Strength and exceptional performance gave Bugatti victory in almost all competitions taking place in the 1920s and the spectators loved it.
Every time one of the French machines took to the track in the 1920s, namely the Type 13 and later the Type 35 there was an insatiable appetite for success. Strong and light, the Bugatti heroes were superior to their competitors – and therefore mostly unbeatable – especially on the hard road and mountain races with their tight bends, bad surface, potholes, sand and whirling stones.
As early as 1911, the Type 13 finished second at the France Grand Prix. The combination of a light and agile body with a strong and reliable engine was new at the time. After World War I, Bugatti was only able to resume production in 1919. First with the well-known Type 13, but clearly much more refined, since Bugatti used the production-free period to continue improving the technology.
Stephan Winkelmann, President of Bugatti:
“Bugatti has always produced exceptional and excellent sports and road vehicles. In our history of over 110 years, we have proven more than once that our vehicles are quite successful on circuits, but also on roads and mountain races. Our DNA includes perfect coordination with every road surface.
“It has always been our aim to build the best, high-quality-performing, fastest and most luxurious vehicles in the world, even away from race tracks. This has been our guiding principle for the last 110 years.”
The Type 13 won races on Lake Garda, mountain races on Mont Angel near Monte Carlo, South Harting, Limonest near Lyon and La Turbie near Nice. Bugatti successfully modified the general concept of the Type 13 with different body lengths of the vehicle, calling the resulting variations Type 15, Type 17, Type 22 and Type 23. The use in Brescia is still famous to this day: in 1921 the Type 13 took the first four places at the Grand Prix of the Voiturettes and cemented its unbeatable status. Its surname is therefore to this day: Brescia. All subsequent four-valve vehicles now bear this name.
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Bugatti Type 35
It was from 1924 onwards that the Bugatti Type 35 caused a worldwide sensation. With the newly designed sports car, the powerful eight-cylinder engine, the sophisticated front axle and the light aluminium wheels, Bugatti was to dominate race tracks worldwide in the coming years. No matter whether on circuits or road races: the Bugatti Type 35 is considered a technical masterpiece, nearly impossible to be beaten.
The Type 35 entered the Targa Florio race in Sicily for the first time in 1925 and immediately scored a victory. Four more times models of the Type 35 arise as winners in this long-distance race on public mountain roads. It was the toughest and most notorious street race in the world. Overall, the Type 35 won around 2,000 races by the early 1930s, making it the most successful racing car ever. Ettore Bugatti, therefore, called his creation the “forefather of a breed of thoroughbred racing horses from Molsheim – a real thoroughbred.”
Stephan Winkelmann went on:
“It is not just the high performance that has always characterized Bugatti vehicles, but also the high reliability, durability and ease of driving. Not only experienced racing drivers immediately feel comfortable in a Bugatti, but also ambitious sports drivers. The simplification of exceptional technology, paired with luxury and ease of use still characterizes us today.”
The DNA of both Type 13 and Type 35 has survived to this day and will continue to do so in current and upcoming models by the French luxury brand.