The Bugatti Type 40 was introduced in 1926 as a successor to the Bugatti Brescia. Around 790 Type 40s were built, complete with a 3-valve, 149cc engine, before the Type 40A was introduced in 1930. Most were supplied with factory bodies either as modest closed tourers or small open roadsters, and the first of the 42 roadsters to be completed was owned by Jean Bugatti himself.
This Type 40, with a factory-built Grand Sport body, was produced in May 1929 for the Bugatti agent in London, Colonel Sorel. After various owners in England, the car was imported to the United States in 1962. It underwent various modifications over time, but in 1979, its then owner, Henry Adamson in Lake Forest, Illinois, restored the car to its original configuration. Its current owner restored it to its original condition.
The Bugatti Type 40 was powered by a four-cylinder engine that produced an impressive amount of horsepower, considering the vehicles size and weight. It was a detuned version of the engine found in the Type 37 and initially featured a splash lubrication system to its five-bearing crankshaft. Later, a full-pressure lubrication system would become standard. The engines had 12 valves, twin Weber carburetors, coil ignition and produced around 70 horsepower. In traditional Bugatti fashion, the cylinder block and head were in the form of a single casting. The three-valve heads had two inlets each and a single large exhaust valve. They was mated to a four-speed manual gearbox with center change. The suspension was comprised of a beam front axle on semi-elliptic springs, while in the rear was a live axle on reversed quarter-elliptic springs. Hartford-type friction shock absorbers were placed on all four corners, as were the drum brakes.
The Type 40's were entry level vehicles that had low-cost construction methods making them reasonable to produce and purchase. The were introduced in 1926 and served as a replacement for the touring versions of the 16-valve Brescia range. The Type 38, introduced at the same time as the Type 40, was a replacement for the Type 30. The Type 37 with its 1500cc engine replaced the racing version of the Brescia.
The standard bodystyle for the Type 40 was the four-seater coupe. When introduced, it used the wheelbase of the Type 23, which measured 2.55 meters. Bugatti created the rolling chassis and custom coachbuilders outfitted the vehicle with its bodywork.
Around 745 (some sources say as high as 900) examples of the Type 40 were produced, and 35 examples of the Type 40A constructed. The Type 40A had engines fitted from the Type 49. By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2007
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