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.
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.
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.
Ettore Bugatti also designed a successful motorised railcar, the Autorail (Autorail Bugatti).
Présidentiel conservé à Mulhouse.
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.
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.
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 Paris–Deauville 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.
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.
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.
Plan du WL allongé ZZ K 201 à 218 du PLM.
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
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.
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
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.
Bugatti Automobili S.p.A. (1987–1995)
View of the assembly line building of the Bugatti Automobili factory in Campogalliano
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
This is a list of prototype vehicles created by Bugatti
that never reached full production.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
- Jump up^ “Type 56 (Electric Vehicle)”. bugatti.com. Retrieved 2011-05-01.
- Jump up^ “1939 Bugatti Type 64 Coupe is incomplete perfection“
- Jump up^ “Mullin Automotive Museum To Unveil 1939 Bugatti Type 64 Coupe At The Quail“
- Jump up^ “Mullin Completes 1939 Bugatti Type 64 “
- Jump up^ “70-year-old Bugatti Type 64 chassis gets a body, the old-fashioned way“
- Jump up^ Grand Prix Racing – the whole story
Bugatti 8-cylinder line
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.
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.
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.
Bugatti Type 40 Grand Sport Tourer 1929
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.
Bugatti Type 43 Grand Sport 1928
Bugatti Type 43 Grand Sport 1929
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.
Bugatti Type 44 Roadster 1927
Bugatti Type 44 Cabriolet 1928
Bugatti Type 46
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
- Wheelbase: 78.5 in (1994 mm)
- Track: 41.4 in (1052 mm)
- Power: 90 hp (67 kW)
Bugatti Type 35
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 35 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.
- 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)
Bugatti Type 35A Grand Prix Racer 1925
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.
Bugatti Type 35C Grand Prix Racer 1926
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.
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.
Bugatti Type 35B Grand Prix Racer 1929
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.
Bugatti Type 37 Grand Prix Racer 1928
Bugatti Type 37A Grand Prix Racer 1929
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.
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.
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
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.
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, 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.
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.
- 1933 Bugatti Type 59 Grand Prix racer from the Ralph Lauren collection
Bugatti Type 18
||5,027 cc (307 cu in) Straight-4
||four-speed sliding-pinion gearbox
final drive by side chains
||100.4 in (2,550.2 mm)
Track 49.2 in (1,249.7 mm)
||2,750 lb (1,247 kg)
||vertical straight four-cylinder
in front of the car
||5,027 cc (307 cu in)
||100 mm (3.9 in)
||160 mm (6.3 in)
||2-exhaust valves and 1-inlet valve per cylinder mechanically operated by fingers between the overhead camshaft and the valves
||ignition by high tension magneto
||100 bhp (75 kW; 100 PS)
maximum r.p.m. 2,400
UK tax rating 24.8 h.p.
The Bugatti Type 18, also called the Garros, is an automobile produced from 1912 through 1914. Produced shortly after the start of the business, the design was something of a relic. It had much in common with the cars Ettore Bugatti had designed for Deutz Gasmotoren Fabrik but with the radiator of the Type 13. Only 6 or 7 examples were built.
Power came from a large 5.0 L (5027 cc/306 in³) straight-4 engine with 3 valves per cylinder and a single overhead camshaft. This large engine had a 100 mm bore and very long 160 mm stroke, so it could only rev to about 2400 rpm. The rear wheels were chain driven.
Roland Garros (1888-1918) aviator, sportsman, close friend of Ettore Bugatti was the first owner of Black Bess in 1913. It was the fourth car built and was to be the only Bugatti with chain drive. A keen tennis player the French Open was named after Garros in 1927.
Named Black Bess, after Dick Turpin‘s mare, by 1920s owner Ivy Cummings, this car had a considerable career at Brooklands soon after the first World War.
In spite of the advanced nature of its design the engine gives little of the harsh racing car impression. Again, in spite of the size of that engine it does not give the impression of a big car and in spite of the tall radiator the short wheelbase lends it the appearance of a small sports car. On the road that impression is reinforced, the delicacy of control makes it a joy to drive and one can still flick the gearlever about as you may do only in an early Bugatti.
The subdued howl and occasional suggestion of snatch from the side chains remind that this is a period car. If this car is typical of what the Prince Henry Tours produced the Prince Henry period can only be regarded as a most important constituent of the Golden Age.
Kent Karslake, 1956.
Two other survivors
The only other surviving examples are in the Schlumpf Collection, Musée National de l’Automobile de Mulhouse, France and the other car is privately owned and in England.
Black Bess changed stable in 2009 for €2,427,500.
- Black Bess at Louwman Museum The Hague, coachwork is by Henri Labourdette
The Bugatti Type 41, better known as the Royale, is a large luxury car built from 1927 to 1933 with a 4.3 m (169.3 in) wheelbase and 6.4 m (21 ft) overall length. It weighs approximately 3175 kg (7000 lb) and uses a 12.7 L (12763 cc/778 cu in) straight-eight engine. For comparison, against the modern Rolls-Royce Phantom (produced from 2003 onward), the Royale is about 20% longer, and more than 25% heavier. This makes the Royale one of the largest cars in the world.
Ettore Bugatti planned to build twenty-five of these cars, sell them to royalty and to be the most luxurious car ever. But even European royalty was not buying such things during the Great Depression, and Bugatti was able to sell only three of the six made.
Crafted by Ettore Bugatti, the Type 41 is said to have come about because he took exception to the comments of an English lady who compared his cars unfavourably with those of Rolls-Royce.
The prototype had a near 15-litre capacity engine. The production version, its stroke reduced from 150 mm (5.9 in) to 130 mm (5.1 in) had a displacement of 12.7 litres. The engine was built around a single huge block, and at (approx. 4.5 ft (1.4 m) long x 3.5 ft (1.1 m) high), is one of the largest automobile engines ever made, producing 205–224 kW (275–300 hp). Its eight cylinders, bored to 125 mm (4.9 in) and with a stroke length of 130 mm (5.1 in), each displaced more than the entire engine of the contemporary Type 40 touring car. It had 3 valves per cylinder (two inlet:one exhaust) driven by a centrally positioned single overhead camshaft. Three bearings and only a single custom carburettor was needed. The engine was based on an aero-engine design that had been designed for the French Air Ministry, but never produced in that configuration.
The engine block and cylinder head were cast in one unit. Grinding of the engine valves was a regular maintenance requirement, and removing the engine valves for grinding required removing and disassembling the large cast iron engine.
The chassis was understandably substantial, with a conventional semi-elliptic leaf spring suspension arrangement at the front. At the rear the forward-facing Bugatti quarter-elliptics were supplemented by a second set facing to the rear.
Strangely, for the modern day observer, the aluminium clutch box was attached to the chassis, not to the engine, and the gear box, also in aluminium, was attached to the rear axle, so was part of the unsprung mass of the suspension. The reason placing clutch and gearbox at such odd locations was reducing noise, so increasing comfort inside the cars, a difficult problem in those days. On the other hand, in view of the Royale’s huge mass, placing the gearbox on the rear axle did not present a driveability problem.
Massive brake shoes were mechanically operated via cable controls: the brakes were effective but without servo-assistance required significant muscle power from the driver.The car’s light alloy “Roue Royale” wheels measured 610 millimetres (24 in) in diameter and were cast in one piece with the brake drums.
Reflecting some tradition-based fashions of the time, the driver was confronted by a series of knobs of whalebone, while the steering wheel was covered with walnut.
A road test performed in 1926 by W. F. Bradley at the request of Ettore Bugatti for the Autocar magazine proved how exquisite chassis construction allowed very good and balanced handling at speed, similar to smaller Bugatti sports cars, despite the car’s weight and size.
All Royales were individually bodied. The radiator cap was a posed elephant, a sculpture by Ettore’s brother Rembrandt Bugatti.
In 1928 Ettore Bugatti asserted that “this year King Alfonso of Spain will receive his Royale”, but the Spanish king was deposed without taking delivery of a Royale, and the first of the cars to find a customer was not delivered until 1932. The Royale with a basic chassis price of $30,000, was launched just as the world economy began to deteriorate into the 1930s Great Depression. Six Royales were built between 1929 and 1933, with just three sold to external customers. Intended for royalty, none was eventually sold to any royals, and Bugatti even refused to sell one to King Zog of Albania, claiming that “the man’s table manners are beyond belief!”
All six production Royales still exist, the prototype was destroyed in an accident in 1931, and each has a different body, some having been rebodied several times.
41.110 – Coupé Napoleon
- The first car is chassis number 41.110
- Known as the Coupe Napoleon
- This car was fitted with the larger 14.7 litre prototype engine
- The Coupé Napoleon was used by Ettore Bugatti, and in his later life became his personal car. It remained in the family’s possession, housed at their Ermenonville chateau until financial difficulties enforced its sale in 1963. It subsequently passed into the hands of Bugatti obsessive Fritz Schlumpf.
- It originally had a Packard body. It was rebodied by Paris coach builder Weymann as a two door fixed head coupe. The Weymann body was replaced after the car was crashed by Ettore Bugatti who in 1930 or 1931 fell asleep at the wheel travelling home from Paris to Alsace necessitating a major rebuild.
- At various stages it was also fitted with other bodies.
- Bricked up with 41.141 and 41.150 during World War II at the home of the Bugatti family in Ermenonville, to avoid being commandeered by the Nazis.
- Sold by L’Ebe Bugatti in the early 1960s to the brothers Schlumpf
- Resides in the Musée National de l’Automobile de Mulhouse, alongside 41.131 that the Schlumpf brothers had acquired from John Shakespeare.
41.111 – Coupé de ville Binder
The Royale Coupe De Ville Binder 41.111 at the 2004 Goodwood Revival
- The second car built, but the first to find a customer, is chassis no.41.111
- Known as the Coupé de ville Binder
- Sold in April 1932 to French clothing manufacturer Armand Esders. Ettore’s eldest son, Jean, fashioned for the car a dramatic two-seater open body with flamboyant, full-bodied wings and a dickey seat, but no headlamps. In this form it became known as the Royale Esders Roadster.
- Purchased by the French politician Paternotre, the car was rebodied in the Coupé de ville style by the coach builder Henri Binder. From this point onwards, known as the Coupé de ville Binder
- Never delivered to the King of Romania due to World War 2, it was hidden from the Nazis by storing it in the sewers of Paris
- Briefly located in the United Kingdom after World War 2, and was then acquired by Dudley C. Wilson of the US in 1954. On his death in 1961 it passed to banker Mills B Lane of Atlanta before in 1964 taking up residence in The Harrah Collection at Reno, Nevada, bought at the then sensational price of $45,000 (approximately what the car had cost new).
- Sold in 1986 to an American collector, home builder, and US Air Force Reserve Major General William Lyon, he offered the car during the 1996 Barrett-Jackson Auction by private treaty sale, where he refused an offer of US$11 million; the reserve was set at US$15 million.
- In 1999, the new owner of the Bugatti brand, Volkswagen AG, bought the car for a reported US$20 million. Now used as a brand promotion vehicle, it travels to various museums and locations
41.121 – Cabriolet Weinberger
Chassis no.41.121, Bugatti Type 41 Royale ‘Weinberger Cabriolet’ 1931
- The third car is chassis no.41.121
- Known as the Cabriolet Weinberger
- Sold in 1932 to German obstetrician Josef Fuchs, who specified coach builder Ludwig Weinberger of Munich to build him an open cabriolet. Painted black with yellow, the car was delivered to Dr Fuchs in May, 1932.
- As political tensions rose in pre-war Germany, Fuchs, relocated to Italy, then Japan; before permanently relocating to New York around 1937, bringing the Royale with him.
- Admired in Dr Fuchs ownership by Charles Chayne, later vice-president of Corporate Engineering at General Motors. Chayne later found the car in a scrap yard in New York, buying it in 1946 for US$400. Chayne would amass an impressive collection of classic cars in the 1940s and 1950s.
- Chayne first had the car running again, then he modified the car to make it more road usable and is said to have spent over US$10,000 doing so, with the completed car featuring from 1947 onwards: a brand-new intake manifold with four carburetors, instead of the original single carb setup; a new paint scheme of oyster white with a dark green trim and convertible roof
- In 1957, after running the car for ten years, Chayne donated the car to the Henry Ford Museum, located in Dearborn, Michigan, US where it is still located. The associated placard, in its entirety, reads: “1931 Bugatti Royale Type 41 Cabriolet, Ettore Bugatti, Molsheim, France, Body by Weinberger, OHC, in-line 8 cylinder, 300 horsepower, 779 cu.in. displacement, 7,035 lb (3,191 kg). Original price: $43,000, Gift of Charles and Esther Chayne.”
41.131 – Limousine Park-Ward
- The fourth car is chassis no.41.131
- Known as the Foster car or Limousine Park-Ward
- sold to Englishman Captain Cuthbert W. Foster, heir to a large department store in Boston, USA, through his American mother, in 1933. Foster had a limousine body made for the car by Park Ward, created in the style of a 1921 Daimler he had once owned.
- Acquired in 1946 by British Bugatti dealer Jack Lemon Burton for around £700, who was forced to replace the huge tires with ones from an artillery piece, necessitating the need to remove the skirting from the fenders.
- Sold June/July 1956 to American Bugatti collector John Shakespeare, becoming part of the largest collection of Bugattis at that time. Shakespeare paid £3,500 for the car, which was in mint condition. This was a substantial price for a collector car in 1956. Two show-condition SJ Duesenbergs could be bought at the same price that year. Brand new Ferraris started around this price in 1956 as well.
- Facing financial problems, in 1963 Shakespeare sold his car collection to Fritz Schlumpf
- Part of the Schlumpf Collection
- Resides in the Musée National de l’Automobile de Mulhouse, alongside 41.110 that the brothers Schlumpf had acquired from the Bugatti estate.
41.141 – Kellner car
- The fifth car is chassis no.41.141
- Known as the Kellner car
- Unsold, it was kept by Bugatti
- Bricked up with 41.110 and 41.150 during World War II at the home of the Bugatti family in Ermenonville, to avoid being commandeered by the Nazis.
- Sold together with 41.150 by L’Ebe Bugatti in the Summer of 1950 to American Le Mans racer Briggs Cunningham, in return for FR₣200000, ($571 US) plus a pair of new General Electric refrigerators, then unavailable in post-war France. Note that the French franc had been drastically devalued in the years immediately following the war. The refrigerators were included out of gratuity. The car was rough but drive-able. Taking the refrigerators into account, he essentially paid about US$600 per car. Restoration costs would bring the total cost up to about 1 million Francs, or $2,858 US, per car. The cars were delivered to the states in January 1951.
- After closing his museum in 1986, in 1987 the car was sold direct from Briggs Cunningham’s collection by Christie’s for £5.5 million or $9.7 million U.S. at the Royal Albert Hall, to Swedish property tycoon Hans Thulin
- The car was also offered for auction in 1989 by Kruse in Las Vegas, US. Ed Weaver bid to US$11.5 million, which was declined by Thulin as the reserve was US$15 million. On collapse of his empire, Thulin sold the car in 1990 for a reported $15.7 million to Japanese conglomerate the Meitec Corporation, and it resided in their modern building basement before being offered for sale for £10million by Bonhams & Brooks by private treaty in 2001.
- Ownership is presently unknown, but it has been shown in recent years by Swiss broker Lukas Huni.
41.150 – Berline de Voyage
- The sixth car is chassis no. 41.150
- Known as the Berline de Voyage
- Unsold, it was kept by Bugatti
- Bricked up with 41.110 and 41.141 during World War II at the home of the Bugatti family in Ermenonville, to avoid being commandeered by the Nazis.
- Sold together with 41.141 by L’Ebe Bugatti in the Summer of 1950 to American Le Mans racer Briggs Cunningham, in return for FR₣200000, ($571 US) plus a pair of new General Electric refrigerators, then unavailable in post-war France. Bear in mind that the French franc had been drastically devalued in the years immediately following the war. The refrigerators were included out of gratuity. The car was rough but drive-able. Taking the refrigerators into account, he essentially paid about $600 per car. Restoration costs would bring the total cost up to about 1 million Francs, or $2,858 US, per car. The cars were delivered to the US in January 1951.
- On their arrival in the United States, Cunningham sold 41.150, first to Cameron Peck in early 1952 for about $6,500, (at the time one of the highest prices ever paid for a collector car, landing Cunningham a substantial profit). From there the car would eventually find its way into The Harrah Collection.The car was then sold at the 1986 Harrah auction where Jerry J. Moore paid $6.5 million for it, he kept it for 1 year and then sold it to Tom Monaghan for £5.7 million (US$8.1 million).
- In 1991, Tom Monaghan, founder of Domino’s Pizza, sold 41.150 for US$8,000,000, which was actually less than the £5.7 million for which he purchased it in 1987 from Jerry J. Moore.
- The car was sold to the Blackhawk Collection in Danville, California, where it has been on display at various times.
Most of the engines intended for the Royale were derated and found their way into a series of high-speed Bugatti railcars.
French National Railway SNCF
To utilize the remaining 23 engines after the final Royale was built, Bugatti built a railcar powered by either two or four of the eight-cylinder units. Seventy-nine were built for the French National Railway SNCF, using a further 186 engines, the last of them remaining in regular use until 1956 or 1958 (sources differ). The railcar turned the Royale project from an economic failure into a commercial success for Bugatti. The engines were derated to produce only about 200 hp, but even in this form they provided excellent performance. One of the railcars took a world average speed record of 122 mph (196 km/h) for 43.9 miles (70.7 km).
The brothers Schlumpf replica of theRoyale Esders Coupe on display at the
In light of the rarity of the Type 41 and its associated price, it is unsurprising that some replicas have been made.
The Schlumpf brothers so liked the original Dr Armand Esders coupe body on chassis 41.111, using original Bugatti parts they had a replica made of the car. It now resides with the two originals they purchased at the Musée National de l’Automobile de Mulhouse.
The late Tom Wheatcroft commissioned Ashton Keynes Vintage Restorations to build an exact replica of Bugatti’s personal car, the Coupe Napoleon (chassis number 41.110), for his Donington Grand Prix Collection inEngland. It has since been sold and left the collection. So good was the replica, that when the Kellner car needed a replacement piston, its then Japanese owners commissioned South Cerney Engineering part of AKVR to provide a replacement.
On May 24, 2008, Prince Joachim of Denmark on the day of his wedding to Princess Marie (formerly Marie Cavallier) had Wheatcroft’s replica waiting outside Møgeltønder Church to drive the newly married couple to Schackenborg Castle.
The much smaller Panther De Ville (produced between 1974 and 1985) consciously resembled the Type 41.
In 2007 to celebrate the Royale’s eightieth anniversary, five of the six cars were on display at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
In the 1985 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, all six appeared together on display.
A Bugatti Royale features in the 2012 book Lucia on Holiday by Guy Fraser-Sampson, an addition to the Mapp and Lucia series of novels by E.F.Benson. In the story Major Mapp-Flint is asked by a maharajah to drive the car from Paris to Bellagio, but he drives so badly and inflicts so much damage that the maharajah has the car driven into Lake Como.
The Bugatti Royale 41.151 Berline de Voyage 1931 also features throughout the 2014 book The Eye of Zoltar, book 3 of The Last Dragonslayer series by Jasper Fforde. The car is referenced ten times within the book. The protagonist Jennifer Strange describes her choice of car “After looking at several I’d chosen a massive vintage car called a Bugatti Royale. Inside it was sumptuously comfortable, and outside, the bonnet was so long that in misty weather it was hard to make out the hood ornament.”
The Bugatti Royale features in the David Grossman book The Zigzag Kid
A blood-red Bugatti type 41 Royale Coupe de Ville appears in Leslie Charteris‘ Vendetta For the Saint (Doubleday 1964, ghostwritten by Harry Harrison) as a rental car for Simon Templar.
- Buckley, Martin (2002-03-22). “The most expensive car in the world”. The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-01-01.
- Conway, H. G. (8 February 1969). “The car of Kings”. Motor: 17–20.
- Kimes, Beverly Rae, ed. (1990). “Bugatti”. The Classic Car. Des Plaines, IL US: Classic Car Club of America. pp. 627–640. ISBN 0-9627868-0-2. LCCN 90084421.
- Menon, Sujatha, ed. (2004). Super Cars, Classics of Their Time. Quintet Publishing. ISBN 0-7607-6228-7.
- Pattinson, Rob (1 January 2009). “The Wheels of Fortune (front page), History of the well-kept car (section, p5)” (newspaper) (Regionwide ed.). Evening Chronicle. pp. 1,4,5.
Dr Carr’s hoarding instinct meant the car has remained virtually untouched and unused since the early 1960s. The current record sale for a car at auction stands at £4.7m, for a 1931 Bugatti Royale Kellner Coupe, sold in 1987.
- Rogliatti, Gianni (1973). Posthumus, Cyril, ed. Period Cars. Feltham, Middlesex, UK: Hamlyn. pp. 232–233. ISBN 0-600-33401-5.
- Great Cars – Bugatti (documentary)
- Classic & Sports Car Magazine – October 1987
- Jasper Fforde (2014). The Eye of Zoltar. Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 9781444707274.
Bugatti Type 55
The Bugatti Type 55 was a road-going version of the Type 54 Grand Prix car. A roadster, it had a short 108.3 in (2750 mm) wheelbase and light 1800 lb (816 kg) weight.
Power came from the Type 51‘s 2.3 L (2262 cc/138 in³) straight-8 engine. This 2-valve DOHC unit produced 130 hp (96 kW) and could rev to 5000 rpm. A Roots-type supercharger was used.
The car’s 4-speed manual transmission came from the Type 49 touring car. 38 examples were produced from 1932 through 1935 and they produced a racing version later on.
Bugatti Type 57
The Bugatti Type 57 and later variants (including the famous Atlantic and Atalante) was an entirely new design by Jean Bugatti, son of founder Ettore. Type 57s were built from 1934 through 1940, with a total of 710 examples produced.
Most Type 57s used a twin-cam 3,257 cc engine based on that of the Type 49 but heavily modified by Jean Bugatti. Unlike the chain-drive twin-cam engines of the Type 50 and 51, the 57’s engine used gears to transmit power from the crankshaft.
There were two basic variants of the Type 57 car:
The Type 57 chassis and engine was revived in 1951 as the Bugatti Type 101 for a short production.
A rediscovered Type 57 sold for 3.4 million euros at auction on 7 February 2009 at a motor show in Paris.
The famous Type 57G tank-bodied racers used the 57S chassis in 1936 and 1937 and the 57C for 1939.
The original Type 57 was a touring car model produced from 1934 through 1940. It used the 3.3 L (3,257 cc; 198 cu in) engine from the Type 59 Grand Prix cars, producing 135 hp (100 kW). Top speed was 95 miles per hour (153 km/h).
It rode on a 130-inch (3,302 mm) wheelbase and had a 53.1-inch (1,349 mm) wide track. Road-going versions weighed about 2,100 pounds (950 kg). Hydraulic brakes replaced the cable-operated units in 1938, a modification Ettore Bugatti hotly contested. 630 examples were produced.
The original road-going Type 57 included a smaller version of the Royale‘s square-bottom horseshoe grille. The sides of the engine compartment were covered with thermostatically-controlled shutters. It was a tall car, contrary to the tastes of the time.
- Wheelbase: 130 in (3,302 mm)
- Track: 53.1 in (1,349 mm)
- Weight: 2,100 lb (950 kg)
The “tuned” Type 57T pushed the performance of the basic Type 57. It was capable of reaching 115 miles per hour (185 km/h).
A Type 57C racing car was built from 1937 through 1940, with about 96 produced. It shared the 3.3 L engine from the road-going Type 57 but produced 160 hp (119 kW) with a Roots-type supercharger fitted.
Type 57C Tank
The 2nd incarnation Tank, this time based on the Type 57C, won Le Mans again in 1939. Shortly afterwards, Jean Bugatti took the winning car for a test on the Molsheim–Strasbourg road. Swerving to avoid a drunken bicyclist on the closed road, Bugatti crashed the car and died at age 30.
1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Gangloff Drop Head Coupe from the Ralph Lauren collection.
The Type 57S/SC is one of the best-known Bugatti cars. The “S” stood for “surbaissé” (“lowered”). It included a v-shaped dip at the bottom of the radiator and mesh grilles on either side of the engine compartment.
Lowering the car was a major undertaking. The rear axle now passed through the rear frame rather than riding under it, and a dry-sump lubrication system was required to fit the engine under the new low hood. The 57S had a nearly-independent suspension in front, though Ettore despised that notion.
Just 43 “surbaissé” cars were built.
- Wheelbase: 117.3 in (2,979 mm)
- Track: 53.1 in (1,349 mm)
- Weight: 2,100 lb (950 kg)
Just two supercharged Type 57SC cars were built new, but most 57S owners wanted the additional power afforded by the blower. Therefore, most of the original Type 57S cars returned to Molsheim for the installation of a supercharger, pushing output from 175 hp (130 kW) to 200 hp (150 kW) and 120 mph (190 km/h). 2014 saw the unveiling of Ralph Lauren‘s unique $40 million version of this classic.
“Aérolithe” concept and Atlantic production cars
1935 Bugatti Type 57 Aérolithe.
The Atlantic body Type 57S featured flowing coupe lines with a pronounced dorsal seam running front to back. It was based on the “Aérolithe” concept car of 1935 and styled by Jean Bugatti. Like the Type 59 Grand Prix car, the Aérolithe used Elektron (a magnesium alloy) or Duralumin (an aluminium alloy) for its body panels. Therefore, the body panels were riveted externally, creating the signature seam.
However the production Atlantics (just four were made) used plain aluminium, but the dorsal seams were retained for style, and have led to the car’s present fame.
Three of the original four cars are known to survive and each has been restored to their former glory. Two have been honored with Best of Show awards at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
Nr. 57374. The first production Atlantic was actually assembled from pieces of the Aerolithe show car. It was restored over long term ownership of Dr. Peter Williamson on New Hampshire. The restoration culminated in Best of Show at the 2003 Pebble Beach Concours, shortly before Dr. Williamson’s passing. 57374 was then sold (at a reported price over $30 million) to Peter Mullin of the Mullin Automotive Museum near Los Angeles.
Nr. 57473. This Atlantic has a most unfortunate history. Early in its life it received several styling changes at the hands of the renowned Paris coachbuilder Joseph Figoni. While the changes were subtle 57473 stands different than the other Atlantics. Its history takes an dark turn afterwards. After World War II it spent some time as a racecar and then was sold to a Rene Chatard. Chatard and a female companion were driving the car near Gien, France when they and the Bugatti were hit by a train. Neither survived the crash and the car was confiscated by French police. Much of the car survived but what remained was purchased in 1965 by an enthusastic Frenchman who began a full reconstruction. The car was finished in 1977 and then went on to several owners before the car underwent a full restoration by Paul Russell and Co. in 2006. The car has been restored to its Figoni specification and won acclaim at the 2010 Pebble Beach Concours.
Nr. 57591. The final production Atlantic led a charmed life that continues to this day. It was originally sold to a Bugatti enthusiast in Great Britain. It came under the ownership of Ralph Lauren, who then commissioned a full restoration with Paul Russell and Co. 57591 was unrestored at the time but had received multiple rebuilds and touch-ups through the years. Russell and Co. were able to cut through the past restoration work and revive the car back to its 1939 glory. They were rewarded with Best of Show at Pebble Beach in 1990 and Best of Show at Villa d’Este in 2013, along with many other top awards.
A fourth car with an unknown chassis number was kept by the factory but records of it have been lost.
A special Type 57 S45 used a 4,743 cc engine like the Tank.
Type 57G Tank
The famous, 57S-based, 57G Tank won the 1936 French Grand Prix, as well as the 1937 24 Hours of Le Mans. Three 57G Tanks were produced. Serial number 01, the Le Mans winner, is currently on display at the Simeone Foundation Auto Museum in Philadelphia.
The Atalante was a two door coupe body style similar to and built after the Atlantic, built on both the Type 57 and 57S, but with a single piece windscreen and no fin. Only 17 Atalante cars were made, four of which reside in the Cité de l’Automobile Museum in Mulhouse, France (formerly known as the Musee Nationale de L’Automobile de Mulhouse).
One Atalante, chassis number 57 784, with a 3 seats, 37 cm elongated aluminium bodywork made by Vanvooren, resides in the Museu do Caramulo in Caramulo, Portugal. Vanvooren would do two more bodies alike, one (Chassis 57808) for the french government, who gave it, in 1939, as a marriage gift of Prince Reza and Princess Fawzia, and another one (Chassis 57749). These two cars are in private collections in the United States.
The name Atalante was derived from a heroine of Greek mythology, Atalanta.
Rediscovered Type 57S Atalante
In 2008 the Bugatti Type 57S with chassis number 57502 built in 1937 with the Atalante coachwork for Francis Curzon, 5th Earl Howe was discovered in a private garage in Newcastle upon Tyne, having been stored untouched for 48 years and known about only by a select few people. It was auctioned in February 2009 at the Rétromobile motor show in Paris, France, fetching €3.4 million (~ US$5 million), becoming one of the highest valued cars in automotive history, owing much to its extremely low mileage, original condition and ownership pedigree.
- Ray Bonds (2003). The Illustrated Directory of Sports Cars. Motorbooks. ISBN 0-7603-1420-9.
- Jump up^ Barrie Price. Bugatti 57: The Last French Bugatti. ISBN 9781901295665.
- Jump up^ Charles Lam Markmann, Mark Sherwin. The Book of Sports Cars – (France and Germany). ISBN 9788896365458.
- Jump up^ “Classic Bugatti makes 3.4m euros”. BBC News online. 4 November 2008. Retrieved 10 July 2009.
- Jump up^ 1937 Bugatti Type 57S. www.conceptcarz.com. n.d. Retrieved 1 January 2009.
The Type 57S was a short-wheelbase sport version of Bugatti’s twin-camshaft, straight eight, 3.3 liter Type 57 model, and featured a ‘V’ radiator. Only 43 examples were built between 1936 and 1938, and this one was the last of 17 to be fitted with factory built black Atalante coupe coachwork…The Type 57S has been called the ultimate road going Bugatti. It is also one of the rarest…The Type 57 and its variants were intended for road going use…The catalogue bodies included two versions of the Ventoux Coupe, the Galibier four-door sedan, the Stelvio cabriolet, Atalante and Atlantic. The Atlantic, and its derivative the Atalante, were constructed in two-door coupe configuration.
- Jump up^ Simeone, Frederick A. (2009). The Spirit of Competition. Philadelphia, PA USA: Coachbuilt Press. p. 229. ISBN 9780977980949.
- Jump up^ “Bugatti 57C Atalante”. Museu do caramulo. n.d. Retrieved 31 July 2015.
- Jump up^ “1937 Type 57S Atalante found in Tyneside garage”. BBC Online. 1 January 2009.
Bugatti Type 101
The Bugatti Type 101 is a motor car made by Bugatti in 1951 and 1952 (one was built in 1965). In order to restart production after World War II and the deaths of Ettore Bugatti and his son Jean, the Type 101 was developed from the pre-war Type 57. Seven chassis were built; these were bodied by four different coachbuilders: Gangloff, Guilloré, Antem, and Ghia, the last to a design by Virgil Exner. The 101 was powered by the 3.3 L (3257 cc/198 in³) straight-8 from the Type 57.
Six Type 101 chassis were built after an initial converted Type 57 chassis prototype. At least two more Type 57s were also converted to Type 101 specifications, making a total of nine Type 101 cars produced.
The last Type 101 was built in 1965 by Ghia designed by Virgil Exner for the last remaining Type 101 chassis. It was exhibited at the Turin Motor Show in an attempt to revive the marque, but financing could not be arranged and production plans were scrapped. Exner owned the car for many years, and it has lately appeared in public at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
Bugatti Type 252
Bugatti Type 252 – Musée de l’automobile de Mulhouse
The Bugatti Type 252 was a sports car produced by Bugatti between 1957 and 1962. However the Bugatti Type 252 never went beyond a prototype. This single model now resides in the Cité de l’Automobilemuseum in Mulhouse, France.
Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. is a French high-performance luxury automobiles manufacturer and a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, with its head office and assembly plant in Molsheim, Alsace, France. Volkswagen purchased the Bugatti trademark in June 1998 and incorporated Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. in 1999.
Bugatti presented several concept cars between 1998 and 2000 before commencing development of its first production model, the Veyron 16.4, delivering the first Veyron to a customer in 2005.
At the urging of then-chairman Ferdinand Piëch, Volkswagen purchased the rights to produce cars under the Bugattimarque in June, 1998. This followed the earlier Volkswagen purchases of the Lamborghini marque (by VW’s Audi subsidiary), the Rolls-Royce factory in Crewe, United Kingdom, and the Bentley marque.
On 22 December 2000, Volkswagen officially incorporated Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S., with former VW drivetrain chief Karl-Heinz Neumann as president. The company purchased the 1856 Château Saint Jean, formerly Ettore Bugatti‘s guest house in Dorlisheim, near Molsheim, and began refurbishing it to serve as the company’s headquarters. The original factory was still in the hands of Snecma, who were unwilling to part with it. At thePebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in August 2000, VW announced that they would instead build a new modern atelier (factory) next to and south of the Château. The atelier was officially inaugurated on 3 September 2005.
Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Volkswagen AG
Early concept cars
Italdesign Giugiaro designs
Volkswagen commissioned Italdesign‘s Giorgetto Giugiaro to design a series of concept cars to return the marque to prominence. The first example, the EB 118, was a two-door coupé and was introduced at the Paris Motor Show in 1998. It was followed by the four-door EB 218 touring sedan, introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in 1999. Later that year, the 18/3 Chiron was shown at the IAA in Frankfurt.
Volkswagen designed the final Bugatti concept, the EB 18/4GT in house. Bugatti introduced the EB 18/4 at the 1999 Tokyo Motor Show.
All of these early concepts featured a 555 PS (408 kW; 547 hp) 18-cylinder engine. This was the first-ever W-configuration engine on a passenger vehicle, with three blocks of 6 cylinders each. It shared many components with Volkswagen’s modular engine family.
Main article: Bugatti Veyron
Development of this vehicle began with the 1999 EB 18/4 “Veyron” concept car, which itself had a chassis based on that of the Bugatti 18/3 Chiron concept car. It was similar in design and appearance to the final Veyron production car. One major difference was the EB 18/4’s use of a W18 engine with three banks of six cylinders. The Veyron’s chief designer was Hartmut Warkuss, and the exterior was designed by Jozef Kabaň of Volkswagen, rather than Giorgetto Giugiaro of Italdesign, who had handled the three prior Bugatti concepts.
The then – Volkswagen Group chairman Ferdinand Piëch announced the Veyron at the 2000 Geneva Motor Show. It was promised to be the fastest, most powerful and most expensive car in history. Instead of the W18, it would use a VR6/WR8-style W16 engine. First seen in the 1999 Bentley Hunaudières concept car, the W16 would have four turbochargers and produce a quoted (metric) 1001 horsepower (see engine section for details on the power output). Top speed was promised at 407 km/h (253 mph), and the price was announced at €1 million.
Development continued throughout 2001 and the EB 16/4 Veyron was promoted to “advanced concept” status. In late 2001, Bugatti announced that the car, officially called the “Bugatti Veyron 16.4”, would go into production in 2003. Taking great pride in the making of the Veyron, the production plant (where cars are also ordered) is affectionately called the “Atelier” (artists’ workroom).
Piëch retired that year as chairman of the Volkswagen Group and was replaced by Bernd Pischetsrieder. The new chairman promptly sent the Veyron back to the drawing board for major revisions. Neumann was replaced as Bugatti president by Thomas Bscher in December 2003, and substantial modifications were made to the Veyron under the guidance of a former VW engineer, Bugatti Engineering chief Wolfgang Schreiber.
The Veyron costs €1,100,000 (net price without taxes); prices vary by exchange rates and local taxes (like value added taxes). Prices for the UK or the US are over £880,000, or around $1,400,000. It was noted in an April issue of Live magazine (weekly men’s magazine with The Sunday Times) that customers are free to order additional extras which can push the price up by the cost of a Rolls Royce Phantom. During an episode of Top Gear, the car was compared to the Concorde as a feat of technology.
The 16C Galibier was first unveiled during Celebration of the Centenary of the Marque in Molsheim. The presentation was only for Bugatti customers. The car show in Molsheim showed the car in blue carbon fibre and aluminum parts. One year later Bugatti showed the world the 16C Galibier Concept at “VW Group Night” at the Geneva Auto Show in a new black and aluminum color combination.
The Galibier, a 1000 HP sedan, was first shown as a concept in 2010 and when they planned to put it into production in 2015, It would have cost about $1.4 million. It would use the same 16-cylinder 8.0-litre engine as the Veyron but instead of four turbos, the 16C Galibier would instead use two superchargers to deliver better torque. Production would require new facilities in Molsheim, France, to be refitted, which pushed back potential deliveries until 2015.
In 2013 it was announced that the car will never be produced as they wish to focus on a Veyron replacement.
|Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4
Bugatti Veyron 16.4 in Düsseldorf, Germany
||Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S.
- 2005–2011 (Veyron 16.4)
- 2009–2015 (Grand Sport)
- 2010–2011 (Super Sport)
- 2011–2015 (Grand Sport Vitesse)
||Molsheim, Alsace, France
|Body and chassis
- 2-door coupé (16.4, Super Sport)
- 2-door targa top (Grand Sport, Grand Sport Vitesse)
||Longitudinalmid-engine, permanent all wheel drive
||Standard (Coupe), Grand Sport (Roadster):
8.0 L (488 cu in) W16 quad-turbocharged 1,014 PS (746 kW; 1,000 bhp)
Super Sport (Coupe), Grand Sport Vitesse (Roadster):
1,200 PS (883 kW; 1,184 bhp)
||7-speed DSGautomatic transmission
||2,710 mm (106.7 in)
||4,462 mm (175.7 in)
||1,998 mm (78.7 in)
||1,159 mm (45.6 in)
||1,888 kg (4,162 lb)
||Bugatti Chiron (2016)
The Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4 was a mid-engined sports car, designed and developed in Germany by the Volkswagen Group and manufactured in Molsheim, France, by Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S.
The original version had a top speed of 407 km/h (253 mph). It was named Car of the Decade and best car award (2000–2009) by the BBC television programme Top Gear. The standard Bugatti Veyron also wonTop Gear’s Best Car Driven All Year award in 2005.
The current Super Sport version of the Veyron is recognised by Guinness World Records as the fastest street-legal production car in the world, with a top speed of 430.9 km/h (267.7 mph), and the roadster Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse version is the fastest roadster in the world, reaching an averaged top speed of 408.84 km/h (254.04 mph) in a test on 6 April 2013.
The Veyron’s chief designer was Hartmut Warkuss, and the exterior was designed by Jozef Kabaň of Volkswagen, with much of the engineering work being conducted under the guidance of engineering chief Wolfgang Schreiber.
Several special variants have been produced. In December 2010, Bugatti began offering prospective buyers the ability to customise exterior and interiors colours by using the Veyron 16.4 Configurator application on the marque’s official website. The Bugatti Veyron was discontinued in late 2014.
In 1998, the Volkswagen Group purchased the trademark rights on the former car manufacturer Bugatti in order to revive the brand. Starting with the Bugatti EB118, they presented at various international auto shows a total of four 18-cylinder concept cars. At the 1999 Tokyo Motor Show, the first study of the Veyron was presented. At the time, the name of the concept car was “Bugatti Veyron EB 18.4,” and it was equipped with a 3-bank W18 engine instead of the 2-bank W16 engine of the production version. While the three previous prototypes had been styled by Giugiaro, the Veyron was designed by the Volkswagen stylists.
The decision to start production of the car was taken by the Volkswagen Group in 2001. The first roadworthy prototype was completed in August 2003. It is identical to the later series variant except for a few details. In the transition from development to series production considerable technical problems had to be addressed, repeatedly delaying production until September 2005.
The Veyron EB 16.4 is named in honour of Pierre Veyron, a Bugatti development engineer, test driver and company race driver who, with co-driver Jean-Pierre Wimille, won the 1939 24 hours of Le Mans while driving a Bugatti. The “EB” refers to Bugatti founder Ettore Bugatti and the “16.4” refers to the engine’s 16 cylinders and 4 turbochargers.
World record controversy
A controversy developed in 2013 over the Veyron Super Sport’s status as the world’s fastest production car, ultimately resolved in the Veyron’s favour.
In early April 2013, driving.co.uk (also known as Sunday Times Driving) began an investigation following claims from US car maker Hennessey that its 928 kW (1,244 bhp) Hennessey Venom GT was entitled to the Guinness World Record. With a recorded speed of 427.6 km/h (265.7 mph) the Hennessey was 3.4 km/h (2.1 mph) slower than the Veyron but Hennessey dismissed Bugatti’s official record saying that the Veyron Super Sport was restricted to 415 km/h (258 mph) in production form and that for it to achieve its record top speed of 431.0 km/h (267.8 mph), the car used was in a state of tune not available to customers. Hennessey said its Venom GT was road-ready and unmodified and was therefore a production car in the strict sense of the term.
Driving.co.uk requested clarification from Guinness World Records, which investigated this claim and found that the modification was against the official guidelines of the record. Upon finding this, Guinness World Records voided the Super Sport’s record and announced it was “reviewing this category with expert external consultants to ensure our records fairly reflect achievements in this field.”
After further review, Shelby SuperCars, the producers of the Ultimate Aero TT, said that they had reclaimed the record, however Guinness reinstated the Super Sport’s record after coming to the conclusion that “a change to the speed limiter does not alter the fundamental design of the car or its engine.”
Bugatti Veyron (2005–2011)
Specifications and performance
The Veyron’s quad-turbocharged W16 engine
The Veyron features an 8.0-litre, quad-turbocharged, W16 cylinder engine, equivalent to two narrow-angle V8 engines bolted together. Each cylinder has four valves for a total of 64, but the VR8 configuration of each bank allows two overhead camshafts to drive two banks of cylinders so only four camshafts are needed. The engine is fed by four turbochargers and displaces 7,993 cubic centimetres (487.8 cu in), with a square 86 by 86 mm (3.39 by 3.39 in) bore and stroke.
First U.S. Bugatti Veyron on display in April 2006
The transmission is a dual-clutch direct-shift gearbox computer-controlled automatic with seven gear ratios, with magnesium paddles behind the steering wheel and a shift time of less than 150 milliseconds, built by Ricardo of England rather than Borg-Warner, who designed the six speed DSG used in the mainstream Volkswagen Group marques. The Veyron can be driven in either semi-automatic or fully automatic mode. A replacement transmission for the Veyron costs just over US$120,000. It also has permanent all-wheel drive using the Haldex Traction system. It uses special MichelinPAXrun-flat tyres, designed specifically to accommodate the Veyron’s top speed, and cost US$25,000 per set. The tyres can be mounted on the rims only in France, a service which costs US$70,000. Kerb weight is 1,888 kilograms (4,162 lb). This gives the car a power-to-weight ratio, according to Volkswagen Group’s figures, of 530 PS (390 kW; 523 bhp) per ton.
The car’s wheelbase is 2,710 mm (106.7 in). Overall length is 4,462 mm (175.7 in) which gives 1,752.6 mm (69.0 in) of overhang. The width is 1,998 mm (78.7 in) and height 1,204 mm (47.4 in). The Bugatti Veyron has a total of ten radiators:
- 3 heat exchangers for the air-to-liquid intercoolers.
- 3 engine radiators.
- 1 for the air conditioning system.
- 1 transmission oil radiator.
- 1 differential oil radiator.
- 1 engine oil radiator
It has a drag coefficient of Cd=0.41 (normal condition) and Cd=0.36 (after lowering to the ground), and a frontal area of 2.07 m2 (22.3 sq ft). This gives it a drag area, the product of drag coefficient and frontal area, of CdA=0.74 m2 (8.0 sq ft).
According to Volkswagen Group and certified by TÜV Süddeutschland, the final production Veyron engine produces 1,001 metric horsepower (736 kW; 987 bhp) of motivepower, and generates 1,250 newton metres (922 lbf·ft) of torque. The nominal figure has been stated by Bugatti officials to be conservative, with the real total being 1,020 metric horsepower (750 kW; 1,006 bhp) at 6,000 rpm.
German inspection officials recorded an average top speed of the original version of 408.47 km/h (253.81 mph) during test sessions on Volkswagen Group’s private Ehra-Lessien test track on 19 April 2005.
This top speed was equalled by James May on Top Gear in November 2006, at the Ehra-Lessien test track. May noted that at top speed the engine consumes 45,000 litres (9,900 imp gal) of air per minute (as much as a human breathes in four days). Back in theTop Gear studio, co-presenter Jeremy Clarkson commented that most supercars felt like they were shaking apart at their top speed, and asked May if that was the case with the Veyron at 407 km/h (253 mph). May responded that the Veyron was very controlled, and only wobbled slightly when the air brake deployed.
The car’s everyday top speed is listed at 343 km/h (213 mph). When the car reaches 220 km/h (140 mph), hydraulics lower the car until it has a ground clearance of about 9 cm (3.5 in). At the same time, the wing and spoiler deploy. In this handling mode, the wing provides 3,425 newtons (770 lbf) of downforce, holding the car to the road.
Top speed mode must be entered while the vehicle is at rest. Its driver must toggle a special top speed key to the left of their seat, which triggers a checklist to establish whether the car and its driver are ready to attempt to reach 407 km/h (253 mph). If so, the rear spoiler retracts, the front air diffusers shut, and normal 12.5 cm (4.9 in) ground clearance drops to 6.5 cm (2.6 in).
The Veyron’s brakes use cross drilled, radially vented carbon fibre reinforced silicon carbide (C/SiC) composite discs, manufactured by SGL Carbon, which have a much greater resistance to brake fade when compared with conventional cast iron discs.The lightweight aluminium alloy monobloc brake calipers are made by AP Racing; the fronts have eight titanium pistons and the rear calipers have six pistons. Bugatti claims maximum deceleration of 1.3 g on road tyres. As an added safety feature, in the event of brake failure, an anti-lock braking system (ABS) has also been installed on the handbrake.
Prototypes have been subjected to repeated 1.0 g braking from 312 km/h (194 mph) to 80 km/h (50 mph) without fade. With the car’s acceleration from 80 km/h (50 mph) to 312 km/h (194 mph), that test can be performed every 22 seconds. At speeds above 200 km/h (120 mph), the rear wing also acts as an airbrake, snapping to a 55° angle in 0.4 seconds once brakes are applied, providing an additional 0.68 g (6.66 m/s2) of deceleration (equivalent to the stopping power of an ordinary hatchback). Bugatti claims the Veyron will brake from 400 km/h (250 mph) to a standstill in less than 10 seconds, though distance covered in this time will be half a kilometre (third of a mile).
|Layout and body style
||Mid-engine, four-wheel drive, two-doorcoupé/targa top
|Internal combustion engine
||8.0 litre W16, 64v 2xDOHC quad-turbochargedpetrol engine
and max. power
|7,993 cc (487.8 cu in)
1,014.9 metric horsepower (746 kW; 1,001 bhp)
1,200 metric horsepower (883 kW; 1,184 bhp)
||408.47 km/h (253.81 mph) (average)
431.072 km/h (267.856 mph) (average)
|0–100 km/h (0.0–62.1 mph)
||0–240 km/h (0.0–149.1 mph)
|0–300 km/h (0.0–186.4 mph)
|0–400 km/h (0.0–248.5 mph)
|Standing quarter-mile (402 m)
||10.2 seconds (standard)
||31.4 m (from 100 km/h to 0)
|EPA city driving
||8 miles per U.S. gallon (29 L/100 km; 9.6 mpg-imp)
||EPA highway driving
||14 miles per U.S. gallon (17 L/100 km; 17 mpg-imp)
|Top speed fuel economy
||3 miles per U.S. gallon (78 L/100 km; 3.6 mpg-imp), or 1.4 U.S. gal (5.3 L; 1.2 imp gal) per minute
Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport (2009–2015)
The targa top Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport version of the Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4 was unveiled at the 2008 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. It has extensive reinforcements to compensate for the lack of a standard roof, and small changes to the windshield and running lights. Two removable tops are included, the second a temporary arrangement fashioned after an umbrella. The top speed with the hardtop in place is the same as the standard coupé version, but with the roof down is limited to 369 km/h (229 mph)—and to 130 km/h (81 mph) with the temporary soft roof. The Gran Sport edition was limited to 150 units, with the first 50 going exclusively to registered Bugatti customers. Production began in the second quarter of 2009, with the car priced at €1.4 million (excluding taxes and delivery).
A version was introduced at the Qatar Motor Show 2012 with a horizontal colour split with a bright yellow body framed in visible black carbon (including black-tinted wheels), seats in yellow-coloured leather upholstery with black stitching, middle console in black carbon, dashboard, steering wheel and gearshift made of black leather with yellow stitching. It was priced at €1.58 million.