More On The Bugatti “Chop Top” Car

A few weeks ago I posted a story in which I speculated that some of the Bugatti coupes could have been the original inspiration for many of the “chop top” hot rods that are the now standard fare of American hot rodding.  In that post I presented a photo of a Bugatti coupe that I took this spring at the Schlumpf collection museum in Mullhouse, France.  At that time I wrote that I did not know which Bugatti model was in the photo.  I have since done some further research on this car and I have determined that it is a Bugatti Type 55.

Bugatti Type 55 Coupe

In my own defense, many of the Bugatti cars had one-off or custom bodies, which often makes specific model identification somewhat difficult.

The Bugatti Type 55 was a road-going version of the Type 51 Grand Prix car.  The Bugatti Type 51 series succeeded the famous and very successful Bugatti Type 35 as Bugatti’s premier racing car for the 1930s.  Unlike the dominant Bugatti Type 35s of the 1920s, the Bugatti Type 51 was unable to successfully compete with the Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, and Auto Union race cars of the 1930s.

The Bugatti Type 51 Racer Is Shown On The Right Side of This Photo

The original Bugatti Type 51 appeared in 1931. Its engine was a supercharged 2.3 litre straight 8-cylinder, twin overhead cam engine producing 160 horsepower.

Bugatti Type 51 Engine

For the Bugatti Type 55 road-going cars the Type 51’s supercharged 2.3 litre straight-8 engine with the twin overhead camshaft engine was detuned somewhat to produce 130 horsepower at 5000 rpm. The Bugatti Type 55 had a 4-speed manual transmission.  During the period from 1932 to 1935, Bugatti built 38 Type 55 cars.  Some of these cars were roadsters and some were coupes, as I have shown above.  The cars were built on a short 108.3 inch wheelbase with the roadsters weighing about 1800 pounds.  These cars had lively performance especially for the 1930s era.

If you have any comments on this post or the Bugatti cars, then please leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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