A classic ‘Bugatti’ left to rot in a rubbish-filled garage for almost a decade is expected to fetch more than £100,000 at auction, despite the fact it's a fake made in the 1980s. Its eccentric owner, engineer Alan Riley, bought the car in 1987, convinced it was a real grand prix-winning Bugatti Type 51 and worth up to £2million. Its true value was only discovered after Mr Riley died in 2010 and auctioneers handling his estate found it under a mountain of rubbish at his home in Worcestershire.
Experts at auctioneers Brightwells discovered the 'Bugatti' was a clever fake built in the 1980s by London-based engineer Keith Butti. It has only two authentic Bugatti components, its fuel tank and the rear cross member. But the auction house, based in Leominster, Herefordshire, still expects the car to attract global attention when it is sold in September. And they're estimating the replica will fetch in excess of £100,000 when it goes under the hammer. If it was an original and authentic Type 51 Bugatti, it would be worth a staggering £2million.
Classic car experts say Mr Riley went to the grave believing his car was the real thing. It had the same 2.3-litre supercharged, eight-cylinder engine. But true enthusiasts could tell the difference and remember encountering the car and its owner back in the 1980s and 90s, when Mr Riley would take it to shows.
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