Lake Maggiore is simply beautiful. This sparkling lake is located partly in Italy and partly in Switzerland. And during the early twentieth century, there was a curious legend regarding the lake – a legend that turned out to be true.
Locals were sure that a 1926 Bugatti ‘slept with the fishes’ – that it was on the bed of the lake.
The story goes that the 1925 Bugatti Type 22 Brescia Roadster had been owned by Grand Prix racing driver René Dreyfus. However, he had lost the car in an exuberant high-stakes game of poker back in 1934. The new owner was the Swiss playboy, Adalbert Bodé.
The game had taken place in Paris and Bodé drove his car back to Switzerland where he found that he had to pay import duty. Playboy gambler Bodé might have been but he didn’t have the money to pay. Either that or he didn’t want to — or couldn’t be bothered — we’re not really sure but the fact remains that he left it with the officials at the border.
Let them get rid of it, he thought. It was ten years old after all. It wasn’t worth the hassle or certainly not the money. So the Official decided to get rid of the old banger. They rolled it down the hill and into the lake. The car gently sank to the bottom where it stayed until we fast forward the story until 1967.
Thanks to new technology, deep diving has become a thing and the local dive club discovered that the legend was true – the old Bugatti really was there on the bottom of the lake.
We fast forward again to 2008 when a tragedy struck the area. A murder provoked the local diving club to spearhead a campaign to help prevent such senseless murders. Although the tragedy was, of course, unconnected with the car, the dive club decided to resurrect it and sell it to create funds for their charity.
The next year, the Bugatti was brought up to the surface and sold to Peter Mullin of the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California. The price was in the region of $350,000.
Today the car remains on display in the museum.
WHERE IS THE MUSEUM?
Mullin Automotive Museum
1421 Emerson Ave,
WHERE IS LAKE MAGGIORE?
JJ is originally from the UK and has lived in South Florida since 1994. She is the founder and editor of JAQUO Magazine. You can connect with her using the social media icons below.