1938 Bugatti Type59, T50B; Today’s Bugatti Veyron Had Some Not So Humble Roots

The Bugatti Veyron of today came from roots that go back all the way to 1909. Founder Ettore Bugatti was born in Milan, Italy and he founded his automobile company in Molsheim located in the Alsace. The company quickly became known for artistic highly engineered cars ranging from road cars to Grand Prix racers.
Bugatti Emblem
Moving forward to 1937, Bugatti had great success with the type T57′ models cars in Grand Prix racing. The 1938 Type 59 T50B was a road sports car offered huge horsepower in a tiny chassis.

1938 Bugatti Type59 T50B1938 Bugatti Type59 T50B

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Bugatti became known for handcrafted engines, with tolerances so tight, that often gaskets were not even needed between parts. Many of the exposed surfaces of the engine compartment featured Guilloché (engine turned) finishes on them, and safety wires threaded through almost every fastener in intricately laced patterns.

1938 Bugatti Type59 T50B1938 Bugatti Type59 T50B

The Type 50B racing engine was based on the type 50 5.0L sport touring engine that made 225HP. In the T50B the engine was supercharged and now produced a whopping 470HP! The supercharged T50B engine was produced between 1937 and 1939. A pair of these engines were installed in the Bugatti P100 airplane, with specially cast magnesium crankcases.

Variations of the T50B engine such as a 4.5 L version were used in Grand Prix racing with near championship results in 1937 by race driver Jean-Pierre Wimille in the T57G and T59S versions of the car.

1938 Bugatti Type59 T50B1938 Bugatti Type59 T50B

Styling of the Type59 T50B sports car was all business, open wheel open top convertible design. The body was streamlined with a huge hood sloping off sharply after the passenger cabin. The car sat on a approximately 122 inch wheelbase giving the car nimble road feel. Seating for two was snug to say the least.

1938 Bugatti Type59 T50B1938 Bugatti Type59 T50B

None of these cars have gone up for auction thus far, but judging by other Bugatti pricing of the same era cars, a car such as the Type59 should sell could range between $500,000 to $1,200,000 US Dollars.

1938 Bugatti Type59 T50B1938 Bugatti Type59 T50B

I know I wont ever own an auto such as this or a modern Veyron for that matter, but is fun to drool and dream about having one of these cars. Maybe a lottery someday will come my way and I’ll have the means. Anyway, happy hunting as always! :)

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