June 03, 2009

Bugatti Type 46 and Type 50

A little history

The Type 46 and its variant the Type 50 were the largest Bugattis ever made, apart for the gigantic Type 41 “Royale” obviously.

Launched in 1929, the T46 was a heavy car – most models, depending on the body fitted, weighed around a ton and a half – powered by a large 5.4-litre straight eight with a single overhead camshaft. A 140 bhp output was probably too little to propel the hefty coupes and saloons built on the T46’s chassis, so Bugatti introduced a more potent version, the T46S, one year later. Despite a Roots compressor, the engine could still do no better than 160 bhp.

In order to provide the car with the performances Bugatti customers were expecting, the Molsheim company launched the T50 in 1931. Though its engine was smaller – at 5.0-litre still – a squarer bore/stroke ratio, a double overhead camshaft and a standard compressor enabled it to boast a then impressive 225 bhp. Performances were predictably good, but this came with a price – quite literally, as many Bugatti customers couldn’t afford the towering price tag. Only about 65 were ever built until the model retired, along with its “smaller” sister the T46, to be both replaced by the more reasonable T57.

About the model

Model: Bugatti T50 Profilée
Year: 1932
Maker: Ixo
Scale: 1/43
Distributed by: Altaya as no.35 of its Voitures Classiques press series
Acquired: brand new, in April 2007, in Souillac, France

Altaya chose to have Ixo reproduce the famous “Profilée” coupe, with its rakish windshield. If I’m not mistaking it was one of Jean Bugatti’s earliest designs, and quite a promising one, though the body was more elegant than truly aerodynamic as it was intended to be. The wings, moulded out of plastic, feel a little light, but the rest of the car is quite nicely reproduced, deserving a 14/20.





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