Bugatti Model 100

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Bugatti Model 100
Bugatti Model 100 on display
Role Unlimited Racer
National origin France
Manufacturer Bugatti
Designer Louis de Monge
Status On Display
Produced 1939
Number built 1

The Bugatti Model 100 was a purpose built air racer designed to compete in the 1939 Deutsch de la Meurthe Cup Race. The aircraft was not completed by the September 1939 deadline and was put in storage prior to the German invasion of France.


Ettore Bugatti started work in 1938 to design a racer to compete in the Deutsch de la Meurthe Cup Race, using engines sold in his automotive line for co-marketing. His chief engineer was Louis de Monge, whom Bugatti was partnered with before. Bugatti was also approached by the French Government to use the technology of the racing aircraft to develop a fighter variant for mass production. The aircraft was the source of five modern patents including the inline engines, V tail mixer controls, and the automatic flap system.[1]


The Model 100 had an unusual inboard mounted twin engine arrangement driving forward mounted twin counter rotating propellers through driveshafts. The aircraft also featured a 120 degree V-tail arrangement and retractable landing gear. The construction was mostly of wood, with sandwiched layers of balsa and hardwoods, including tulipwood stringers covered with doped fabric.

Operational history[edit]

The aircraft remained in storage throughout World War II. The aircraft was sold several times, and its twin Bugatti 50P engines were removed for automotive restorations. In 1971 a restoration effort was started. The aircraft was stored by the National Museum of the United States Air Force, then transferred to the EAA Airventure Museum collection where restoration was completed, and the aircraft remains on static display.[2]

Reproduction build[edit]

Bugatti 100P replication progress in 2011

A full scale flying reproduction is under construction by a team of enthusiasts, most notably Scotty Wilson and John Lawson.[3] The partially completed aircraft was displayed at the 2011 EAA Airventure airshow.[4] The Bugatti 100P reproduction aircraft has been built to standards similar to that of the original including the canopy extending down to the nose of the aircraft showing the gearbox. The gearbox in the reproduction aircraft was reverse engineered and constructed by John Lawson of Lawson Modelmakers Ltd who has also offered to produce models of the aircraft to be distributed to supporters and sponsors as a form of fund raising[5]

Scotty Wilson and John Lawson have a website and a Facebook page where updates are posted almost daily, including progress on the aircraft and its components, discussion about the aircraft and its history, prototype models and a variety of other bits of information.

Philip West has made several sketches which will later be turned into limited edition paintings which again will help fund the project.

Philip West sketching the Bugatti 100p using a model donated by Lawson Modelmakers Ltd (

The aircraft was due to fly in late 2012 but, due to complications, it now expected to fly mid-2014. As of March, 2014, the aircraft is on display in the Mullin Automotive Museum (Oxnard CA) as part of a new Bugatti exhibit. [dated info]

Notable appearances in media[edit]


The Bugatti Model 110P was a proposed militarized pursuit version of the model 100 racer. It never materialised.

Specifications (Bugatti Model 100)[edit]

Data from EAA

General characteristics

  • Capacity: 1
  • Length: 7.75 m (25 ft 5 in)
  • Wingspan: 8 m (27 ft)
  • Height: 2.24 m (7 ft 4 in)
  • Wing area: 20.6 m2 (222 sq ft)
  • Empty weight: 1,400 kg (3,086 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Bugatti Type 50P Straight 8 4.9l, 340 kW (450 hp) each
  • Propellers: 2-bladed Ratier


  • Maximum speed: 885 km/h; 478 kn (550 mph)
  • Wing loading: 68 kg/m2 (13.9 lb/sq ft)


  1. ^ "Resurrecting the Bugatti Racer". Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  2. ^ "Bugatti Model 100". Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  3. ^ "Update: Bugatti 100p Team". Retrieved 8 February 2013. 
  4. ^ "Bugatti 100P Project". Retrieved 25 June 2011. 
  5. ^ "Lawson Modelmakers and the Bugatti 100P Project". Retrieved 8 February 2013. 

External links[edit]