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Bugatti type 35 35B 35C 35T

Type 35 is the most mythical and most admired Bugatti of Ettore's whole production. It is launched during the French Grand Prix in Lyon on August 3rd, 1924, with 6 cars (5 only were engaged by the Works in that race) arrived by road from Molsheim with a very impressive team support (see the page Grand Prix of Lyon 1924). In spite of their poor results due to badly vulcanised Dunlop tires which do not resist, Types 35 create high sensation with their light alloy rims including the brake drums, and also by the very fine drawing of their two-seater body (Grand Prix regulations of the time made obligatory the presence on board of a mechanic).

It is the beginning of a brilliant career and of a real commercial success because Ettore, faithful to his principles, sell to his sporty (and fortunate ...) customers this real Formula One of the Twenties. Types 35 win more than 1 000 victories in race, of which the title of World Champion in 1926 and the famous Targa Florio race in Sicily five consecutive years, from 1925 to 1929. Even after their production end in 1930, they make the happiness of many amateurs or beginners pilots (like Gordini, Trintignant, Sommer...) and still their victories list widens generally in minor races.

If Type 35ís chassis and body are totally new, the engine itself is narrowly derived from Type 30 one, with however a major innovation : 5 main bearings crankshaft which can be dismantled and one part machined rods, the whole being build on ball or roller bearings. This new unit made it possible to run at more than 6000 rpm which was considerable for the time. Today, a certain number of Type 35 were converted into plain bearings in the aim to facilitate maintenance because the roller bearings must be frequently changed and require a complete disassembling of the engine ! Another technical innovation: the hollow front axle destined to decrease the un-suspended masses, with suspension springs crossing through. This hollow axle is a true technological prowess that proves the know-how of Molsheim's founders.

Type 35 evolves with years in several models :

- Type 35 : the first, that was presented in Lyon in 1924, with its 2 litres engine without supercharger, crankshaft on 5 ball bearings and rods on roller bearings, ignition by magneto Bosch.

- Type 35A : appeared in May 1925 under the factory's name "Race imitation 35A", and called "Tecla" by the public (from the name of a famous mark of imitation jewels), it was a cheap Type 35 for the amateurs. Crankshaft on 3 ball bearings and rods on plain bearings, small valves, coil ignition, this engine was very close to Type 30ís one and profited of a clearly better reliability and maintenance facility. It was delivered with full front axle, wired wheels, T35's alloy wheels being optional.

- Type 35C : it is a Type 35 with the addition of a Roots type supercharger drawn by engineer Moglia that Ettore had engaged, thus derogating from its practice of conceiving all itself. This supercharger increases power and moreover engine smoothness, being more flexible and more usable. For many itís the best of all Types 35.

- Type 35T : in spring 1926, Ettore Bugatti aligns at the start of Targa Florio race several Type 35 whose cubic capacity is increased to 2,3 Litres by modifying the stroke which passes from 88 to 100 mm. This model takes the name of Type 35T, T for Targa. Few numbers will be built because of the cubic capacity limitation to 2 litres in Grand Prix races.

- Type 35B : appeared at the beginning of 1927, it is a Type 35T with the addition of a larger supercharger than Type 35C's one. Officially named Type 35TC, it will finally keep the name under which the Molsheim engineering and design department had given to it : Type 35B. A little more powerful than a Type 35C, but the longer stroke is a handicap to high revolutions. In spite of this fact, Type 35B remains as the most desirable for numerous Bugattists !

At least approximately 343 Bugatti Type 35 has been built. Approximately because, faithful to its practices, Ettore Bugatti delivered to its customers the ex-Works cars after a few months or years of use, sometimes with a new chassis number especially if they had been damaged in race. For the collector amateur of authenticity, Type 35 is a true nightmare because most of these racing cars were damaged in race or souped up by generations of pilots and mechanics, taking parts on a one to repair an other and modifying the original characteristics to increase the performances. And Type 37, whose chassis and body were similar, were often used at this time to repair or rebuild Type 35. Quasi-impossible mission, therefore, to find a Type 35 that is 100% original, and even those that are today only to 50 or 70 % original are out of price ...

For the same reasons it is very difficult to give today the number of original surviving samples.

Technical Specification

T 35

T 35A

T 35C

T 35B

T 35T

year(s) of production

1924 - 1930

chassis numbers

from 4323 to 4965 (intermixed with late Type 30 numbers)

built sample(s)

near 96

near 139

near 50

near 45

near 13

surviving sample(s)

see text above

           

cylinders number

8 straight line in 2 blind-end cylinder blocks of 4, cast iron

capacity (cm3)

1991 cm3

2262 cm3

bore x stroke (mm)

60 mm X 88 mm

60 mm X 100 mm

power (CV) *

near 90 CH

near 70 CH

near 135 CH

near 140 CH

near 100 CH

valves / cylinder

3 valves by cylinders (2 inlet, 1 outlet)

camshaft(s)

1 overhead, driven by front vertical shaft

carbs

2 Solex carbs

1 Zenith carb

2 Solex carbs

supercharger

no

yes (Roots type)

no

ignition

magneto

single coil

magneto

plug(s) / cylinder

1 plug per cylinder

clutch

wet, multi-plate

gearbox

central, separate, 4 speeds + Reverse, top forward

transmission

by shaft to rear wheels

rear axle ratio

normal ratio : 15 X 54 (3.6) - 14 X 54 (3.86) - 13 X 54 (4.15)

brakes

drums, diameter 270 mm, later 330 mm, 4 wheels cable-operated

wheels

cast alloy

wired

cast alloy

wheelbase (m)

2.40 m

track (m)

1.20 m

weight

between 700 and 750 kg according to model and equipment (Grand Prix body)

top speed **

165 km/h

150 km/h

190 km/h

+ 190 km/h

170 km/h

       * estimated power with standard petrol - gas (a T35C on methanol can give 200 CV !)
     ** estimated top speed depending of axle ratio and car equipment