Bugatti Type 35
A top car to drive before you die!
A car way in advance of it's time!
The type 35 Bugatti was an extremely successful racing car, and throughout its life, it recorded almost 2000 race wins. Unlike many racing cars there were numerous drivers, owning their own machines, who shared in these successes and part of the reason for this is that the car was not only designed for the racing circuit, but was also street legal. This meant that many budding racing drivers were able to buy them not only for personal transport, to drive to the golf club, the horse racing or a Sunday afternoon picnic, but to race them as well. It is for this reason that many commentators consider this car to be the first real sports car.
Why was it so successful?
Firstly, let us consider the powerplant. The eight cylinder, 2.26 L engine, for instance, could put out 130 brake horsepower, which would be a respectable output even now. High-power however, is no use without good road holding and steering abilities; in these respects the car was considered by most contemporary experts as one of the easiest cars to drive at high speed around a difficult circuit, with unsurpassed lighness and agility.
Was it completely state-of-the-art?
Ettore Bugatti was one of the first car designers to realise that the lighter the car, the faster it could go! Many rivals believed the opposite; the popular view was that in order to have good roadholding capabilities a car should be as heavy as possible. Against this trend, the type 35 had alloy wheels, which was quite revolutionary at the time, as most other vehicles had steel rims with wire braces; and the front axle was hollowed out to reduce weight even further.
Did it have any faults?
The car was designed to be a racing car, as well as a road car, and to get to its final destination as quickly as possible. Unfortunately cars sometimes have to slow down or stop, but the braking capabilities of the type 35 came low on the priority list! At a time when hydraulic brakes were becoming standard, Bugatti still used cables to operate the drum brakes. As Ettore is said to have pointed out, the whole point of the car was to go, not stop!