Bugatti Type 55
1932 to 1935
The Bugatti Type 55 was a road-going version of the Type 54 Grand Prix car.
Bugatti progressed with the Brescia Type 22 model from strength to strength during the twenties, their classical cars excelling in everything from Grand Prix competition through endurance sports-car and touring-car racing to outright production road use. In the Type 55 model Ettore Bugatti produced one of the finest sports cars in history.
This model was powered by a variant of the Type 51, 2.3-litre engine with supercharging and twin over head camshafts; this was a Grand Prix racing engine, installed slightly de-tuned in a type 54 Grand Prix racing chassis.
As a racing project the Formule Libre Type 54 had been shelved after proving itself good for 140mph or more but it suffered from poor
weight distribution and the deleterious effects on handling and roadholding
behaviour.The 4-9-litre engines earmarked for the type 54s the had been diverted to the type 50T touring models, whereupon the type 55 being to absorb into the chassis design, with the smaller and lighter 'two-three' straight eight engine installed.
Topped by beautifully profiled flaring wing body the Type 55 Bugatti made a glorious roadster with all the scintillating improved road manners one might expect from such direct Grand Prix parentage.
In first gear the model could top 50 mph, in second it was good for 75 mph, it could clip 100 mph in third and achieved as much as 115 mph in top gear—in absolutely standard tune. It accelerated from 0—60 mph in around 11 seconds.A roadster, it had a short 108.3 in (2750 mm) wheelbase and light 1800 lb (816 kg) weight.Power came from the Type 51's 2.3 L (2262 cc/138 in³) straight-8 engine. This 2-valve DOHC unit produced 130 hp (96 kW) and could rev to 5000 rpm.
A Roots-type supercharger was used.The car's 4-speed manual transmission came from the Type 49 touring car. 38 examples were produced from 1932 through 1935 and they produced a racing version later on.