For well over a century, Bugatti has been associated with speed records, from Ettore Bugatti’s racetrack dominating monsters to today’s German engineered Chiron, the French marque has come a long way but their vision stays the same.
As we all know Bugatti makes some seriously fast cars, the legacy of the Veyron and the more recent Chiron will live on but people tend to forget that breaking speed records is not a new thing for the French marque, it has been doing so for decades now. Therefore Bugatti decided to educate us all with a history of their Speedline- a history of the French cars breaking speed records through the years. Last summer they did what was considered to be impossible, crossing the 300Mph mark, but the Chiron Super Sport 300+ did precisely that and became the first car in the history of mankind to do so and once again Ettore Bugatti’s legacy lived on.
The man himself was responsible for most of the company’s early development and success, the De Dietrich 60 CV Course Bugatti Type 5 was a vehicle he worked on personally. The engine was a four-cylinder with a whooping 12.86l capacity even by today’s standards, it came with one ignition coil per combustion chamber, overhead valves and hopper cooling and provided approx 60 PS of power. The car seated two and could reach 120 kmph, this was in 1903 which only two cars ever made.
Next year Emile Mathis joined Ettore and used a 7.5l four-cylinder engine to make the 40/50PS cars under Hermes-Simples. These cars were able to reach 120kmph and competed in several races during their time. Further development led to the use of 8.5l four-cylinder or 9l four-cylinder engines for the cars, a 12l four-cylinder model was also made. These engines meant the car could reach over 130 kmph.
Then the company dissolved and Ettore developed several cars in Cologne, like the Bugatti Deutz Prinz Heinrich Type 9 C, a racing car which reached speeds over 140 kmph. Then in 1909 Bugatti was formed, the type 13 which reached speeds of over 150 kmph finished the Prinz-Heinrich-Fahrt contest, an endurance race during which the car clocked an average speed of 142.6 kmph. The car weighed only 300 kilograms and was powered by a 1.4l four-cylinder engine and four-valve technology. Over 400 Type 13 cars were made, which ruled the racetracks in Europe during their production run.
Then came the double hundred-200 kmph which the Type 35 achieved. The car was powered by an eight-cylinder engine with two litre capacity that made 95 PS and reached 190 kmph. It was the Type 35 B that breached the speed using a 2.3l engine which came with a compressor. The car won over a couple thousand races in the years that followed, making it the most successful racing car of all time. After this Bugatti made the Type 57 S, a road going car which reached the 200 kmph mark in 1934.
In 1929, the Type 45 used two eight cylinder engines joined parallely to make a single 16-cylinder engine, the first one to wear the Bugatti badge. It made 270 PS and propelled the car above 250 kmph. It was so fast that the car was only used for short distance races and hill climbs, due to the excess speed the tyres would burst. Only two units of the Type 45 were ever made.
Ettore then moved on to the next big figure, the 300 kmph mark. He started developing a road going car that could do so in 1929, using an engine from Type 41 Royale and the gearbox from Type 50. He could not follow the project due to economic reasons and during his era Bugatti did not achieve the speed. Romano Artioli, the Italian who purchased Bugatti in 1987 set upon achieving the goal that eluded Ettore, and the result was the EB110, a car which surpassed the mark and set a record of 342 kmph. The car used a 3.5l V12 engine which in the SuperSports edition of the car made 610 PS. The EB110 SuperSports broke its own record and set a time of 351 kmph the following year.
The Bugatti Veyron is a car that needs no introduction, it was the first vehicle to come out of Molsheim after Volkswagen acquired the French marque. The Veyron became the first car to reach speeds above 400 kmph, powered by the 8l W16 engine which had four turbochargers to push out an earth shattering 1001 PS. further developments led to the Veyron 16.4 Super Sport which set an even further record of 431 kmph which was recognised by Guinness World Records, this edition was a retialtation to SSC Ultimate Aero snatching the record from the Veyron. It achieved the speed at VW’s test track, Ehra-Lessien in Germany.
The Chiron took on the mantle from its predecessor and set new records. The Super Sport 300+ reached a top speed of 490 kmph or 304 mph, a record which stands to be broken. Using the same 8l W16, but this time tuned all the way up to 1600 PS, it also shattered several other records while on its record run and became the first production car to reach speeds above 300 mph.
Now Bugatti looks to trump itself further, a track-oriented hypercar named the Bolide is set to debut, using the engine from the Chiron to make 1850 PS and cutting down to absolute bare minimums to keep the car as light as possible, weighing just 1240 kgs. The body uses extreme measures to make it aerodynamic and increase downforce. Study shows that the car would be able to breach the 500 kmph mark easily while setting lap records at each racetrack in the world. “Hyper sports cars from Bugatti offer more than just top speeds: unimagined dimensions of performance, luxury, exclusivity, design and automotive hand craftsmanship.” said Stephan Winkelmann, Bugatti boss.
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