Bugatti only built three Type 57G Tanks in the 1930s, all based on the 57S, and this isn’t one of them. Yet it’s a real one, finished last November after two years of very hard work leading to a race at Goodwood. How’d they manage that?
Of the three original low-drag racing cars, only serial number 01, winner of the 1937 Le Mans 24, survived the last eight decades, currently residing at the Simeone Foundation Auto Museum in Philadelphia.
It’s also far from being in a race-ready condition.
Something clearly had to be done since this fantastic machine was born to go flat out instead of gathering dust. That’s when well-known Bugatti restoration expert Stephen Gentry stepped into the picture.
With his team set up, it was time for some serious research before they could start dreaming of doing anything like Jean-Pierre Wimille did at the 1936 French Grand Prix, who won with his 57G.
They managed to acquire an original Type 57 chassis, both axles, and the gearbox, and since you only need three of the five main parts to qualify for the Bugatti badge, things were looking good.
Recreating the inline-eight however happened to be a massive challenge though as all they had was the original Bugatti C3 carburetor.
After buying the castings, the 3.3 was built up entirely from scratch. I believe you would agree when I say the end result is staggeringly beautiful.
With the Type 57G getting ready last November, all they had to do was find a place where it could show what it’s made of under that fake patina.
Here’s what Stephen Gentry said about the Goodwood experience:
The first time the car ever saw a racing circuit was at the Goodwood test last week, and what a place to show it off. The only downside was that hardly anybody paid any attention to the 35B we brought along as well!
It has loads of power! The brakes felt good too, but it was very light at the rear, although we think we know how to remedy that in time for the meeting. To be honest a Type 35B is more suited to Goodwood, but I’ll go for it and will compete as hard as I dare.
Well, you can be the judge of that watching the biggest Bugatti race the world has ever seen:
Photo credit: Máté Petrány and Wikimedia Commons, Source: Goodwood