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Bugatti Type 53

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The 5.0 L (4972 cc/303 in³) engine from the Bugatti Type 50 road car was fitted to the chassis of the Type 51 racer to create the 1931 Type 53. This model was historically significant in that it used four wheel drive. The Type 53 was one of the first racing cars to attempt to drive all four wheels, though Ettore Bugatti himself had designed multi-engine all wheel drive vehicles early in his career. It was originally conceived by Giulio Cappa, who created a front wheel drive Grand Prix car in 1926. Cappa's associate, Antonio Pichetto, handled the development of the car while working at Bugatti.

The Type 53 is said to have not used universal joints, and steering difficulty was legendary. Jean Bugatti even crashed a Type 53 at Shelsley Walsh in June, 1932. Modern tests, however, have shown the car to be quite tractable at speed, and Bugatti's drawings for the Type 53 do show "Tracta" u-joints fitted in front.

The Type 53 was an adept hill-climber. Louis Chiron broke the records at La Turbie and Mont Ventoux in 1932. René Dreyfus reclaimed the La Turbie record from Count Carlo Felcie Trossi in a Type 53 in 1934.

Output was over 300 hp (223 kW). Just three left the factory.

See also


Prototypes Racing Cars Road Cars