The twilight years 1943 - 1963

by John Barton

During the first 20 years of the Bugatti Company, up to 1939, Ettore Bugatti and later his son Jean designed, built and sold nearly 8,000 cars.

In the final twenty of the company’s existence, ending in 1963, Ettore Bugatti (who died in 1947) and later his son Roland, assembled and sold just seven cars. And these from parts stored during the War that were from designs nearly twenty years old. During this later period, nine different 1500cc engines were designed and built and almost all tested; none was sold to the public and consequently earned nothing for their creators. How was this possible?

What was going on at Molsheim, and why?


Those who know John, are aware that he has a special interest in post-war Bugattis. One of very few with hands-on experience, restoring Types 73 and 102, and building replica's of the types 251 and 252

These types (and the T253) are logically the main interest of the book, John had first-hand contact with several people who worked with Bugatti in these post-war years, and also had access to a lot of new and unknown information. History, technical details and many drawings. Did you know that Bugatti developed a preselector gearbox for the Type 73? It even includes a hydraulic torque converter, thus resembling very much the Daimler Fluid Flywheel transmission in the way it functions.
John acquired loads of wooden casting patterns, especially for the post-war types. Quite a few of these are shown in this book.

On the lesser known types, like the T125 and T451, there's only limited info in John's book, but still, there's sufficient new info for any Bugatti afficionado!

The lay-out is quite straigh-forward and clear, quite good actually. What I particularly like are the reproduced articles. Of these the original is shown (in the original French or Italian language), and besides it the English translation, where the translated text has become the article. Very nicely done!

Finally, there is a surprise about the last cars which Bugatti built, as late as the early 60's! To learn more about it, you'd have to buy the book!

And, as an answer to the questions asked in the introduction: The main reason was that the French government decided that only a few car-manufacturers should have access to materials, in a (rather successful) attempt to get the French on the road again soon. There was no room for luxury automobiles in these plans. Therefore, all of the luxury car manufacturers disappeared, or went on making different things than automobiles...


For more info, and ordering the book

The book has 337 pages, loads of images and is 30 x 25 cm
Language: English
Price: £240.00

Vive La Marque !!

Back to the Bugatti Page