A replica of the Bugatti 100P is due to make its debut at the Mullin Automotive Museum, California, during March.
The original 1937 aircraft was designed by Ettore Bugatti and Belgian engineer Louis de Monge. It featured cutting-edge aerodynamics with forward pitched wings, a zero-drag cooling system and computer-directed flight controls. Powered by twin 450hp engines, the aeroplane was designed to reach speeds approaching 500mph, a feat previously only achieved by aircraft with twice the horsepower. The 100P was also much more compact than most aircraft of the era, with a wingspan of nearly 27 feet and an overall length of approximately 25.25 feet.
In June 1940, Bugatti stopped work on the 100P and concealed it in order to prevent its discovery by the German military. Although the aircraft survived the war, it was left in a condition unfit for flight and is too fragile to be taken on tour.
In 2009, Scott Wilson, John Lawson and Simon Birney of Le Rêve Bleu began construction on the first ever recreation of the Bugatti 100P. Handcrafted using largely the same materials and processes as the original, the replica is dimensionally and aerodynamically identical to the original. The project was made possible by $50,000 worth of donations raised through the Kickstarter website.
The Mullin Automotive Museum, which aims to preserve French art and automobiles from the Art Deco era, will display the aircraft as part of its Art of Bugatti exhibition from 24 March 2014. For more information on the recreation visit Le Rêve Bleu’s website, or learn about the exhibition at www.mullinautomotivemuseum.com