1948 CDL
Chorlton Special


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+32 (0)3 353 33 31     info@hcservices.be

Originally conceived as a Bugatti-based, Alta-engined
Grand Prix
car from the 1950s,
this captivating single-seat racer holds a rich and intriguing history.

FIA Papers 
VSCC Buff Form 

2500cc Alta Engine, 4 cylinder, 180HP, pre-select gearbox 


Constructed in the style of a Monoposto GP car, powered by an Alta engine.  
Its remarkable journey has been well-documented. 
It participated in numerous significant races, including the 1948 International British Empire
Trophy Race and the Zandvoort Grand Prix of the same year.
Notably, it made appearances at the 2017 Goodwood Members Meeting, returning to the event after a
hiatus of 67 years since its initial appearance at the inaugural Members Meeting in 1950.
In September 2021, it achieved a class win at VSCC Loton Park, demonstrating its ongoing potential. 
For racing enthusiasts, this presents an unparalleled opportunity to relive the exhilarating days of wheel-to-wheel competition. 


The call for racing


Get to know the car!

Michael Chorlton

In 1946, Michael Chorlton, a renowned film editor and director of the time, acquired the Bugatti Type 51A previously owned by Count Stansilaw Czaykowski from Jack Lemon Burton. Being a member of The Brooklands Junior Car Club, Chorlton's passion for motorsports consumed him, and he aspired to create a successful racing marque. Thus, the Bugatti underwent a gradual transformation under Centaur Developments Limited (CDL) into the Chorlton Special. Numerous modifications were made, prioritizing weight reduction and aerodynamics. The chassis was narrowed, the two-seater body was replaced with a streamlined monoposto design, and the suspension and other mechanical components of the Special were reengineered 


The successful outcome led to the single-seat Bugatti competing in various international events, including the 1948 International British Empire Trophy in the Isle of Man, the 1948 Zandvoort Grand Prix, the first-ever Goodwood Members Meeting in April 1950, and the Daily Express International Trophy at Silverstone the same year. Frequently seen alongside Altas, Alfas, and ERAs, the Chorlton Special proved its prowess, securing a notable 5th place overall finish at the Goodwood Meeting.

Further enhancing

Tragically, in 1950, Michael Chorlton lost his life in a plane crash, and the Special changed hands, eventually falling into the possession of Mr. Rigg. He further enhanced the car by installing a supercharged Alta engine, a DB2 back axle, and a pre-selector gearbox. Under Rigg's ownership, the car successfully competed in VSCC events throughout the 1960s. As is customary with racing cars, the Special changed hands multiple times over the following years. Eventually, it was acquired by Roger Hart in 1994, even though without the original chassis. Recognizing the importance of a chassis, a replacement was procured in the form of a modified Gino Hoskins T51 Replica Chassis, which accommodated the car and featured a naturally aspirated Emeryson 2.5-litre Alta engine. 

Recent times

In more recent times, the car has been actively campaigned by Nick Pellet and, more recently, Max Sowerby. Both enlisted the expertise of Gareth Burnett's Pace Products to further develop the vehicle. The car got a completly restored from 2005. And It made notable appearances at the 2017 Goodwood Members Meeting and, more recently, at VSCC Loton Park in September 2021, where it achieved a first-place finish in its class under the skillful driving of Tom Hardma


This exceptional car naturally possesses a remarkable history, having participated in a multitude of esteemed events. With a collection of invoices, construction plans, period photographs, and numerous articles, it carries a wealth of stories and tales. It presents an unparalleled opportunity for the next owner to relish the thrill of racing from a bygone era while also contributing their own legacy to this exquisite race car.


More information

+32 (0)3 353 33 31     info@hcservices.be

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