Another very good crowd attended our May meeting where Mark McKibbin?s Bugatti Type 37 (1926) took pride of place in the Dining Room. After the general business had been dispensed with, Mark gave us a bit of an insight into the man behind the Bugatti badge.
Ettore Bugatti was born in 1881 in Milan, Italy to a notably artistic family. He started working with a bicycle manufacturer making motorized tricycles around the turn of the century. At the age of 21 he became chief designer for Dietrich and after a few years moved on the Deutz as a designer. Whilst working at Deutz he convinced a banker to back him building his own car – the Type 13 of 1910. This was a very successful car which led to Bugatti establishing his own factory in the Alsace Region of France.
When World War One broke out he 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 35 (straight 8) from 1924 became the staple GP car up until about 1930. About 300 were made. The Type 37, such as the one featured here, was the 4-cylinder ?boy-racer? version of the Type 35. It cost 620 pounds compared to the Type 35 at 1100 and the T-model Ford at 120pounds.
During WWII Bugatti lost his factory again. Unfortunately the company never really recovered after the war and Ettore died in 1947.
This particular Type 37 is a 1926 model. 290 were built and only about 500 survive !! It has the 3-valve per cylinder 4-cylinder engine which will rev to 4800rpm and push the car along to a top speed of about 90 mph.
In the 1970s the previous owner started collecting parts to build a car and then purchased a new chassis. The build was completed in 2005 and in the Bugatti World it?s classed as a replica, because it doesn?t have an original chassis.
Mark certainly enjoys tinkering with it as much as driving it. It will cruise happily at 110 km/h whilst enveloping the occupants in a cloud of oil mist. The handling is superb, whilst the crashbox is ?interesting? and not yet mastered.
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