original molds and bucks Bugatti used in the 1920s. Everything is done by hand with not a single robot, computer, or 3-D laser scanner in a ten-mile radius. As such, the end result is a perfect recreation of a Bugatti Type 35, right down to its psychotic charm.
Driving it down a two lane road in swanky Orange County there is nothing modern to compare this to. Not a thoroughbred Ferrari, not a wild-styled Lamborghini, nothing. It has no analog. Pur Sang’s Type 35 is in another taxon, a supercharged aluminum claw-foot bathtub with four skeletal wheels, no heat shielding, no syncros in the transmission, and no power assisted anything to speak of. It has no creature comforts and if I’m honest, the Pur Sang Type 35 should be nicknamed Drogon, as it has more in common with Daenerys Targaryen’s fire breathing dragons than modern automobiles.
Powering this mechanical myth is a supercharged 2.3-liter inline-8 cylinder engine, and like the rest of the car, it too is forged by Pur Sang, and capable of sending fusillades of cannon fire through its unrestricted exhaust. A primal noise, the exhaust tends to drive of-age males and females into a fevered state of sexual arousal, which can becomes quite a problem when one is behind the bondage-esque leather and rope wrapped steering wheel where room and comfort at already at a premium.
This heightened state is further worsened by the four-speed dog-box transmission located outside the car’s body. Shifting the transmission becomes profoundly exciting. Each shift is an animalistic exaltation. You grunt, groan, and exert your right arm’s total force, connecting you to the car like no other modern manual. It’s absolutely sublime. And when you pass by a Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, or Mercedes-AMG, you get a sense of how those drivers look down up people driving a Prius, Camry, or Elantra. In the big, bad Bug, you’ll look at them, giggle like a schoolboy or girl, and leave them with their mouths agape from the aural blitzkrieg the Type 35 is capable of producing and the knowledge their supercar isn’t as cool as yours.
Inside the hand-beaten aluminum skin sits a single caramel-colored baseball-glove-esque leather seat that does little more than provide a small barrier between the hard aluminum inner shell and your posterior. There’s the 50 Shades of Gray steering wheel, the external shifter, and that’s about it as like the original, there’s no heat shielding on the transmission tunnel, nor is the pedal box larger than a loaf of bread.
Prospective Pur Sang buyers need to know they aren’t buying a luxury vehicle like a Mercedes-Benz S-Class Maybach or Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead, both of which will transport you from Point A to Point B in utter indulgence. With the Pur Sang, you’re buying an experience and a status that is simply unobtainable without a bank account the size of South Africa’s GDP. And the experience this car delivers is worthy of nearly any sum you can conjure. If you have the means, and are of the mindset of doing something daring and unique, call up Pur Sang and order yourself a Type 35. Story By Jonathon Klein.
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