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  Bugatti Type 73C

  Article Image gallery (50) Chassis (3) Specifications  
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Country of origin:France
Produced in:1947
Numbers built:5
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:June 23, 2016
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Click here to download printer friendly versionShortly before his tragic death in 1939, Jean Bugatti hinted at a more modest, four-cylinder Bugatti for both the road and track. Development of what would be the new Type 73 continued during the War even though Bugatti's factory in Molsheim had been destroyed. Ettore Bugatti also created a bespoke automatic gearbox destined for the road going version of the Type 73. Shortly after the War had ended, work was started on the new car in a temporary factory near Paris.

Much of that work focused on the new engine. Unlike previous Bugatti designs, the all-alloy Type 73 'four' featured a detachable head. This was for good reason as the road car would get a single-cam head while the competition, Type 73C engine would boast a twin-cam, 16-valve head. The displacement was set at just under 1,500cc, which made it eligible for Grand Prix racing in supercharged form. The Type 73 chassis, however, was vintage Bugatti with solid axles front and rear.

A few months before the Type 73 broke cover at the 1947 Paris Auto Salon, Ettore Bugatti also passed away. This, along with the difficult economic conditions put the project on the back burner. What Bugatti showed in Paris was a rolling chassis and one each of the single-cam and twin-cam engines. Noted French collector Serge Pozzoli was adamant that one of the competition cars was actually completed to full running order, which had prompted him to order one car for himself and a second for a friend. These were never delivered.

Sufficient components had been completed for about five competition cars. These were eventually acquired by, among others, Jean de Dobbeleer in 1960. Three engine blocks were frost damaged but nevertheless over the following years each of the five cars was assembled. These were fitted with single seater bodies. In particular the fifth and final car, owned by Bugatti specialist Tom Dark, is regularly campaigned, in events like the Goodwood Revival.

In addition to the five competition cars, construction of three Type 73 road chassis had also commenced. Of these, one of these was fully assembled and bodied. Fitted with a twin-cam engine, it is on display in the Musée Nationale d'Automobile in Mulhouse, France.

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  Article Image gallery (50) Chassis (3) Specifications