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Bugatti Type 35

Bugatti Type 35
Bugatti Type 35B

The Type 35 was the most successful of the Bugatti racing models. It was the first vehicle to feature the famed Bugatti arch-shaped radiator, and is regarded by many as the most-beautiful pre-war racing car.

The Type 35 was phenominally successful, winning over 1,000 races in its time. It took the Grand Prix World Championship in 1926 after winning 351 races and setting 47 records in the two prior years. At its height, Type 35s averaged 14 race wins per week. Bugatti organized the Targa Florio as a special spotlight for this car, and it claimed victory there for five consecutive years, from 1925 through 1929.

Type 35

The original model, introduced at the Grand Prix of Lyon on August 3, 1924, used an evolution of the 3-valve 2.0 L (1991 cc/121 in³) overhead cam straight-8 engine first seen on the Type 29. Bore was 66 mm and stroke was 100 mm as on many previous Bugatti models. 96 examples were produced.

This new powerplant featured five main bearings with an unusual ball bearing system. This allowed the engine to rev to 6000 rpm, and 90 hp (67 kW) was reliably produced. Solid axles with leaf springs were used front and rear, and drum brakes in back, operated by cables, were specified. Alloy wheels were a novelty, as was the hollow front axle for reduced unsprung weight.

A rare version was de-bored (to 52 mm) for a total displacement of 1.5 L (1494 cc/91 in³).


  • Length: 3680 mm (144.9 in)
  • Width: 1320 mm (52 in)
  • Wheelbase: 2400 mm (94.5 in)
  • Track: 1200 mm (47.2 in)
  • Weight: 750 kg (1650 lb)

Type 35A

A less-expensive version of the Type 35 appeared in May, 1925. The factory's Type 35A name was ignored by the public, who nicknamed it "Tecla" after a famous maker of imitation jewelery. The Tecla's engine used three plain bearings, smaller valves, and coil ignition like the Type 30. While this decreased maintenance requirements, it also reduced output. 139 of the inexpensive Type 35As were sold.

Type 35C

The Type 35C featured a Roots-type supercharger, despite Ettore Bugatti's disdain for forced induction. Output was nearly 128 hp (95 kW) with a single Zenith carburettor. Type 35Cs won the 1928 and 1930 French Grand Prix. 50 examples left the factory.

Type 35T

For 1926, Bugatti introduced a special model for his new Targa Florio race. Called the Type 35T officially, it soon became known as the Targa Florio. Engine displacement was up to 2.3 L (2262 cc/138 in³) with a longer 100 mm stroke. Grand Prix rule changes limiting capacity to 2.0 L limited the appeal of this model at the time with just 13 produced.

Type 35B

The final version of the Type 35 series was the Type 35B of 1927. Originally named Type 35TC, it shared the 2.3 L engine of the Type 35T but added a large supercharger like the Type 35C. Output was 138 hp (102 kW), and 45 examples were made. A Type 35B won the 1929 French Grand Prix.

Type 37

The Type 35 chassis and body were reused on the Type 37 sports car. Fitted with a new 1.5 L (1496 cc/91 in³) straight-4 engine, 290 Type 37s were built. This engine was an SOHC 3-valve design and produced 60 hp (44 kW). The same engine went on to be used in the Type 40.

The supercharged Type 37A accounted for 67 of the production slots. Engine output was up to 80 to 90 hp (59 to 67 kW). It also had larger shrouded brake drums.

Type 39

The Type 39 was basically identical to the Type 35C except for its engine. This was modified to be smaller at 1.5 L (1493 cc/91 in³) with a shorter-stroked crankshaft. This brought stroke down from 88 mm to 66 mm, and a mix of regular and ball bearings were used. Ten examples were produced.

An odd 1.1 L (1092 cc/66 in³) version was also created by de-boring the engine to 51.3 mm.

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