Waimak Clas­sic Cars finds home for Bob Turn­bull’s 1934 Bu­gatti Type 57

New Zealand Classic Car - - NATIONWIDE NEWS -

Any Bu­gatti badge com­mands a cer­tain level of ap­proval, ad­mi­ra­tion and re­spect, so it’s good news that Bob Turn­bull’s much-loved 1934 Bu­gatti Type 57 Gan­gloff road­ster has found a per­ma­nent home in New Zealand.

In 1956 the car was im­ported into New Zealand for a price of £350. It was in 1958 that Bob Turn­bull took own­er­ship of the T57, and trans­ported it to the small, quiet town­ship of Ophir, where it has been for the past 50 years.

Bob Turn­bull was un­doubt­edly one of New Zealand’s great­est tal­ents, and a metic­u­lous en­gi­neer. He was a quiet, re­tir­ing sort of chap, a reclu­sive man, who en­joyed noth­ing more than spend­ing time in his shed just out of Alexan­dra in Cen­tral Otago, work­ing on com­plex projects, in­clud­ing this Bu­gatti.

'”A ge­nius,” one friend says. “A leg­end,” says a for­mer col­league, who com­pared Turn­bull’s abil­i­ties with those of the late John Brit­ten, the New Zealand me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer best-known for his rad­i­cal mo­tor­cy­cle de­signs.

A re­cent book on Can­ter­bury com­pany Hamil­ton Jet, writ­ten by John Walsh, cred­its Turn­bull with de­vel­op­ing a key el­e­ment in the firm’s jet propul­sion units, a twin­ducted re­vers­ing mech­a­nism now used world­wide. Founded by sheep­farmer-turned-en­gi­neer Sir Wil­liam Hamil­ton, Hamil­ton Jet might be syn­ony­mous with fast boats, but it is the wa­ter-jet propul­sion sys­tem it­self that has led the com­pany’s suc­cess, its range of units be­ing used around the world, from naval and coast­guard pa­trol boats to fast fer­ries. Bob also de­signed a 1031 jet unit, which was aimed at the shal­low-draft fish­ing boat mar­ket in New Zealand.

Bob had a ter­rific mind. Ev­ery­thing had to be done ac­cord­ing to a the­ory. He was mar­vel­lous at do­ing draw­ings of de­signs he wanted. In an im­per­fect world, it seems Turn­bull sought so­lace in pre­ci­sion. Bob Turn­bull died in 2012, yet his legacy lives on — mem­o­ries and tales of a me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer who had a mind as strong as the blocks of steel with which he played.

This Bu­gatti T57 un­der­went a ground-up restora­tion to what is be­lieved to be its orig­i­nal colours of pearl with bur­gundy trim and car­pet, and pale tan up­hol­stery.

The Bob Turn­bull Char­i­ta­ble Trust is de­lighted that the Bu­gatti is stay­ing in New Zealand, and that as a re­sult, Bob’s legacy will live on not just in the Bu­gatti, but also through a trust he es­tab­lished to help po­ten­tial engi­neer­ing stu­dents fa­cil­i­tate im­prove­ment of the so­cial, cul­tural, ed­u­ca­tional, eco­nomic and spir­i­tual lives of the com­mu­nity, and to carry out other such char­i­ta­ble pur­poses in New Zealand.

The ve­hi­cle is now un­der the proud own­er­ship of Steve Lock­wood, an Auck­land busi­ness­man, whose in­ten­tions for the car are as noble as those of Bob Turn­bull. The Bu­gatti will be of­fered on dis­play around prom­i­nent New Zealand car mu­se­ums so that all Ki­wis could en­joy and learn about this unique ve­hi­cle, its prove­nance and the leg­end behind it — Bob Turn­bull.

The sale of the Bu­gatti was man­aged by Waimak Clas­sic Car. Thanks to Glo­ria and Jes­mond for pro­vid­ing this in­for­ma­tion, and keep­ing such an amaz­ing piece of mo­tor­ing his­tory on our fair shores. For pho­tos and more in­for­ma­tion on the Type 57, head to the­mo­tor­hood.com and search for 'Bu­gatti'.

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