The Bugatti 100P was a purpose built aircraft designed to set world speed records, but in more than 70 years since its conception it has never flown -- now, a project based in Tulsa Oklahoma, aims to change that, this year. Enthusiast Scotty Wilson is the self-described "guy at the pointy end of the Bugatti 100P project," and he spoke with AVweb Thursday.
Wilson has invested his time, money, sweat, and nearly all other available resources into creating a faithful reproduction of the aircraft. And he's found help along the way. The result is a now nearly complete aircraft that Wilson says is "externally, dimensionally, and aerodynamically accurate to within a few millimeters" of the original. The airframe is complete, engine installation is coming soon, and first flight, Wilson hopes, will come by year-end. Then the aircraft will set out on tour ... but maybe not in the U.S..
Around 1938 Bugatti set up a design office in the rue de Debarcadere in Paris. It was at this office that Bugatti gathered their best designers and engineers in an effort to build a high speed fighter. The inverted Y-tail and forward swept wings created a look that can only be described as sexy. And for power? Two legendary Bugatti 50B motors were mounted back-to-back in the fuselage and provided a combined 800 hp.
Of course, by 1940 France was surrendering to Germany. The Bugatti wasn’t quite finished yet, but the engineers managed to hide the plane for the full duration of the German occupancy. After the war, Bugatti failed to get significant financial support for the project and went back to doing what they do best – cars.
In the 1950′s or 60′s, the completed plane was shipped to the states by a gentleman interested in the 50B motors for his grand prix endeavor. After being stripped of the power plants, the old bird was left to lay outside the man’s Illinois based shop. Eventually, the plane was rescued by a Dr. Peter Williamson who also underwrote the restoration and donated the result to the EAA in Oshkosh.
Source: Ryan Cochran,Glenn Pew, AVweb, Photo: Hugh Conway Jr.
Gravity always wins!