1991 GMC Syclone Pickup TruckVideo Coming October 31
In-depth coverage of the best of the green and the track!More >>
Put your automotive moxie to the test on our games page!
The house of Bugatti is known for producing some of the fastest, most exclusive cars of all time. Iconoclastic founder Ettore Bugatti was born to a family of sculptors and architects in Milan. Rather than follow in his famous father’s footsteps, Bugatti brought the family aesthetic to designing engines and racing vehicles. By 1900, when he was 19, Ettore had already built his first car, and went on to work as a designer for a series of European automobile manufacturers. In 1907, while working for Deutz in Cologne, he built a small car with a four-cylinder, eight-valve 1208 cc engine and shaft drive in his basement apartment on his days off. The "Pur Sang" - or Pure Blood - would become the prototype for the cars Bugatti was to build when he resigned from Deutz in 1909 to open his own business in an old dye works at Molsheim, in the Alsace region of France.
Despite his lack of formal training, Bugatti quickly earned a reputation for advanced engineering, becoming the first manufacturer to design racing cars as an entire concept, rather than treating chassis and body separately. Only five cars were built in the company’s first year, but by 1911, Bugatti began its domination of Grand Prix racing, winning the first ever Monaco Grand Prix. Bugatti shut down his factory and retreated to Paris to design aircraft engines during the First World War, returning to Mosheim in 1918 with renewed vigor for racing.
But it wasn't all about speed. By 1930, cities began to experience a new phenomenon - traffic. Bugatti answered the demand for a touring car that could bust 80 mph on the open road, and crawl comfortably through crowded city streets. Initiated in 1922 with the Type 30, Bugatti's 8-cylinder touring line was crowned by his last and arguably best effort, the Type 49. About 470 were built from 1930 through 1934, utilizing the last single cam engine that Bugatti would produce. The Type 49's 3.3 liter straight eight had three valves and two spark plugs per cylinder and a ton of torque. This flexible, refined tourer featured futuristic alloy wheels, a plush interior, and was the first Bugatti to sport a fan in the engine compartment, to stave off any risk of overheating in slow city traffic. Of all the Bugattis in his collection, Jay claims that the elegant and reliable Type 49 delivers the most fun for the least work.