In 1924 Ettore Bugatti’s masterpiece the Bugatti Type 35 was seen for the first time at the Grand Prix de Lyon where five of the new cars were entered. Two of them, driven by France Jean Chassagne and Ernest Friderich, came home 7th and 8th on the same lap, but 40 mins behind the winning Alfa Romeo of Giuseppe Campari after 7 hours of racing.
Despite the inauspicious start the Type 35, in various guises powered by variations of a development of the 2 litre 8 cylinder 24 valve motor seen on the Type 30, would go on to dominate the top echelons of European racing for nearly 10 years clocking up somewhere between 1000 and 2000 outright victories which at one point were being recorded at 14 per week !
Like W.O Bentley, Ettore Bugatti was not a big fan of superchargers but after supercharging 2 litre Type 35C the ultimate form of the Type 35 was the 1927 Type 35B powered by a 2.262 litre, 138 cui 8 cylinder motor, first seen in the Type 35T but supercharged to produce 138 hp.
One of the reasons for the success of the Type 35 racing variants was the unusual use of 5 main bearings, at the time three was considered enough by most, that were of the ball bearing type, as against the more common roller type which allowed the motors to revolve at higher rpm than had been hitherto possible.
The list of victories that fell to the Type 35B, like the 1927 example featured today driven by Mike Marshall at Prescott Hillclimb, includes the 1928 Targa Florio won by Albert Divo, the first Monaco and 23rd French Grand Prix both won in 1929 by, future British Special Operations Executive agent, William Grover-Williams.
Of the 343 Type 35’s, of all versions built, 45 were type 35B’s which like all forced induction Type 35’s featured a radiator mounted closer to the front axle than the normally aspirated variants to accommodate the supercharger.
Thanks for joining me on this “Ettore’s Magnus Opus” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !