When visiting the museum at the Bugatti Trust a couple of years ago I was most impressed by a cutaway aero engine Ettore Bugatti designed in 1916 that featured two pairs of four cylinder motors joined to two longitudinal crankshafts that were themselves geared to a single central propeller shaft to make a U16 motor.
In 1929 when looking to replace his successful Type 35’s Ettore revisited the idea of building U16 motors by connecting parallel pairs of his existing single overhead cam 8 cylinder motors to a single prop shaft.
In all he built 5 U16’s with motor sizes of 3.8 litres / 231 cui and and 3 litres / 183 cui. The larger motor was intended for the Type 45 of which one #47156 was fitted with the only 3.8 litre motor #1.
This car appears to have been made obsolete before it ever driven in anger by the late adoption of a fuel consumption formula which was unfavourable to the the large displacement motor.
The single T45 that was completed was used in hllclimbs and speed events and now sits in the Schlumpf collection along side a 3 litre U16 T47 chassis #47156 fitted with motor #3, the 3 litre U16 motor #2 is also believed to be with the Schlumpf collection now also known as the Cité de l’Automobile.
The two remaining 3 litre 183 cui U16 motors #4 and #5 have both been reported in a Dutch court case to have been fitted to Replica / Recreation chassis and I believe the car seen here is 45R #47153.
The Dutch court hearing in 2011 records that #47153, has also been incorrectly identified as #47157 by some sources on the web and that “”Overall this car is in all respects a wonderfully faithful reproduction of the one and only factory-built Bugatti Type 45 (…)”, albeit with a smaller engine capacity than the original.
Thanks for joining me on this “3 litre / 183 cui U16” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be revisiting Sherborne Castle. Don’t forget to come back now !