The two Bugatti projects documented on this blog came to fruition after Tom Andrews decided to add a Bugatti to his extensive collection.
In 2015, the purchase of an original 1937 Bugatti Type 57 Ventoux in France triggered a set of events that inspired Tom and his team to build Jean Bugatti’s missing 1936 Type 57S Atlantic Coupe.
To the best of our knowledge, no one has ever built an accurate and true recreation of the “lost car”, no 57453.
The build project, and the restoration of the Ventoux, are running simultaneously at the Classics Museum restoration workshop, with a planned completion date for both cars in early 2024.
Since a very young age, Tom Andrew’s life has been entrenched with all things automotive.
From the age of sixteen, Tom began restoring old cars as a way to earn some money. A few years later when he started his own contracting company, Tom ran a workshop to maintain his trucks and roading equipment. With his ‘number 8 wire’ mentality, Tom took a hands-on approach when it came to the repairs and maintenance of his truck fleet. His natural flair for innovative design and problem-solving, saw Tom develop engineering solutions for a multitude of equipment over a forty-year period.
Throughout his adult life, Tom has collected unique and desirable cars and has carried out complete restorations on many of them. His diverse skill set ranges from painting and welding to mechanical and fabrication work.
For some years, Tom had a vision of sharing his collection of vehicles and automotive memorabilia in an appropriate setting. This dream was finally brought to life when he constructed a purpose-built facility in Hamilton, New Zealand.
In 2012, Tom proudly opened the Classics Museum. He then built and set up a dedicated restoration workshop to work on the collection of more than 100 cars.
Throughout these two Bugatti projects, Tom’s entrepreneurial and practical skills have blended perfectly with his talented restoration team. His enthusiasm, and love of life, inspire the close-knit team to not only achieve accuracy and perfection on these projects but to also enjoy this journey to the fullest.
Greg McDell began training as a motorbike mechanic at the age of 16. Three years later, he decided to enhance his qualifications and became a car mechanic.
A personal interest in circuit racing saw Greg build his own cars at home, and race them competitively across the North Island for approximately five years. Greg’s interests changed as he approached his thirties, and he began restoring WW2 military vehicles. The first restoration, which Greg carried out with his brother over a two-year period, was a 1941 English Bren gun carrier. Greg then went on to restore a Canadian-built Bren gun carrier as well as a 1942 GMC 6×6 truck. Later when Greg began competing in off-road 4 x 4 trials, he purchased several different trucks and modified each of them to suit his own personal tastes. His efforts and skill were rewarded when he went on to become New Zealand Champion in 2019/2020.
Greg remained in the automotive trade until five years ago, when Tom approached him to run the Classics Museum workshop and project manage the Bugatti builds. It became clear very quickly that Greg’s skills went far beyond his mechanical background and that he is exceptionally talented in a number of areas, particularly fabrication.
Due to his meticulous attention to detail, Greg has been the lead researcher of the Atlantic build and the Ventoux restoration. He goes above and beyond with these Bugatti projects, and his dedication and commitment to achieving historic accuracy and perfection in every aspect of the two builds is highly respected by all involved.
Like the rest of the team, Gordon White has been interested in vintage cars since an early age.
His career, however, began in the boat-building industry. After completing his trade apprenticeship, Gordon travelled overseas and worked in different roles both abroad and here in New Zealand. Several years later, he returned to boat building and personally developed a new powerboat model, taking the design from a concept drawing to a full production model.
Gordon decided to expand his skill set and worked for a large plastics industry leader, learning plastic injection moulding and tool making. An opportunity at Camco Industries saw Gordon move across to the automotive industry where he worked on ute and van fit-outs for trade and service vehicles. He then worked for a Bugatti specialist for several years before taking an extended overseas trip.
Gordon returned to the Waikato in 2019 and was encouraged by a friend to contact Tom Andrews. He was quickly welcomed to the team and has spent the past four years working on both Bugattis.
Gordon’s wide-ranging talents have been fully utilised with these builds. As well as his carpentry skills acquired during his boat-building days, he has an excellent eye for detail, enabling him to create technical componentry with absolute accuracy. He brings a wealth of experience to the Bugatti restoration team and is an asset to both of these projects.
After studying automotive restoration in Auckland, Simon Tippins began his career at Classic Car Restoration in Penrose in 1997, working alongside the industry-renowned Max Mumby.
In 2000, Simon travelled to the United States and worked at Auburn Cord Parts Co in Wellington, Kansas. The business, owned by Stan Gilliland, mostly undertook restorations of 1936 – 37 Cords and Auburns. Simon then travelled further afield to Surrey, England to work at G & A Fabrications. The owner, Lawrence Kelt, had worked for AC Cars for many years before opening his own shop specialising in historic race cars.
In 2007, Simon brought all of his overseas fabrication experience and expertise back home to Auckland where he opened his own business, Creative Metal Works Ltd. Since forming his company, Simon has worked on a wide range of cars, including AC cars, hot rods, Mopars, Ferraris and Porsches.
In 2018, Simon took on the challenge of repairing a badly damaged, heavy gauge steel, 1938 Diamond T streamlined Texaco tanker. In that same year, he began the complex and intricate fabrication of the 1936 Type 57S Atlantic Coupe aluminium body and sheet metal.
Simon’s metalworking skills are without question world-class, and he is highly regarded as one of New Zealand’s top fabricators. We are exceptionally proud to have him as one of our team.
As we began planning the Atlantic Coupe build, it was imperative that we had authentic and accurate information. We reached out to the Bugatti Trust to draw on their knowledge and access their historic documentation. Throughout the project, the Trust has been very accommodating and immensely helpful as we have liaised with them to discover and verify factual details.
Formed as a dedicated, independent Charitable Trust, the Bugatti Trust was founded in 1987 to “preserve and make available for study the works of Ettore Bugatti “.
Located in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, UK, the museum and study centre are open to the public with seasonal opening times published on the site. The Bugatti Trust has amassed “27,000 technical drawings, over 10,000 historic photographs and thousands of historic documents“, and actively supports educational programmes.
To view a fascinating collection of historic photos and learn about the influence and impact Ettore and Jean Bugatti had on the automotive industry of that era, visit the Bugatti Trust site via the link below: