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Type 101 Antem Coupe
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  Bugatti Type 101 Antem Coupe
 

  Article Image gallery (16) 101504 Specifications  
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Country of origin:France
Produced in:1951
Numbers built:6 (All bodies)
Designed by:Antem
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:September 04, 2015
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Click here to download printer friendly versionTowards the end of World War II, Ettore Bugatti set about creating an all-new and altogether more affordable production model due to be constructed in a purpose-built factory in Levallois near Paris. Known as the Type 73, the four-cylinder engined machine duly debuted at the 1947 Paris Auto Salon. Sadly, all momentum was lost with the death of Ettore Bugatti himself during the same year, and the ambitious project was abandoned altogether.

While the company was restructured, Bugatti's general manager Pierre Marco and Ettore's youngest son from his first marriage, Roland, created the Type 101. Very much a stopgap until a brand new Bugatti was ready, this was effectively a Type 57 with a contemporary body. The mechanicals were only changed where strictly necessary. At the Paris Auto Salon, Bugatti showed two examples of the Type 101, a Coupe and Cabriolet both clothed by longterm partner Gangloff.

Underneath the modern, pontoon fender bodies, the Type 101 was every bit a Type 57, which was introduced nearly two decades earlier. Retained were the basic ladder frame as well as the solid axles on both ends, which were already far from state-of-the-art when Type 57 production ceased in 1940. One of the rare changes compared to the earlier design was the addition of a Weber carburettor as the Strombergs previously used were no longer available. Running on the low grade fuel available, the supercharged straight eight was good for around 140 bhp.

Sticking with the existing underpinnings was ultimately the Type 101's undoing. This was not so much because of the outdated chassis or suspension but more down to the size of the engine. Encouraging people to buy smaller, more frugal cars as the petrol supply was still not completely restored, the French government had dramatically increased taxes on large engines. Firmly established companies like Delahaye and Talbot Lago struggled with these penalties, so it was no surprise that Bugatti could not find customers for the Type 101.

Eventually, only seven chassis were produced, including the two prototypes. Each was fitted with a different style body and one was not clothed until the early 1960s when it was fitted with a particularly striking body designed by Virgil Exner. All seven still exist, three of which are on permanent display in the Musée National de l'Automobile in Mulhouse. One more attempt was made to revive Bugatti but this did not result in much more than a handful of prototypes and two unsuccessful Grand Prix racers.

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  Article Image gallery (16) 101504 Specifications