Bugatti – 90 Years of Sporting Elegance
The two historical Volkswagen marques Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. and Bentley will be sharing a booth for the third year running at this year’s Techno-Classica in Essen. Their joint presentation in Hall 7 will be themed ‘sporting elegance’, with three vehicles from each marque on display. What is remarkable about Bugattis is that they have not only always been serious contenders on the world’s racing tracks, but have managed to leave a dashing impression on its major boulevards too.
Bugatti’s little sports car of the early 1920s whose performance proved so hard to beat was the ‘Brescia’. It came in three different chassis lengths. The small supercar had a four-cylinder 1500 cc engine with overhead camshaft, which produced around 50 horsepower. The name Brescia came after its legendary quadruple victory in the famous Italian town in 1921. The longer chassis versions, which were perfect undercarriages for elegant sports bodies, were known as the ‘Brescia Modifiée’. The Type 23 exhibited in Essen is the longest-chassis version, with a 2.55-metre wheelbase clothed in a two-seater roadster body.
The Type 57 Bugatti was first unveiled at the 1933 Paris Automobile Exhibition. Its development was very much influenced by Jean Bugatti, the founder’s son, who was just 25 at the time. Its straight eight-cylinder engine displaced 3,300 cc and produced around 135 horsepower through two overhead camshafts. Variations of the Bugatti Type 57 won the Le Mans 24-hour race in 1937 and 1939. The two-seater coupé shown here, with its twin-tone paintwork, is called the ‘Atalante’ and was the sportiest of the five different body styles supplied from the Bugatti works. This coupé also features what is known as the ‘Toit ouvant’ – rolling roof in English – which can simply be slid backwards to open. Only 34 vehicles were given the Atalante body.
The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 can now also be considered a classic. Entering into production in 2005, this car’s design is timeless but its technology remains unique to this day. In fact it could be said that the Veyron became a true classic the day it first left the studio at Molsheim, Alsace, where it is built meticulously by hand. The coupé version of the Veyron is limited to 300 examples, all of which have been sold. The W16-cylinder engine produces 1,001 horsepower coupled with a torque of 1,250 Nm in the Veyron, and 1,200 horsepower with 1,500 Nm in the Super Sport. The Super Sport holds the world speed record for a production vehicle, 431 km/h.