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Type 38 History

The Bugatti Type 38 was produced from 1926 through 1927. The Bugatti Type 38 had a straight-eight that displaced two-liters. Performance was further increased with the adoption of a supercharger, making the Type 38A. During its short production lifespan, 385 examples were produced with less than 40 being equipped with superchargers. They were replaced by the Type 43.

In comparison to the vehicles they replaced, the Type 30, the Type 38 sat atop a longer wheelbase with a wider track. The Type 30 was introduced in 1922 and was Bugatti's first eight-cylinder passenger car. The engine was very impressive; it was the first production engine to use the rectangular slab construction that would eventually become a Bugatti trademark. It featured an overhead camshaft, three valves per cylinder and a Brescia transmission.

The eight-cylinder engine was placed into a Type 23 chassis, dubbed the Type 30, would continue until 1926 with total production reaching around 600 units.

The Type 38 were similar to the Type 30 in many ways, however, they rested on a longer wheelbase and had a track that was two inches wider. Large, cable-operated drum brakes showed through the center-lock wire wheels. The suspension comprised of a standard rear Bugatti setup with a solid tubular front axle with slots through which the leaf springs passed.

Under the bonnet lurked a 2-liter, three-valve engine based on the Type 35, though the crankshaft - which was riding on ball bearings - was from the Type 30. The engine breathed through two Solex carburetors. There was coil ignition and a new four-speed manual gearbox which helped send the power to the rear wheels.

In keeping with Bugatti tradition, the cars were built at the Molsheim factory and delivered to coachbuilders as rolling chassis. From their, the artisans would create the elegant bodies for these magnificent vehicles.

By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2008
Bugatti Models

Vehicle information, history, and specifications from concept to production.

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