A rare Bugatti that has spent 73 years at the bottom of a Swiss lake is expected to fetch more than €90,000 at auction, the same as a brand new luxury motor.

The 1925 open-top Type 22 is known as the Bugatti Brescia, after the Italian track where the model took the top four places at a race in 1921.

It is now believed that it belonged to Max Schmuklerski, a Swiss-Polish architect who left it in store in a builder’s yard.

The builder, tired of being pestered by customs officials to pay the import taxes on the car, pushed it into the Lake Maggiore in 1936.

It is believed that 20 per cent of the vehicle is salvageable and collectors and museums are likely to be keen to buy it.

The lightweight 1.5 litre, four-cylinder tourer was capable of speeds of up to 100mph.

The story of the “drowned Bugatti” was regarded locally as folklore until it was found by a diver 160ft (49m) below the surface in 1967.

The sale is on January 23 at the Bonhams Retromobile sale in France.

Source: TimesOnline