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Aspects of Motoring History # 17

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SLIDER: Bugatti Type 50 – The 1935 Le Mans car no. 3

The complex history of this fine Type 50 has been fully documented in Appendix 4 of the Porter Press International book Bugatti Type 50, by Mark Morris and Julius Kruta. We photographed it on a bright August day at the 2021 VSCC Prescott meeting.

The Type 50 was the development of the luxury Type 46, retaining that model’s three-speed rear transaxle but being fitted with Bugatti’s first twin-cam engine, influenced in its design by the racing engines of the American genius Harry Miller, two of whose cars had been acquired by the Bugatti factory.

The Type 50 was, as its Type 46 predecessor, essentially a luxury car, and examples often carried exotic coachwork, including the dramatic Profilée bodies designed by Jean Bugatti, with their extremely sloping windscreens. But Bugatti entered a team of Type 50 cars in the 1931, 1934 and 1935 Le Mans 24 Hours races. Hence the Le Mans coachwork of this car – which looks, and is, a tough and assertive machine.


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