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Type 43

Bugatti's Type 35 was a phenomenal racing car with over 1000 wins to it's credit, partly due to the fact that the company were more than happy to sell them to freelancers who just loved to race and had the money to do so. What more natural than to produce a road version based on it?

The torpedo shaped Type 43, which was launched in 1927, was really an updated version of the 35B racing car and it shared the same 2262 cc supercharged straight eight cylinder engine pumping out 120 brake horsepower. It had the same three valve per cylinder layout; one for exhaust and two for intake; and thanks to it's power and relatively low weight it could even pull away and accelerate from standstill in fourth gear.

Despite the fact that the body was extended so that it could seat four people – it was a bit of a squeeze but it was possible – this car was still capable of doing more than 100 miles an hour, in fact one was tested at 112 mph with acceleration of nought to 60 in around 12 seconds. This was around the time when the vast majority of production cars couldn't get to 60 miles an hour at all!

The type 43 reinforced Bugatti's reputation as a manufacturer of superb cars with equally superb performance.

Fair enough it was a roadgoing car and not an out and out racer and so it was made more suitable for a day-to-day driver rather than an experienced speedster so bigger brakes were provided. Mind you these were still cable operated; Ettore had still not got round to hydraulic systems! Since the car was likely to have to drive for longer distances with less routine maintenance a larger radiator was fitted too.

It was no slouch itself though; many owners still raced them, including Sir Malcolm Campbell who entered his for the 1928 TT. However his fuel tank caught fire during refuelling and finally blew up damaging the back of the car very badly, although happily no one was hurt. Two other Type 43s that it been entered by other freelancers also had to withdraw because of petrol tank fires although to be fair the cause was more likely to have been faulty refuelling rather than a design fault in the car.

Despite the desirability of the car was not an enormous seller; it was not cheap and very few people had pockets deep enough to afford one and so just 160 of the type 43 were sold, before it was replaced in 1931 by the 43A open two seater roadster which was mechanically very similar in which stayed in production through 1932.

Next Bugatti - the Type 41 Royale

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