This 1925 Bugatti Brescia was found in a state of profound neglect in a garage, and was auctioned off for almost a million dollars. It’s a beautiful work of art. It doesn’t run, but still…that would be a fine vehicle for a Sunday drive, once it’s restored.


But it’s the wrong model! Way, way back in high school, I was really into technical drafting, and I ran across this one legendary Bugatti, and I made it the subject of my class project: drawing scale 3-views, engine diagrams, isometric projections, all that kind of stuff, for a portfolio which, sadly, I no longer have. It’s been a while.

But for a while there, I was in nerd love with the Bugatti Model 100.


Isn’t that gorgeous? It’s a pre-WWII racing plane that got shelved by the war and never flew. There’s a project in the works to reconstruct one, but as far as I know, it hasn’t got off the ground yet.

Anyway, check your garages. If you’ve got a Bugatti 100 moldering in there, let me know, and I’ll take it off your hands. I don’t have a million dollars, but I might be able to (checks bank account, pats pockets, looks under sofa cushions) cough up a few hundred dollars, easy.

Wait, part of that will have to go to learning how to fly. So some money, anyway.


  1. getkind says

    The new owner might choose not to restore it. That’s a thing these days – keep it as you found it, without discarding the least flake of rust, because that rust contains molecules intrinsic to the original build. Patina, they call it.

    I suppose they might go as far as to eject any wildlife that has inhabited the thing, rather than bring in a supply of food and water to maintain the family.

    [by the way, I’ve never understood the difference between the options labeled Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting and Notify me of follow-up comments by email.

  2. Trebuchet says

    That may be the prettiest airplane I’ve ever seen. I hope the replica flies as good as it looks. Or at least flies at all.

  3. anthrosciguy says

    I remember, vaguely, a column by one of the 60/70s Car and Driver writers about Bugatti. The gist was that the real heroes of the Bugatti mystique wasn’t Bugatti, but his poor beleaguered machinists, who transformed his “sure is easier to draw it” designs into metal. :)

    That said, the Type 35 with machined wheels is one of the nicest race cars ever done.

  4. Menyambal - torched by an angel says

    PZ, thanks for the introduction to an amazing airplane. That is my new wallpaper.

  5. says

    There’s a post on Facebook (look for Bugatti 100p project) of her doing high speed taxi runs. Should be ready to fly pretty soon. She’s being built in Tulsa. OH BABY that is a beautiful airplane. She might even replace the DeHavilland Mosquito in my heart of hearts.

  6. says

    Re the transmission- not too weird. Google Tupolev Tu-95 or Avro Shackleton. There’s only one engine, and the contrarotating propellers is to keep the diameter down for (take your pick) landing gear clearance or subsonic blade tip speeds. The USAF had a giant turboprop transport in the 50s and 60s with really huge 3-blade propellers. The noise from the tips was so bad it caused sonic fatigue on the fuselage skins (Douglas C-133).

  7. aziraphale says

    The Model 100 is beautiful, except for those silly propeller blades on the front. What’s with that? It just messes up the airflow. I’m sure if Bugatti were designing it now he would have a discreet jet engine buried in the body.

  8. wondering says

    Required Canadian contribution to any conversations about fabulous aircraft prototypes that get shelved for some reason or another: Avro Arrow.

  9. illdoittomorrow says

    I’m late to the party, as always, but…

    Re: aircraft with piston engine buried in the centre of the fuselage, but with tractor propeller: I’m surprised no-one’s mentioned the Bell P-39 Airacobra yet. Also, in addition to bringing prop tip speed down, contra-rotating props were used at the very end of piston aircraft engine development to counteract the insane torque some of those firebreathers made.

    IIRC V-tail airplanes have a unique issue in that any control input will affect pitch and yaw at the same time (since each surface serves as rudder and elevator), versus a conventional tail where pitch and yaw can be controlled separately. As a result (from what I’ve read), the tailplane can begin to oscillate vertically. If that were to happen in a craft with this layout- centre of gravity and lift behind the pilot- the ride could get jiggly.

    Or I could be wrong, since I’m not an aeronautical engineer, and don’t even play one on TV ;)