BUGATTI VEYRON Automobiles Molsheim, Alsace, France

Bugatti

Bugatti
Private
Industry Automotive
Fate Sold to Hispano-Suiza (1963)
Sold to Volkswagen Group(July 1998)
Successor Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S.
Founded 1909
Founder Ettore Bugatti
Defunct 1963
Headquarters Molsheim, Alsace, France
Key people
Products Automobiles
120 million (2008 est.)
Website www.bugatti.com

Automobiles Ettore Bugatti was a French car manufacturer of high-performance automobiles, founded in 1909 in the then German city of Molsheim, Alsace by Italian-born Ettore Bugatti. Bugatti cars were known for their design beauty (Ettore Bugatti was from a family of artists and considered himself to be both an artist and constructor) and for their many race victories. Famous Bugattis include the Type 35 Grand Prix cars, the Type 41 “Royale”, the Type 57 “Atlantic” and the Type 55 sports car.

The death of Ettore Bugatti in 1947 proved to be the end for the marque, and the death of his son Jean Bugatti in 1939 ensured there was not a successor to lead the factory. No more than about 8,000 cars were made. The company struggled financially, and released one last model in the 1950s, before eventually being purchased for its airplane parts business in the 1960s. In the 1990s, an Italian entrepreneur revived it as a builder of limited production exclusive sports cars. Today, the name is owned by German automobile manufacturing group Volkswagen.

Under Ettore Bugatti

Founder Ettore Bugatti was born in Milan, Italy, and the automobile company that bears his name was founded in 1909 in Molsheim located in the Alsace region which was part of the German Empire from 1871 to 1919. The company was known both for the level of detail of its engineering in its automobiles, and for the artistic way in which the designs were executed, given the artistic nature of Ettore’s family (his father, Carlo Bugatti (1856–1940), was an important Art Nouveau furniture and jewelry designer).

World War I and its aftermath

During the war Ettore Bugatti was sent away, initially to Milan and later to Paris, but as soon as hostilities had been concluded he returned to his factory at Molsheim. Less than four months after the Versailles Treaty formalised the transfer of Alsace from Germany to France, Bugatti was able to obtain, at the last minute, a stand at the 15th Paris motor show in October 1919. He exhibited three light cars, all of them closely based on their pre-war equivalents, and each fitted with the same overhead camshaft 4-cylinder 1,368cc engine with four valves per cylinder. Smallest of the three was a “Type 13” with a racing body (constructed by Bugatti themselves) and using a chassis with a 2,000 mm (78.7 in) wheelbase. The others were a “Type 22” and a “Type 23” with wheelbases of 2,250 and 2,400 mm (88.6 and 94.5 in) respectively.

Racing successes

The company also enjoyed great success in early Grand Prix motor racing: in 1929 a privately entered Bugatti won the first ever Monaco Grand Prix. Racing success culminated with driver Jean-Pierre Wimille winning the 24 hours of Le Mans twice (in 1937 with Robert Benoist and 1939 with Pierre Veyron).

Bugatti cars were extremely successful in racing. The little Bugatti Type 10 swept the top four positions at its first race. The 1924 Bugatti Type 35 is probably the most successful racing car of all time, with over 2,000 wins. The Type 35 was developed by Bugatti with master engineer and racing driver Jean Chassagne who also drove it in the car’s first ever Grand Prix in 1924 Lyon. Bugattis swept to victory in the Targa Florio for five years straight from 1925 through 1929. Louis Chiron held the most podiums in Bugatti cars, and the modern marque revival Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. named the 1999 Bugatti 18/3 Chiron concept car in his honour. But it was the final racing success at Le Mans that is most remembered—Jean-Pierre Wimille and Pierre Veyron won the 1939 race with just one car and meagre resources.

Aeroplane racing

In the 1930s, Ettore Bugatti got involved in the creation of a racer airplane, hoping to beat the Germans in the Deutsch de la Meurthe prize. This would be the Bugatti 100P, which never flew. It was designed by Belgian engineer Louis de Monge who had already applied Bugatti Brescia engines in his “Type 7.5” lifting body.

Railcar

Ettore Bugatti also designed a successful motorised railcar, the Autorail (Autorail Bugatti).

Autorail Bugatti

 Autorail Bugatti
Autorail Bugatti, conservé à Mulhouse

Présidentiel conservé à Mulhouse.

Identification
Exploitant(s) État, AL, PLM
SNCF
Désignation Wagon Rapide (WR)
Type autorail
Constructeur(s) Ettore Bugatti
Nombre 88 (1 préservé)
Service commercial de 1933 à 1958
Caractéristiques techniques
Disposition des essieux DD
Moteur 4 à essence
 Cylindres 8 cyl. en ligne
 Distribution 1 a.c. en tête
 Puissance 147 kW
(200 ch)
à 2000 tr/min
 Transmission hydromécanique
Diamètre roues motrices 710 mm
Masse en service 38 t
Dimensions
 Longueur 21,08 m
Vitesse maximale 172 km/h
Vue du poste de conduite de l’autorail Bugatti

C’est en 1932, que l’autorail Bugatti (le Wagon Rapide WR, d’après la dénomination du constructeur) est conçu par le bureau d’études d’Ettore Bugatti. En 9 mois, cet automoteur est construit avec des techniques issues de l’automobile, pour écouler les moteurs de la Bugatti Type 41 «Royale», voiture de prestige qui était un échec commercial.

Technique

La motorisation de l’autorail est assurée par 4 moteurs à essence, 8 cylindres en ligne de 12 750 cm3, un arbre à cames en tête, alimenté par 2 carburateurs Zenith : la puissance de chaque moteur est de 200 ch à2 000 tr/min pour le ferroviaire.

Les moteurs sont accouplés par paire, en prise directe avec une transmission hydromécanique sur des bogies à 4 essieux à roues « élastiques ». La caisse est légère et aérodynamique, les freins sont à tambour. La cabine de conduite est disposée en kiosque (dépassant de la toiture), au centre de l’élément, juste au-dessus des 4 moteurs.

Historique

Bugatti Affiche Paris-Lyon 4h50 Automotrice rapide Bugatti

Affiche du PLM.

1935 Affiche Bugatti Record

Record du monde de vitesse en 1935.

Cet autorail est l’un des premiers trains rapides modernes au monde. Le premier prototype construit en Alsace, fut prêt au printemps 1933 et les performances furent spectaculaires : 172 kilomètres à l’heure en essai.

Le premier modèle (mono caisse pour 48 voyageurs) est mis en service par le réseau de l’État sur ParisDeauville en mai 1933 qu’il assure à la moyenne de 116 kilomètres à l’heure. En février 1934 le 2e autorail est livré. Entre ces deux dates le réseau de l’État, par l’intermédiaire de son directeur Raoul Dautry, avait passé commande de deux autres autorails qui seront livrés en juillet et octobre 1934. Le 24 octobre 1934, l’un des deux premiers autorails atteint 192 kilomètres à l’heure entre Le Mans et Connerré. En mai 1934 l’État commanda une nouvelle série de 5 exemplaires.

Ils furent utilisés par les réseaux de l’État, du PLM, d’Alsace-Lorraine (AL) puis par la SNCF. Néanmoins l’exploitation est considérée rapidement comme trop coûteuse compte tenu de la très forte consommation, de la hausse du prix du carburant et d’une fiabilité imparfaite.

La fin du retrait du service commercial a eu lieu en 1958.

Au total, 88 autorails ont été construits en différents modèles :

  • 9 WR simples « Présidentiel » pour l’État,
  • 3 WR doubles pour le PLM,
  • 7 WR triples (2 État, 2 AL et 3 SNCF),
  • 13 WL[*] courts (5 État, 2 AL et 6 PLM),
  • 28 WL allongés (18 PLM et 10 État),
  • 28 WL surallongés (15 État, 1 AL, 10 PLM et 2 SNCF),
  • 5 remorques pour WR simple pour l’État.

[*] Le WL (Wagon Léger) n’était équipé que de deux moteurs Royal-41 soit 400 ch.

Particularités

Bugatti ZZA K 1

WR double ZZA K 1 du PLM.

  • Les 13 WL courts seront tous transformés en remorques après 1945.
  • Les WL et WR doubles et triples étaient équipés de boîtes Cotal à deux vitesses pour faciliter le démarrage qui était laborieux en prise directe.
  • Les freins bien qu’efficaces, avaient l’inconvénient d’user très rapidement les garnitures des tambours.
  • La visibilité depuis le poste de conduite surélevé était médiocre (surtout sur les WR doubles et triples).
  • On peut voir un autorail Bugatti à la fin du film La Bête humaine.

Patrimoine préservé

Un exemplaire du Bugatti dit « Présidentiel » (car utilisé par le Président Albert Lebrun pour son déplacement à l’inauguration de la gare maritime de Cherbourg) est conservé à la Cité du train de Mulhouse. Cet autorail immatriculé ZZy 24408 à l’État puis XB 1008 à la SNCF est un ancien véhicule du parc de service où il assurait le contrôle du fonctionnement des signaux jusqu’en 1970, date de sa radiation. Profondément modifié, il accueille un véritable petit laboratoire : trois alternateurs produisent du courant alternatif pour envoyer dans les voies, diverses batteries, voltmètres, ampèremètres, oscilloscopes… et quatre couchettes pour permettre l’hébergement du personnel lors des arrêts prolongés dans les petites localités1.

Un deuxième Bugatti a longtemps été garé à Bédarieux puis Lodève. Oublié par la SNCF sur une voie de service, il avait été racheté par une association en vue de la création d’un petit musée ferroviaire. Il fut finalement ferraillé, et non enseveli sous le terrassement du nouveau tracé de Route Nationale 9 comme on peut le lire trop souvent.

Bugatti ZZ K 201-218-plan

Plan du WL allongé ZZ K 201 à 218 du PLM.

Family tragedy

The death of Ettore Bugatti’s son, Jean Bugatti, on 11 August 1939 marked a turning point in the company’s fortunes. Jean died while testing a Type 57 tank-bodied race car near the Molsheim factory.

1936 Bugatti Type 57G Tank fvr3

1936 Bugatti Type 57G Tank fvr3

Bugatti Type 32 Tank

Type 57 tank-bodied race car

After World War II

World War II left the Molsheim factory in ruins and the company lost control of the property. During the war, Bugatti planned a new factory at Levallois, a northwestern suburb of Paris. After the war, Bugatti designed and planned to build a series of new cars, including the Type 73 road car and Type 73C single seat racing car, but in all Bugatti built only five Type 73 cars.

Development of a 375 cc supercharged car was stopped when Ettore Bugatti died on 21 August 1947. Following Ettore Bugatti’s death, the business declined further and made its last appearance as a business in its own right at a Paris Motor Show in October 1952.

After a long decline, the original incarnation of Bugatti ceased operations in 1952.

Design

Bugattis are noticeably focused on design. Engine blocks were hand scraped to ensure that the surfaces were so flat that gaskets were not required for sealing, many of the exposed surfaces of the engine compartment featured guilloché (engine turned) finishes on them, and safety wires had been threaded through almost every fastener in intricately laced patterns. Rather than bolt the springs to the axles as most manufacturers did, Bugatti’s axles were forged such that the spring passed though a carefully sized opening in the axle, a much more elegant solution requiring fewer parts. He famously described his arch competitor Bentley‘s cars as “the world’s fastest lorries” for focusing on durability. According to Bugatti, “weight was the enemy”.

Important models built

Prototypes Racing cars Road cars

Gallery

Relatives of Harold Carr found a rare 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante when cataloguing the doctor’s belongings after his death in 2009. Carr’s Type 57S is notable because it was originally owned by British race car driver Earl Howe. Because much of the car’s original equipment is intact, it can be restored without relying on replacement parts.

On 10 July 2009, a 1925 Bugatti Brescia Type 22 which had lain at the bottom of Lake Maggiore on the border of Switzerland and Italy for 75 years was recovered from the lake. The Mullin Museum in Oxnard, California bought it at auction for $351,343 at Bonham’s Rétromobile sale in Paris in 2010.

Attempts at revival

The company attempted a comeback under Roland Bugatti in the mid-1950s with the mid-engined Type 251 race car. Designed with help from Gioacchino Colombo, the car failed to perform to expectations and the company’s attempts at automobile production were halted.

In the 1960s, Virgil Exner designed a Bugatti as part of his “Revival Cars” project. A show version of this car was actually built by Ghia using the last Bugatti Type 101 chassis, and was shown at the 1965 Turin Motor Show. Finance was not forthcoming, and Exner then turned his attention to a revival of Stutz.

Bugatti continued manufacturing airplane parts and was sold to Hispano-Suiza, also a former auto maker turned aircraft supplier, in 1963. Snecma took over Hispano-Suiza in 1968. After acquiring Messier, Snecma merged Messier and Bugatti into Messier-Bugatti in 1977.

Modern revivals

Bugatti Automobili S.p.A. (1987–1995)

Bugatti Automobili factory in Campogalliano

View of the assembly line building of the Bugatti Automobili factory in Campogalliano

1996 Bugatti EB110

Bugatti EB110 (1996)

Italian entrepreneur Romano Artioli acquired the Bugatti brand in 1987, and established Bugatti Automobili S.p.A.. Artioli commissioned architect Giampaolo Benedini to design the factory which was built in Campogalliano, Modena, Italy. Construction of the plant began in 1988, alongside the development of the first model, and it was inaugurated two years later—in 1990.

By 1989 the plans for the new Bugatti revival were presented by Paolo Stanzani and Marcello Gandini, designers of the Lamborghini Miura and Lamborghini Countach. The first production vehicle was the Bugatti EB110 GT. It used a carbon-fibre-reinforced polymer chassis, a 3.5-litre, 5-valve per cylinder, quad-turbocharged 60° V12 engine, a six-speed gearbox, and four-wheel drive.

Famed racing car designer Mauro Forghieri served as Bugatti’s technical director from 1992 through 1994.

On 27 August 1993, through his holding company, ACBN Holdings S.A. of Luxembourg, Romano Artioli purchased Lotus Cars from General Motors. Plans were made to list Bugatti shares on international stock exchanges.

Bugatti presented a prototype large saloon called the EB112 in 1993.

Perhaps the most famous Bugatti EB110 owner was seven-time Formula One World Champion racing driver Michael Schumacher who purchased an EB110 in 1994. Schumacher sold his EB110, which had been repaired after a severe 1994 crash, to Modena Motorsport, a Ferrari service and race preparation garage in Germany.

By the time the EB110 came to market, the North American and European economies were in recession. Poor economic conditions forced the company to fail and operations ceased in September 1995. A model specific to the US market called the “Bugatti America” was in the preparatory stages when the company ceased operations.

Bugatti’s liquidators sold Lotus Cars to Proton of Malaysia. German firm Dauer Racing purchased the EB110 licence and remaining parts stock in 1997 in order to produce five more EB110 SS vehicles. These five SS versions of the EB110 were greatly refined by Dauer. The Campogalliano factory was sold to a furniture-making company, which subsequently collapsed before moving in, leaving the building unoccupied. After Dauer stopped producing cars in 2011, Toscana-Motors GmbH of Germany purchased the remaining parts stock from Dauer.

Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. (1998–present)

Volkswagen AG acquired the Bugatti brand in 1998.

Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. commissioned Giorgetto Giugiaro of ItalDesign to produce Bugatti Automobiles’s first concept vehicle, the EB118, a coupé that debuted at the 1998 Paris Auto Show. The EB118 concept featured a 408-kilowatt (555 PS; 547 bhp), W-18 engine. After its Paris debut, the EB118 concept was shown again in 1999 at the Geneva Auto Show and the Tokyo Motor Show.

Bugatti introduced its next concepts, the EB 218 at the 1999 Geneva Motor Show and the 18/3 Chiron at the 1999 Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA).

Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. began assembling its first regular-production vehicle, the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 (the 1001 BHP super car with an 8-litre W-16 engine with four turbochargers) in September 2005 at the Bugatti Molsheim, France assembly “studio”. On 23 February 2015, Bugatti sold its last Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse, which was named La Finale.

See also

Bugatti Type 13

Bugatti Type 13 Brescia Sport-Racing 1922

The Type 13 was the first real Bugatti car. Production of the Type 13 and later Types 15, 17, 22, and 23, began with the company’s founding in 1910 and lasted through 1920 with 435 examples produced. Most road cars used an 8-valve engine, though five Type 13 racers had 16-valve heads, one of the first ever produced. The road cars became known as “pur-sang” (“thoroughbred“) in keeping with Ettore Bugatti’s feelings for his designs.

The car was brought back after World War I with multi-valve engines to bring fame to the marque at Brescia. The production “Brescia Tourer” also brought in much-needed cash.

Pre-war

Type 10

The Bugatti automobile was prototyped as the Type 10 in Ettore Bugatti‘s basement in 1908 and 1909 while he was chief engineer at Deutz Gasmotoren Fabrik in Cologne, Germany.

The Type 10 used a monobloc straight-four engine of Ettore’s own design. it was an overhead cam unit with 2 valves per cylinder, highly advanced for the time. A very-undersquare design, it had a 60 mm bore and 100 mm stroke for a total of 1.1 L (1131 cc/69 in3). This was attached to an open roadster body with solid axles front and rear. Leaf springs suspended the front with no suspension at all in the rear. Cables operated rear drum brakes.

On ending his contract with Deutz, Ettore loaded his family into the Type 10 and headed to the Alsace region, then still part of the German Empire looking for a factory to begin producing cars of his own. After World War I, Alsace became a part of France again, and with it Bugatti.

The car was preserved and nicknamed “la baignoire” (“the bathtub”) by the staff at Molsheim in later years due to its shape. Ettore restored it in 1939 and repainted it an orange-red color, earning it a new nickname, “le homard” (“the lobster”). It was moved to Bordeaux for the duration of World War II and remained there for decades before falling into private ownership. Today, the car is in California in the hands of a private collector.

Type 13

Upon starting operations at his new factory in Molsheim, Bugatti refined his light shaft-driven car into the Type 13 racer. This included boring the engine out to 65 mm for a total of 1.4 L (1368 cc/83 in3). A major advance was the 4-valve head Bugatti designed — one of the first of its type ever conceived. Power output with dual Zenith Carburetters reached 30 hp (22 kW) at 4500 rpm, more than adequate for the 660 lb (300 kg) car. Leaf springs were now fitted all around, and the car rode on a roughly 2 m (79 in) wheelbase.

The new company produced five examples in 1910, and entered the French Grand Prix at Le Mans in 1911. The tiny Bugatti looked out of place at the race, but calmly took second place after seven hours of racing.

World War I caused production to halt in the disputed region. Ettore took two completed Type 13 cars with him to Milan for the duration of the war, leaving the parts for three more buried near the factory. After the war, Bugatti returned, unearthed the parts, and prepared five Type 13s for racing.

Type 15

The Type 15 was a version of the Type 13 with a long 2400 mm (94.5 in) wheelbase. It had a six-sided radiator in front and semi-elliptic rear leaf springs.

Type 17

Another version, the Type 17, was also produced. This used a 2550 mm (100.4 in) wheelbase. It shared its hexagonal radiator and rear springs with the Type 15.

Type 22

1913 Bugatti type 22 carrosserie Vinet

Bugatti 1913, model T22, 3 seat vinet boday

The Type 15 was updated in 1913 as the Type 22. It had a larger roadgoing body, an oval radiator, and quarter-circle springs.

Type 23

A 2-valve version of the Type 17 with a boat-tail body was built in 1913 as the Type 23. It also had the oval radiator of the Type 22.

Post-war

Type 13 Brescia

A Grand Prix for Voiturettes at Le Mans was the only French event of 1920, and Bugatti entered the two completed cars from Milan and one more from the remaining parts. Ettore’s illegal act of placing a hand on the radiator cap during the race brought disqualification to the leading car, however.

The Type 13 was unbeatable. Bugatti’s cars placed 1, 2, 3, 4 at the Brescia Grand Prix in 1921, and orders poured in. Capitalizing on this victory, all subsequent 4-valve Bugatti models would bear the Brescia moniker.

These were the only Bugatti models to locate the carburettor on the left hand side of the engine and the exhaust on the right. Front wheel brakes were added in 1926.

Type 23 Brescia Tourer

1921 Bugatti Type 23 Brescia two-Seater Boattail

 Bugatti Type 23 Brescia two-Seater Boattail 1921

Bugatti capitalized on the racing success of the Type 13 “Brescia” with the full-production post-war Brescia Tourer. It used the multi-valve Brescia engine, and 2,000 examples were built from 1920 through 1926, making it the first full-production multi-valve car ever made.

Bugatti Prototypes

This is a list of prototype vehicles created by Bugatti that never reached full production.

Type 36

The Type 36 racer, produced in 1925, introduced a new 1.5 L (1493 cc/91 in³) straight-8 engine. With a 60 by 66 mm bore and stroke, the engine later found a place in the Type 39A, though the Type 36 project was more of an experiment. At first, the rear axle was bolted directly to the frame with no springs. In 1926, Bugatti added both springs and a supercharger to the Type 36. This was the experimental base for the Type 35C.

Type 45

The 16-cylinder Type 45 racing car and similar Type 47 “Grand Sport” were to become a new generation of cars from Bugatti. The engine, a 3-valve SOHC design, was based on the 3-valve straight-8 from the Type 35. Two versions were made: A 3.0 L (2986 cc/182 in³) version fitted to a Type 47 prototype shared the Type 36‘s 60 by 66 mm dimensions, while the Type 45 prototype used a unique 84 mm stroke for 3.8 L (3801 cc/231 in³). Output would have been 200 to 250 hp (149 to 186 kW) with a Roots-type supercharger in play.

The entire vehicle was unique, including its chassis. The Type 45 used a 102.2 in (2596 mm) wheelbase, while the Type 47 was stretched to 108.3 in (2750 mm). Both had a 49.2 in (1250 mm) track.

Type 56

The Type 56 was an electric vehicle like some of Ettore Bugatti’s earliest designs. The number built is controversial; six seems the most likely answer. The first 56 was used as Bugatti’s personal runabout at the Molsheim factory.

The Type 56 was originally designed for private use by Ettore Bugatti as a factory runabout, but due to popular demand from previous customers convinced him to put the vehicle into production. The Type 56 was a tiny 2-seat open car very much in the style of turn-of-the-century horseless carriages or voiturettes. Power came from a single 28 amp electric motor producing 1 hp (0.8 kW). Energy was stored in six 6 volt accumulators in series for a total of 36 volts.

The motor was mounted directly to the frame and drove the rear wheels through gears. Electric braking was allowed, and both hand- and foot-brakes operated on rear wheel drums. Four forward speeds were available, and the vehicle could accelerate to 28 km/h (17.4 mph). Steering was by tiller.

Ettore Bugatti’s personal Type 56 is part of the collection at the Musée National de l’Automobile de Mulhouse.

Type 64

The Bugatti Type 64 was an Atlantic-style coupe produced in 1939 with gull-wing doors, designed by Jean Bugatti. It was fitted with a 4.4 L (4432 cc/270 in³) 2-valve DOHC straight-8 engine and rode on a 130 in (3300 mm) wheelbase. Three cars were started, but only one body was finished, although the car was not completed.

Type 73C

Begun in 1943 and completed in 1947 after the war, the Type 73C was to be a comeback for Bugatti. But the death of Ettore Bugatti in August of that year doomed the project. An engine-less Type 73 was shown at the 1947 Paris Motor Show two months later. Although five 73C chassis had been constructed in Paris, Only one body was completed for these cars and at least three engines and one complete car were assembled and tested by the factory. Serge Pozzoli stated that he visited the Bugatti factory at Rue Debarcadere in Paris where he saw a demonstration car which was fitted with a scaled down body similar to the pre-war Type 50BIII (Cork Car). All the cars were dismantled and taken to Molsheim after Ettore Bugatti’s death.

The Type 73C used a new 1.5 L (1488 cc/90 in³) straight-4 engine with 4 valves per cylinder and a twin overhead camshaft. This was a new design with a 76 mm bore and 95 mm stroke, wet cylinder liners, a detachable cylinder head, and a single cast iron exhaust manifold. Much to the chagrin of Bugatti purists, the Type 73 used off-the-shelf hex fasteners rather than the custom-designed parts used in all previous cars.

The five Type 73C chassis were sold off after the company exited automobile production. Most were later assembled, and one (number 2) was even given a body based on the original Bugatti drawings.

There are several prototype Type 73 Bugatti models.

Type 73: Touring two- or four-seater; four-cylinder, twin overhead camshaft, four valves per cylinder

Type 73A: Touring two- or four-seater four-cylinder Single ovehead camshaft with three valves per cylinder.

Type 73C: Grand Prix single seater: The engine fitted to this car is similar to the Type 73

Type 73B: touring two- or four-seater: Similar engine to the Type 73 but with single overhead camshaft.

Type 251 – 1955

1956 Bugatti Type 251

Bugatti Type 251

The final resurgence of the original Bugatti was the Type 251, completed in 1955. Designed by Gioacchino Colombo of Ferrari fame, it was powered by a new 2.5 L (2486 cc/151 in³) straight-8. Uniquely, this engine was mounted transversely, behind the driver. For the first time in a Bugatti, an oversquare engine was used with a 76 mm bore and 68.5 mm stroke. A de Dion tube rear suspension was also a novelty for the company, though it was in vogue at the time. The Type 251 was entered in the 1956 French Grand Prix, driven by Maurice Trintignant, but was not competitive and retired after 18 laps.

References

  1. Jump up^ “Type 56 (Electric Vehicle)”. bugatti.com. Retrieved 2011-05-01.
  2. Jump up^ 1939 Bugatti Type 64 Coupe is incomplete perfection
  3. Jump up^ Mullin Automotive Museum To Unveil 1939 Bugatti Type 64 Coupe At The Quail
  4. Jump up^ Mullin Completes 1939 Bugatti Type 64
  5. Jump up^ 70-year-old Bugatti Type 64 chassis gets a body, the old-fashioned way
  6. Jump up^ Grand Prix Racing – the whole story

Bugatti 8-cylinder line

Bugatti Type 30 –  1929
1929 Bugatti Type 49 Tourer
Overview
Manufacturer Bugatti
Also called Type 38, 40, 43, 44, and 49
Production 1922–1934
Body and chassis
Class Grand tourer
Chronology
Successor Bugatti Type 57

The early Bugatti 8-cylinder line began with the 1922 Type 30. The same basic design was used for the 1926 Type 38 as well as the Type 40, Type 43, Type 44, and Type 49.

Type 30

Produced from 1922 through 1926, the Type 30 used the 2 L (1991 cc/121 in³) engine of the Type 29 racer. It shared its chassis (including the axles and gearbox) with the Type 13 “Brescia”. This engine went on to be used in the cut-cost Type 35A and Type 38. About 600 were built from late 1922 through 1926 in varying specifications.

Type 38

The Type 38 was produced in 1926 and 1927. It used the 2 L (1991 cc/121 in³) engine from the Type 35A “Tecla”. The supercharger from the Type 37A was later fitted, making the Type 38A. Its gearbox and brakes were later used in the Type 40, while its radiator and axles were shared with the Type 43.

385 examples were produced, 39 of which were supercharged 38As.

1929 Bugatti Type 40 Grand Sport Tourer

Bugatti Type 40 Grand Sport Tourer 1929

1927 Bugatti Type 40

Bugatti Type 40 1927

1929 Bugatti Type 40

Bugatti Type 40 1929

Type 40

The Type 40, introduced in 1926 and produced through 1930, used the 3-valve 1.5 L (1496 cc/91 in³) engine first used in some Type 37s. It was an enclosed tourer or (as the Type 40A) small roadster. About 830 were built.

The Type 40A shared its block with the Type 40 and displaced 1.6 L (1627 cc/99 in³). All 40 Type 40As were built in 1930.

1928 Bugatti Type 43 Grand Sport

Bugatti Type 43 Grand Sport 1928

1929 Bugatti Type 43 Grand Sport

Bugatti Type 43 Grand Sport 1929

Type 43

Another evolution of the basic 8 platform, the Type 43 borrowed the supercharged 2.3 L (2262 cc/138 in³) engine from the Type 35B and combined it with the basic chassis of the Type 38. The engine produced about 120 hp (89 kW), bringing the little car to 60 mph (97 km/h) in less than 12 seconds.

The Type 43 was noted at the time as the world’s first 100 mph (161 km/h) production car — in fact, it could hit 110 mph (177 km/h) when most fast cars could only reach 70 mph (113 km/h). 160 of these “Grand Sport” cars were made from 1927 through 1931, with a Type 43A roadster appearing that year and lasting through 1932.

1927 Bugatti Type 44 Roadster

Bugatti Type 44 Roadster 1927

1928 Bugatti Type 44 Cabriolet

Bugatti Type 44 Cabriolet 1928

Bugatti Type 46

Bugatti Type 46 rebodied

Bugatti Type 46 rebodied

The Bugatti Type 46 and later Type 50 were large enclosed touring cars and along with the Type 50B racing version, were all produced in the 1930s. Their relative ubiquity and numbers, combined with their styling caused them to sometimes receive the appellation of being a Molsheim Buick.

Type 46

The Type 46 used a 5.4 L (5359 cc/327 in³) straight-8 engine with 3 valves per cylinder driven by a single overhead camshaft. Power was reported at 140 hp (104 kW). The engine was undersquare like most Bugatti designs with an 81 mm bore and 130 mm stroke.

The Type 46 was a large car, weighing 2500 lb (1134 kg) and riding on a 138 in (3505 mm) wheelbase. 400 examples were produced from the end of 1929 through 1936. The three speed gearbox was in unit with the live rear axle, resulting in high unsprung weight, and a relatively harsh ride. Despite this, the model was a favourite of Le Patron, and it remained in production longer than might have been expected

Type 46S

A supercharged version, the Type 46S, was introduced in 1930. With just 160 hp (119 kW), from its Rootes-type blower, it was not a great success. 18 supercharged cars were made in all.

Type 50

The Type 50 was a sporting coupe version of the Type 46. It rode on a shorter wheelbase, 122 in (3099 mm), and used a smaller 5.0 L (4972 cc/303 in³) version of the engine. This engine had squarer dimensions, however, at 86 by 107 mm, and twin camshafts actuated two valves per cylinder. Power output was impressive at 225 hp (167 kW). Many cars had landaulet roofs and Bugatti-style two-tone paint.

Type 50T

1934 Bugatti Type 50

1934 Bugatti Type 50T model car

The Type 50 Touring was a sedan version of the Type 50. It used the same 138 in (3505 mm) wheelbase as its predecessor, the Type 46, but shared the 5.0 L engine of the Type 50. The engine was tuned for torque, though, with just 200 hp (149 kW) on tap. In total, 65 Type 50 and Type 50T Bugattis were produced between 1930 and 1934.

Type 50B

A racing version, the Type 50B, was also produced. It shared the 5.0 L 2-valve engine but was blown to produce 470 hp (350 kW). It was used from 1937 through 1939. A pair of these engines were installed in the Bugatti P100 airplane, with specially cast magnesium crankcases.

Bugatti Type 32

Bugatti Type 32 Tank

The Bugatti Type 32

The Bugatti Type 32, commonly called the Tank de Tours, was a streamlined racing car built in 1923. Four examples were made, each with a 2.0 L (1991 cc/121 in³) straight-8 engine based on that in the Type 30. “The Tank” finished third in the ACF Grand Prix that year. This was the first Bugatti to be fitted with roller-bearing big ends in order to improve the bottom-end reliability (Bugatti was rather later than most manufacturers in the incorporation of a fully pressurised oil system, preferring a splash “spit and hope” delivery method). The Type 32 also broke new ground (for a racing Bug) by using a three-speed and reverse transaxle unit, the exceptionally short wheelbase and long straight-8 engine making a conventional gearbox difficult to accommodate. It also heralded an embrionic hydraulic front brake actuation.

Another tank-bodied Bugatti racer, the 1936 Type 57G, was much more successful.

Specifications:

  • Wheelbase: 78.5 in (1994 mm)
  • Track: 41.4 in (1052 mm)
  • Power: 90 hp (67 kW)

Bugatti Type 35

1925 Bugatti Type 35C in racing trim

Bugatti Type 35C in racing trim

The Type 35 was the most successful of the Bugatti racing models. Its version of the Bugatti arch-shaped radiator that had evolved from the more architectural one of the Bugatti Type 13 Brescia, was to become the one that the marque is most known for though even in the ranks of the various Type 35s there were variations on the theme.

The Type 35 was phenomenally successful, winning over 1,000 races in its time. It took the Grand Prix World Championship in 1926 after winning 351 races and setting 47 records in the two prior years. At its height, Type 35s averaged 14 race wins per week. Bugatti won the Targa Florio for five consecutive years, from 1925 through 1929, with the Type 35.

Type 351925-29 Bugatti Type 37 (left) and 35 (right) cars at the Cité de l'Automobile Museum, Mulhouse Bugatti Type 37 (left) and 35 (right) cars at the Cité de l’Automobile Museum, Mulhouse

The original model, introduced at the Grand Prix of Lyon on August 3, 1924, used an evolution of the 3-valve 2.0 L (1991 cc/121 in³) overhead cam straight-8 engine first seen on the Type 29. Bore was 60 mm and stroke was 88 mm as on many previous Bugatti models. 96 examples were produced.

This new powerplant featured five main bearings with an unusual ball bearing system. This allowed the engine to rev to 6000 rpm, and 90 hp (67 kW) was reliably produced. Solid axles with leaf springs were used front and rear, and drum brakes at back, operated by cables, were specified. Alloy wheels were a novelty, as was the hollow front axle for reduced unsprung weight. A second feature of the Type 35 that was to become a Bugatti trademark was passing the springs through the front axle rather than simply U-bolting them together as was done on their earlier cars.

A rare version was de-bored (to 52 mm) for a total displacement of 1.5 L (1494 cc/91 in³). There are two of these rare cars in New Zealand.

Dimensions:

  • Length: 3680 mm (144.9 in)
  • Width: 1320 mm (52 in)
  • Wheelbase: 2400 mm (94.5 in)
  • Track: 1200 mm (47.2 in)
  • Weight: 750 kg (1650 lb)

1925 Bugatti Type 35A Grand Prix Racer

Bugatti Type 35A Grand Prix Racer 1925

Type 35A

A less expensive version of the Type 35 appeared in May, 1925. The factory’s Type 35A name was ignored by the public, who nicknamed it “Tecla” after a famous maker of imitation jewelry. The Tecla’s engine used three plain bearings, smaller valves, and coil ignition like the Type 30. While this decreased maintenance requirements, it also reduced output. 139 of the Type 35As were sold.

1926 Bugatti Type 35C Grand Prix Racer

Bugatti Type 35C Grand Prix Racer 1926

Type 35C

The Type 35C featured a Roots supercharger, despite Ettore Bugatti‘s disdain for forced induction. Output was nearly 128 hp (95 kW) with a single Zenith carburettor. Type 35Cs won the French Grand Prix at Saint-Gaudens in 1928, and at Pau in 1930. Fifty examples left the factory.

Type 35T

For 1926, Bugatti introduced a special model for the Targa Florio race. Called the Type 35T officially, it soon became known as the Targa Florio. Engine displacement was up to 2.3 L (2262 cc/138 in³) with a longer 100 mm stroke. Grand Prix rule changes limiting capacity to 2.0 L limited the appeal of this model at the time with just thirteen produced.

1929 Bugatti Type 35B Grand Prix Racer

Bugatti Type 35B Grand Prix Racer 1929

Type 35B

The final version of the Type 35 series was the Type 35B of 1927. Originally named Type 35TC, it shared the 2.3 L engine of the Type 35T but added a large supercharger like the Type 35C. Output was 138 hp (102 kW), and 45 examples were made. A British Racing Green Type 35B driven by William Grover-Williams won the 1929 French Grand Prix at Le Mans.

1928 Bugatti Type 37 Grand Prix Racer

Bugatti Type 37 Grand Prix Racer 1928

1929 Bugatti Type 37A Grand Prix Racer

Bugatti Type 37A Grand Prix Racer 1929

Type 37

The Type 35 chassis and body were reused on the Type 37 sports car. Fitted with a new 1.5 L (1496 cc/91 in³) straight-4 engine, 290 Type 37s were built. This engine was an SOHC 3-valve design and produced 60 hp (44 kW). The same engine went on to be used in the Type 40.

Type 37A

The supercharged Type 37A accounted for 67 of the Type 37’s production slots. Engine output was up to 60–67 kW (80–90 bhp). It also had larger shrouded brake drums.

Type 39

The Type 39 was basically identical to the Type 35C except for its engine. This was modified to be smaller at 1.5 L (1493 cc/91 in³) with a shorter-stroked crankshaft. This brought stroke down from 88 mm to 66 mm, and a mix of regular and ball bearings were used. Ten examples were produced.

An odd 1.1 L (1092 cc/66 in³) version was also created by reducing the bore of the engine to 51.3 mm.

Bugatti Type 51

1931 Bugatti Type 51

1931 Bugatti Type 51

1931 Bugatti Type 51 cockpit with Wilson preselector gearbox

Bugatti Type 51 cockpit with Wilson preselector gearbox

The Type 51 series succeeded the famous Type 35 as Bugatti‘s premier racing car for the 1930s. Unlike the dominant Type 35s of the prior decade, the Type 51 (and later Type 53, Type 54, and Type 59) were unable to compete with the government-supported German and Italian offerings.

Type 51

The original Type 51 emerged in 1931. Its engine was a 160 hp (119 kW) twin overhead cam evolution of the supercharged 2.3 L (2262 cc/138 in³) single overhead cam straight-8 found in the Type 35B. A victory in the 1931French Grand Prix was a rare case of success for the line. About 40 examples of the Type 51 and 51A were produced. The Type 51 is visually very similar to the Type 35. The obvious external differences of a Type 51 are: the supercharger blow-off outlet is lower the bonnet in the louvered section; one piece cast wheels instead of bolted on rims; twin fuel caps behind the driver and finally the magneto being off-set to the left on the dash. However many Type 35 cars have been fitted with later wheels, so that is not a reliable signal.

Type 54

Bugatti Typ 54 bkue vr EMS

Type 54, chassis no. 154201

Grand Prix car of 1931, fitted with a twin overhead-cam 4.9 liter engine delivering 300 hp (223 kW). Four or five were built.

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Bugatti Type 51 at Goodwood Festival of Speed 2009

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Type 59

The final Bugatti race car of the 1930s was the Type 59 of 1934. It used an enlarged 3.3 L (3257 cc/198 in³) version of the straight-8 Type 57‘s engine sitting in a modified Type 54 chassis. The engine was lowered for a better center of gravity, and the frame was lightened with a number of holes drilled in the chassis. The signature piano wire wheels used splines between the brake drum and rim, and relied on the radial spokes to handle cornering loads. 250 hp (186 kW) was on tap, and 8 were made.

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Author: Jeroen

In Dutch, my homelanguage: Ik ben Jeroen, tot januari 2015 was ik al dik 26 jaar werkzaam in een psychiatrisch ziekenhuis in een stad vlakbij Werelds grootste havenstad Rotterdam. Eerst als verpleegkundige/begeleider op high care, later op afdeling dubbeldiagnose (verslavingen) en ook nog een tijdje als administratief medewerker. Ik heb een spierziekte "Poli Myositis" (alle spieren zijn ontstoken) daardoor weinig energie. Sinds augustus 2015 is daarbij de diagnose Kanker gesteld, en ben ik helemaal arbeidsongeschikt geworden en zit middenin de behandelfase. Gelukkig ben ik daarnaast getrouwd, vader, en opa, en heb de nodige hobby's. Een daarvan is transportmiddelen verzamelen en daarmee een blog schrijven. Dit blog begon met bussen, maar nu komen ook sleepboten, auto's trucks en dergelijke aan bod. Kijk en geniet met me mee, reageer, en vul gerust aan. Fouten zal ik ook graag verbeteren. In English: I'm Jeroen, till januari 2015 I was already 26 years working as a nurse in a psychiatric hospital, near Rotterdam, Worlds biggest harbour with more than 98 nationalities living within it's borders. First I worked on closed high care ward and the last years on a ward with mainly addicted people. I liked my work very much. In 2007 I got ill. I got the diagnose Poli Myositis, a musscle dissease. Al my mussles are inflamed. And last august I got another diagnose. Cancer. It's plaveicelcel carcinoma and treated with Chemo and radioation. So I've even less energy than the last years. Still I try to make something of my life and the blog is helping with surviving with some pleasure.

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