Today when we think of Bugatti, we probably think of a 1,000+ horsepower monster. The most expensive and maybe fastest car in the world. An engineering wonder. Or, maybe the classic Atlantique, or Bugatti race cars that today fetch the highest prices at the fanciest auctions.
But, just after WWII, Ettore Bugatti had a vision of something much different for his car company, the Type 68, a microcar. Bugatti actually designed the little car in Paris during the war. Understanding the need for simple transportation in a war torn world, and a cheap way to keep the marque afloat, it's speculated the idea was to license the car to be built by other companies around the world. Bugatti experimented with several small engines, but the one in the car is a 318cc, 16 valve(!) 4 cylinder with removable cylinder heads. Oh, and it was supercharged, making about 48 horsepower. It's said he tested the engine on a motorcycle in order to conceal its true purpose. A later motor was this 370cc, 8 valve powerplant that never found its way into a car, but was a technical marvel.
Only the one car was built, but Bugatti did sketch an enclosed, Atlantique style coupe version that I'm sure would have kicked ass. In some alternate universe, it was Bugatti, not Volkswagen, that put the world back on wheels.