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The Early Days

Let us start at the very beginning and with the personalities of the time telling the story of the beginnings of our Club: ‘Our birth occurred on December 18th 1929, when three total strangers met to discuss over a meal the possibilities of starting a Club in order to bring together the particular enthusiasts who own Bugatti cars.’

The above was written by the Editor, D.B. Madeley, then living at Kingston-on-Thames, Surrey, in the very first issue of Bugantics, the Club Magazine, in June 1931.

The Club started with the idea that those owning Bugattis, having something very much in common, should be able to gather at various times to discuss their pet theories and (dare we say) troubles. By the end of 1930 there were about 40 members; by the end of 1931 this number had doubled, and in 1932 150 had been reached. After a while a number of motoring enthusiasts who did not own a Bugatti applied for membership, and in order to add interest in the Club, they were admitted; and in each year the Club has progressed not only in numbers but in its standing in the world of motor sport.

More details emerge in Bugantics, February 1954 (Vol. 17 No.1). This marked the Silver Jubilee of the Bugatti Owners’ Club. Firstly ELGY the pen name for Eric Giles, who was by that time President of our Club explained ‘How and Why it all started’: ‘The credit for the idea of forming a Bugatti Club belongs to one D.B. Madeley by name…

‘I believe he started his ball rolling by writing to the motoring press suggesting the formation of a club for Bugatti enthusiasts and as a result of this, one evening way back in 1929 three people met over a glass of beer – and, as you know from the familiar picture at the beginning of every copy of Bugantics out of the smoke of that meeting the Club was born. The three people? One pipe, of course belonged to Madeley, the second belonged to Colonel Giles and the cigarette holder to T. Ambrose Varley …’


So the Club was formed and the first meeting was held at Colonel Giles’ house in Regents Park on 28th March 1930. Varley became the first Hon. Secretary, Madeley was made Hon. Treasurer and a Committee (which we called a Council) was formed with Colonel Giles as Chairman. In due course, M. Ettore Bugatti was announced as the Club's Patron with The Rt. Hon. The Earl Howe as President and Captain Sir Malcolm Campbell as Vice-President.

Finally we come to what until now might have appeared an incongruity regarding the date of the formation of our Club: ‘Under the Company’s Act, 1929, the Club became a Limited Company, Incorporated the 22nd day of March, 1930, and in the Memorandum of Association one of the objects of the Club was “To promote the sport and pastime of motoring as it applies to owners of Bugatti cars, road riding, racing, touring and good fellowship in all its branches and all other pastimes, sports, recreation, amusements or entertainment.” The Memorandum was dated 4th March 1930.

Amongst the matters discussed was the design of a suitable badge for the Club, which Eric Giles undertook. Eric Giles also designed the front cover for Bugantics (from the second issue to date). It was further decided that the first Club Rally should be held on 4th May 1930. This was to be held at the Haycock Inn at Wansford, near Peterborough.

‘Founded 1929’ appeared alongside the heading illustration in Bugantics for March 1939, and in all subsequent issues. The formation of the Club and its founding stems from that historic meeting in December 1929.

From the Archives

This article has been produced from the Club Archives.  A great resource that is available to Members.

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