The first Type 54 was built in only 13 days, and immediately engaged in the Italian Grand Prix. In spite of problems with the brakes, the driver brought it home third.
The Type 54 was developed in response to the trend toward larger engines for longer race courses. The twin-cam, supercharger and 4.9-liter engine developed 50-percent more horsepower than any previous Bugatti Grand Prix car. The T-54 racing cars were very powerful, but heavy and difficult to handle.
Ten T54s were produced by the factory; six of which were sold between January 1932 and May 1934. By the end of 1934, the factory had five original cars and five remained in private hands. The factory dismantled their cars while the ones in private hands went through various forms of modifications.
This car was assembled from original parts obtained at the factory in Molsheim. The engine and transmission have been completely rebuilt and dyno-tested. It is race ready.
The Bugatti Type 54 was created in 1931 and there were around six examples created. They were intended to serve as a replacement for the successful Bugatti Type 35. Under the bonnet was a twin overhead camshaft engine in nearly 4.9-liter form and enhanced with the use of a supercharger. The 300 horsepower unit was able to carry the car at speeds of 200 km/h.
Bugatti had built other racers that they intended to use as a replacement for the Type 35, such as the 45/47 but with little success. It featured two parallel engines and was intended to for high speed tracks.
The Type 54 was created in less than two weeks. Bugatti used a Type 54 chassis and married it with a Type 50 engine. The result was the Type 54. A three speed gearbox, instead of the traditional four, was used to handle the massive amount of power and send it to the rear wheels. The gearbox had been built specifically for the Type 54 and reinforced to increase its rigidity. The ladder frame was suspended in place by a live axle in both the front and rear. The drum brakes were operated by a cable.
Two Type 54s made their debut at Monza and were driven by Louis Chiron and Archille Varzi. Varzi was able to finish in third place, though both cars would have faired better had they not suffered tire problems and had better brakes. The cars were fast, but they difficult to handle, due to the frame construction and the tremendous amounts of power produced by the engine. On the courses with the long straight stretches, the car did rather well, such as at Avus where Varzi secured a win. In 1933, at the Monza Grand Prix, Count Stanislas Czaykowski was killed and the Grand Prix racing career of the Type 54 ended. Rule changes the following year secured the Type 54's fate, as the weight limit was limited to 750 kg. The Type 54 weighed 950 kg. The Type 54 continued to race in the Formula Libre class and at least two were converted for road use. By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2007
Only ten of these 4.9-liter cars were built by the Bugatti factory. With a twin-overhead-camshaft engine delivering about 300 bhp the Type 54 Grand Prix was a formidable race car in its day. Top speed was in the region of 150 mph! This car was first owned by the great Bugatti race driver Achille Varzi. He passed it to the amateur driver Prince Lobkowicz, who died at the wheel on the fast Avus circuit Lobkowicz's family gave the remains of the Bugatti to the retired Czechoslovakian racing driver Zdenek Pohl who had the car rebuilt with a touring body designed and fitted by a specialist in Prague. It was later rebuilt with the replica GP bodywork seen here by the specialist coachbuilder Rod Jolley.
How preposterous the sight! Among the 25 cars lined up for the 1930 French Grand Prix there would be one large supercharged Bentley. It would be akin to a sportscar prototype lining up alongside a Formula...