The various roadsters designed by Bugatti for almost a century – –

For more than 110 years, Bugatti has been creating exceptional cars, including many exceptional roadsters, known for the unparalleled driving pleasure they provide. Two-seater roadsters always deliver the purest and most extraordinary driving experience. Early in Bugatti’s history – which now stretches back over 110 years – founder Ettore Bugatti and his son Jean developed some of the most exciting and advanced roadsters in automotive history. , stimulated by the enthusiasm of their customers.

Ettore and Jean have always tried to combine innovative and powerful engines with fantastic handling, exceptional design and the best craftsmanship. The cars they produced were so well engineered and carefully studied that they could easily go from winning race car at the 24 Hours of Le Mans to grand coupe and pure roadster. From the mid-1920s until his death in 1939, Jean Bugatti notably invented some of the most famous roadsters in automotive history, built in small numbers and with absolute concern for perfection.

“Bugatti roadsters are fascinating. In the past, Ettore and Jean Bugatti have shown how emotion, design and craftsmanship can be enhanced by a particular type of vehicle. When we immerse ourselves in the company’s long tradition, it is always a moment that allows us to become aware of what constitutes our brand DNA. Over the past few decades, Bugatti has developed some of the most exceptional roadsters ever created. »said Christophe Piochon, president of Bugatti Automobiles.

Bugatti Type 40A from 1930
Bugatti expands its Type 40 range from 1930 with the Type 40 A. The model is based on a long chassis and a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine with an output of 50 hp, capable of powering the car – which saw weighs 850 kg – at 130 km/h. However, it is not the top speed that counts in the Type 40 A, but the experience lived to achieve it: with its dynamic engine, its agile chassis and the open cockpit, a journey behind the wheel of a Type 40 A was like no other. Between 40 and 50 vehicles were produced, most with roadster bodywork.

1929 Bugatti Type 44
Between 1927 and 1930, Bugatti produced a few rare examples of the Type 44 with roadster bodywork, a lightweight two-seater model without doors – the passengers simply climbed in. The Type 44 has an 8-cylinder engine of 3.0 liters and about 80 hp. With a strong but smooth torque, this roadster is capable of accelerating up to 145 km/h, while ensuring a comfortable handling. Bugatti sold over 1,000 examples of the Type 44 model, but models fitted with the roadster body were incredibly rare.

1930 Bugatti Type 49
The direct successor of the Type 44, the Type 49, entered the market in 1930. Customers greatly appreciated its maneuverability and agility. An 8-cylinder engine of 3.2 liters and approximately 90 hp gives the two-seater roadster great performance and, in particular, a top speed of up to 145 km/h. For this model, Bugatti has paid special attention to design by creating an elegant silhouette with flowing shapes. The Type 49 is still regarded today as one of the most elegant two-seater vehicles built in Molsheim.

1932 Bugatti Type 41 Roadster Esders
No other vehicle from the early Bugatti era is as synonymous with quality, elegance, luxury, performance and grandeur as the Type 41 Royale. Only six of these vehicles were built by hand between 1926 and 1933 – each with custom bodywork. With a wheelbase of 4.3 meters and a length of over 6 meters, the Royale was the largest, best-looking and most powerful car ever built in Molsheim at the time. Under the extremely long bonnet sits a 12.8-litre 8-cylinder engine with an output of around 300 hp – the prototype even had a displacement of 14 litres. Industrial magnate Armand Esders commissioned Jean Bugatti to design an elegant roadster, the Roadster Esders. Armand Esders, who wanted to drive his car exclusively during the day, Jean Bugatti removed the two headlights from the vehicle, making it even more elegant with perfect lines. But two years later, the body of the roadster was replaced by a city coupe. A reconstruction of the original model is now part of the Schlumpf collection at the National Automobile Museum in Mulhouse.

1932 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster
This technical development of the Type 43 incorporates much of Bugatti’s motorsport know-how: the 2.3-liter supercharged eight-cylinder engine comes from the Type 51 racing car. This super-sporty engine produces up to 160 hp, which gave it unheard-of performance at the time compared to its nearly century-old competitors. As for the chassis, Bugatti relies on the proven configuration of the Type 54 racing car. Thanks to its high power and low center of gravity, this lightweight 950 kg roadster offers sporty handling and grip. The Type 55 Roadster can reach up to 180 km/h. In total, only 38 examples of the Type 55 were produced, in the form of coupés and roadsters.

Bugatti Type 57 Roadster Grand Raid Gangloff from 1934
Jean Bugatti built the Type 57, a fast and sporty luxury car, starting in 1933. From the beginning, his plans included different types of bodywork for his customers. The very first Type 57 model has a 3.3-litre eight-cylinder engine and an output of 135 PS – later models will exceed 200 PS. The young Jean Bugatti also encouraged custom builds by outside coachbuilders, and the 1934 Roadster Grand Raid Gangloff is an example. This two-seater is defined by the flowing shapes of the engine cover, the bulges at the back of the seats, a two-piece windscreen and wings with organic curves. Between 1934 and 1940, Bugatti produced around 750 examples of the Type 57, including coupes, convertibles, roadsters and racing cars. The Type 57 Roadster Grand Raid Gangloff remains a truly unique vehicle.

Bugatti Type 57 SC Corsica Roadster from 1938
Also based on the Type 57 SC model, the Corsica Roadster was developed in 1938. Its first owner was Colonel Godfrey Giles, who in 1937 commissioned British coachbuilder Corsica Coachworks to build him a bespoke Type 57 to his own ideas and those of his brother. design. The result: a roadster of the greatest beauty, with a unique and flowing form, as if cast from a single mold. The interior is made of the best materials. With its 3.8 liter eight-cylinder engine, the approximately 4.5 meter long roadster can reach a top speed of over 200 km/h. At the 1998 Concorso d’Eleganza in Pebble Beach, the jury awarded this Bugatti the title of “Best of Show”.

2008 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport
In 2005, Bugatti presented its first hyper sports car, the Veyron 16.4, and in August 2008, the brand launched the first roadster of its modern era: the Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport. Thanks to a special monocoque construction, there was no need to compromise on the hardtop. The Grand Sport reaches 360 km/h without a roof, while with the polycarbonate roof element it can reach over 400 km/h. With the Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport, Bugatti has proven that it is possible to build a super sports car in a roadster version, extremely dynamic, fast, comfortable and safe to drive. In 2013, an even more powerful and concentrated variant – the Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse – broke the world speed record by reaching 408.84 km/h, becoming the fastest production roadster in the world. As a tribute to this record, Bugatti is launching a very small production run of eight vehicles of the limited edition World Record Car (WRC) of the Veyron 16.4. Between 2005 and 2015, 300 Veyron 16.4 coupes and only 150 Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport and Grand Sport Vitesse were produced in Molsheim, including very special models and editions.

Photos: Bugatti

Leave a Comment