500-mph Bugatti 100P Airplane to Return to the Skies in March
When you think of the fastest Bugatti models, you might readily think of the modern Veyron and its even faster subsequent Super Sport counterpart. But there is a Bugatti from the 1930s that was twice as fast as the Veyron, and a Museum wants to breathe life back into it. A vintage vehicle you may not have heard of is the Bugatti 100P. It featured twin Bugatti straight-eight engines, and made a combined 900 horsepower, but this Bugatti wasn't built for driving– it was built for flying. RELATED: $4.6M Lamborghini Veneno Roadster Debuts on Aircraft Carrier In addition to amazing automobiles Ettore Bugatti had become passionate about airplanes. Specifically, he wanted to compete in the “Deutsch de la Meurthe Cup” air race. Started in 1900 by wealthy oil magnate Henri Deutsch de la Meurthe, the race initially fetched 10,000 francs to fly from Parc Saint Cloud to the Eiffel Tower in 30 minutes. By 1904, the pot was 50,000 francs and the challenge was to fly a 1-kilometer loop around Paris.
The race had grown in scope and rules, and Ettore had targeted the 1939 running of the race and began building the 100P. But with the looming threat of war, French officials canceled the race, but even so, the 100P was not ready by the deadline for entry.
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The 100P looks like nothing else from the time period. The swept-forward wings and V-tail were all drastic new design elements. Perhaps the most unorthodox design element was the smooth fuselage design, that lowered the cockpit so that there was no window bubble to detract from the plane’s aerodynamics. The plane never flew, but it was estimated that it could travel as as fast as 500 mph.
During the War, Ettore hid the plane away so that the Germans could not find it. It was sold several times through the second half of the century, and now has a home at the Experimental Aircraft Museum’s Oshkosh, Wa. facility.
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According to AutoWeek, three men began building a recreation of the 100P. Scott Wilson, John Lawson and Simon Birney completed a complete build of a 100P by hand, and in March it will supposedly take to the skies at the Mullins Automotive Museum in Oxnard, CA. Though this may not be the original, such a striking and unique aircraft is something that we can’t miss!