Large Assembly of Pre-War Vehicles at Rallye Bugatti International 2022 – –

The Occitanie region of the South of France has recently welcomed some very special visitors, all of whom were born in the east of France. Ready to explore winding country roads, deep valleys and green fields dotted with historical monuments, no less than 108 pre-war Bugatti – produced in Molsheim between 1910 and 1939 – gathered in the village of Najac, all united by the Bugatti spirit: a long -standing passion and admiration for the brand and its vehicles.

Every year, one of the 15 Bugatti clubs – spread across 15 countries in Europe, North America, Japan and Australia – organizes the Bugatti International Rally. For this 2022 edition, which took place from 12 to 19 June, Club Bugatti France managed to bring together owners from no less than 18 different countries to introduce them to some of the best roads in the Occitanie region, creating memories along with these cars they value. so much and celebrate the brand’s history.

The parade of more than 100 pre-war Bugatti cars took place over more than 1,200 km through southern France, in the Lot, Aveyron and Tarn valleys. The historic castles of Cénevière, Bosc and Mauriac have also opened their doors wide to welcome these legendary vehicles.

Owners of pre-war Bugatti cars, of all ages and profiles, are united by the passion and fascination of Ettore and Jean Bugatti’s creations. Although some of these cars are over a century old, their design and technique have stood the test of time. They are still behaving on the road, like the first time they left Molsheim. The audience’s enthusiasm for the 108 classic vehicles was confirmed from village to village as much as the owners’, delighted by the enthusiasm aroused among admirers from all over the world.

Among the many Bugatti present this year were two exceptional creations from the French luxury brand in particular: a Type 35 “Grand Prix de Lyon”, an authentic model from 1924 and a Type 54, a vehicle equipped with impressive power already on his era. .

Bugatti Type 35
The Bugatti Type 35 is one of the most successful race cars ever. She won more than 2,000 victories between 1924 and 1931.

In late July 1924, Bugatti competed in four Type 35s at the French Grand Prix in Lyon. It was the very first time that Ettore Bugatti presented this new model, which inspired the creation of the special edition “Grand Prix de Lyon”. A tribute to the models who participated in the Grand Prix that year, symbolizes the vehicle present at the Bugatti International Rally 2022, completely authentic compared to its first excursion in 1924, more than a century of history.

The first versions of the Type 35 were then able to reach speeds of over 190 km / h. With a 2.3-liter eight-cylinder engine and supercharger, the later model called the Type 35 B saw its power increase to 140 hp and its top speed exceeded 215 km / h. In addition to their performance, these engines were also best known for their reliability and endurance. Type 35 is designed to perform just as well on the road as on the racetrack. By design, the Ettore Bugatti actually ensured that it could be driven on the track and win races, but also that it could bring drivers home after a race and therefore be driven on the road.

With this model, Ettore Bugatti created the lightest car of its time and realized that too heavy components could be a brake on victory. To reduce the unsprung masses and thus improve the suspension, Bugatti was also the first brand to develop special low-friction wheels. For the Type 35, a new axle was also designed: with a weight of about 10 kg, it was incredibly light at the time, but still just as stable. The unsprung masses of the Type 35 were thus further reduced, enabling the race car, which weighs only 750 kg, to take turns at higher speeds. At the time, Ettore Bugatti designed all of its models as racing vehicles, but also installed – at the request of customers – side wings and headlights, all to allow them to drive on the road.

Bugatti Type 54
Intended to replace the triumphant Type 35, Type 54 from 1931 – which shone during the Bugatti International Rally 2022 – is one of the rare 9 examples produced by Bugatti and the only Type 54, among the 4 that still exist, as its owner drives both on. the road and on the track. Type 54, manufactured between 1932 and 1934 with a 5-liter eight-cylinder engine, produced an output of 300 hp – an extraordinary number at the moment – to meet fierce competition from other manufacturers present on the circuits.

With a gearbox reduced to three gears – instead of the usual four – specifically designed to withstand acceleration, the Type 54 could reach up to 250 km / h in third gear, a colossal speed at present.

Legendary drivers Louis Chiron and Achille Varzi demonstrated the very first Type 54s at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza in 1931, proving to all the extraordinary speed of this new race car before blown tires prevented them from bringing home the victory. Despite this disappointment, Varzi still managed to secure a third place on the podium.

Photos: Rémi Dargegen for Bugatti

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