Page 1 of 2 Next >> With the Type 35 and its derivatives, Bugatti had swept all before in Grand Prix racing but the 24 Hours of Le Mans remained unfinished business for the French marque by the mid 1930s. Previous attempts had been marred with misfortune. The final works effort, in 1931, was cut short when a tyre failed on one of the cars, prompting Bugatti to withdraw all team cars. Following some tentative efforts with production-based Type 57 sports cars, Ettore and particularly his son Jean Bugatti prepared an altogether more serious effort for the 1936 season.
The Type 57 once again formed the basis for the new competition car. To be more specific; the recently introduced surbaissée (lowered) or S version of the versatile Type 57. The chassis design followed very familiar lines with a solid axle and semi-elliptic leaf springs at the front and a live axle with quarter-elliptic leaf springs at the back. Part and parcel of Bugatti design for well over a decade, the four-wheel drum brakes were cable operated. As on the Type 59 Grand Prix car, the new Type 57 G racer featured drums that were an integral part of the wire wheels.
Although a supercharger was available on the production car, Bugatti opted to fit the racer with a naturally aspirated version of the twin-cam, 3.3 litre straight-eight engine. As on the road going Type 57 S, a dry-sump was fitted to provide enough clearance with the lowered chassis. What really set the Type 57 G apart and earned it the nickname 'Tank' was the all-enveloping, streamlined body penned by Jean Bugatti. To ensure the car was still instantly recognisable as a Bugatti, the opening in the radiator cowling was still horseshoe-shaped. Sticking out on either side of the rear body were jack stands for quick tyre changes. Page 1 of 2 Next >>