The Experimental Aircraft Association museum in Oshkosh, WI has long housed the only example of Bugatti’s attempt at building a flying machine. While elegant and beautiful, the airplane has never flown and has been relegated to “Hangar Queen” status sitting lonely on the museum floor.
All alone until now when Bugatti meets Bugatti as EAA parks the museum’s newest addition in a clever spot next to its flying namesake. Not much is known about the antique automobile except for the enigmatic Instagram post showing the two classic vehicles-side-by side.
This road going Bugatti appears to be a Type 57S. Only 710 Type 57 cars were built between 1937-1940 and of those only 43 were “S” variants and only two were factory built as “SC”. The SC was fitted with a supercharger which prompted many Type 57S owners to send back their cars for a retrofit. The new blower bumped power output from 175hp to a whopping 200hp. No other information seems to be available about this particular car’s operational condition or where it came from, but I plan to find out next week when conduct my annual visit to the museum during my aviation pilgrimage to the EAA AirVenture Airshow and Fly-in. Stay tuned for updates.
In case you didn’t know, Ettore Bugatti (the same Bugatti that made famous race cars) built a one-off airplane meant to compete in a popular aerial race at record setting speeds with intentions to turn military fighter. He persuaded the French Air Ministry to fund the project, but it was never completed due to a series unfortunate events. The plane was disassembled and hidden away during the start of the second World War to keep it away from the encroaching German regime.
Largely forgotten until the late 1960’s when the aircraft was found by an American Bugatti enthusiasts who imported it stateside. After a series of restorations, it was deemed to be completed to original specifications. Unfortunately it was to never leave the ground and can be seen today in the EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh, WI (which you should go check out because they have lots of other cool stuff too).
The 100p was considered not only beautiful, but in a period before the high performance aviation advancements were spawned by war, this flying Bugatti was perhaps the most high-tech airplane of its time. In the name of history, a group of (bonkers) enthusiasts have been hard at work building a twin-Hayabusa powered replica that recently made its first successful round of test flights.