In 1925, Bugatti produced five factory Type 39 models, each powered by a 1500cc, eight-cylinder roller bearing crankshaft engine. The cars had identical chassis and engines and wore beaded edged tires on aluminum wheels.
This example, chassis number 4604, is the sole surviving example in original condition. 4604, along with the four other Type 39 factory models, were raced at the French Touring Grand Prix at Montlhéry in July of 1925. At the time it wore a temporary touring body to comply with race requirements. It was driven by 'Meo' Constantini to an impressive first place finish. Out of the remaining four Bugatti Type 39s, only one finished the race. After the race, all five cars were returned to the standard Grand Prix body configurations and entered in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza in September of 1925. 4604 finished third overall, and first among the Type 39s. The Type 39 driven by Jules Goux had lead most of the race, but was forced to retire close to the finish due to a leaking fuel tank.
After racing at Monza in 1925, 4604 was sold and sent to Australia, along with car number 4607. Both cars were actively campaigned during the 1920s and 1930s, earning several important victories during that time. 4607 won the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island in 1931.
Currently, 4604 is in impressive condition considering its originality, age, and racing career. In 2004, the car was sent to England and given a re-commissioning.By Daniel Vaughan | May 2011
Although it is personal preference, the Bugatti Type 35 is regarded by many as one of the most beautiful pre-war racer from the legendary Bugatti Company. Its beauty is matched by its accomplishments, being one of the most successful pre-war racer winning over 1000 races and capturing the 1926 Grand Prix World Championship with 351 races. During that two year period it also claimed 47 records. From 1925 through 1929 the Bugatti Type 35 dominated the Targa Florio.
The first Bugatti Type 35 was introduced on August 3rd, 1924. It was powered by a modified engine used in the Type 29. The 3-valve 2-liter overhead cam straight-eight engine had five main bearings and producing around 90 horsepower. The suspension was comprised of leaf springs attached to solid axles. Stopping power was provided by drum brakes in the rear operated by cables which could be seen on the exterior of the vehicle. In total, there were 96 examples produced.
There were multiple versions of the Type 35 which were specifically designed to accommodate many types of racers. The Type 35A, nicknamed 'Tecla' was an inexpensive version of the Type 35 and made its first appeared in May of 1925. Its nickname was given by the public after a maker of imitation jewelry. The engine was a reliable unit borrowed from the Type 30. It used three bearings, had smaller valves, coil ignition, and produced less horsepower than its Type 35 sibling. In total 139 examples of the Type 35A were created.
Though Ettore Bugatti favored naturally aspirated engines, the Type 35C was given a Roots-Type supercharger which boosted power to an impressive 128 horsepower. There were only fifty examples created with many providing historic victories for the company. The Type 35C won the 1928 and 1930 French Grand Prix, undoubtedly their greatest accomplishments.
The Bugatti Type 35T, commonly known as the Targa Florio, was specially prepared for the Targa Florio race. There were only thirteen examples produced. It was powered by a 2.3 liter engine. When Grand Prix rules changed stating that engine displacement sizes of up to 2 liters were required, the Type 35T became obsolete and production ceased.
The Bugatti Type 35B was introduced in 1927 and was the final iteration of the Type 35 series. The name Type 35TC was pondered since it shared the same 2.3 liter engine as the Type 35T and a supercharger just like the Type 35C. The engine produced an astonishing 138 horsepower, by far the most of the Type 35 series. In total there were only 45 examples produced with one of their greatest accomplishments being the victory at the 1929 French Grand Prix.
The Bugatti Type 39 was produced alongside the Type 35B but adhered to current Grand Prix regulations which limited engine capacities to 1.5 liters. Only ten examples of the Type 39 were produced.
By Daniel Vaughan | May 2011