When racing in a straight line, the key attributes you want are a long wheelbase and huge power.
But when racing up tight mountain roads, with switchbacks every few hundred metres, you want the shortest wheelbase possible. Still with the huge power, but in a nimbler and pointer package.
Bugatti has always chased the extremes of performance, and this Type 23 is no different. Chopped short like a Sport Quattro — this Type 23 is hilarious at first.
We can see in these extremely rare archive photos a T11 racer and an the enclosed-shell Bugatti T32 ‘Tank’ sharing this same ethos. In fact, the Type 35 is this same fundamental shape but lower and with a streamlined rear tail.
Or how about the bullet-racer from 1922!?
The purity of function for this design shows great promise. It houses the largest-possible engine in the smallest dimensions possible.
A rally car for the ages, this 1920 Bugatti was a no-sale at RM Auctions London 2014 after a high bid of about $400,000 was not enough to clear the car’s reserve.
1920 Bugatti Type 23
RM AUCTIONS London
8 September 2014
1920 Bugatti Type 23
To be auctioned on Monday, September 8, 2014
High Bid of £275,000
- Chassis no. 981
- Engine no. 538
50 bhp, 1,453 cc SOHC 16-valve inline four-cylinder engine with a single Zenith updraft carburettor, four-speed manual transmission, solid front axle with semi-elliptic leaf-spring suspension, solid rear axle with quarter-elliptic leaf-spring suspension, and rear-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 2,000 mm
- A fascinating and exciting early Bugatti
- Well-documented provenance
- Original matching-numbers drivetrain
- Mechanical restoration by Phil Reilly & Company
- Veteran tour and rally participant
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.