For many years, the Bugatti line had separate vehicles for luxury and sport. In an effort to combine production and be within cost while still producing quality, the two forms were consolidated. The 1938 Bugatti Type 57 Ventoux was primarily designed to be a passenger car, but still maintain the thrill of Bugatti race cars. The concept was to offer the desired quality of the sports car while keeping the benefit of passenger use.
The Type 57 carried a high performance chassis. The engine featured twin overhead camshafts with a displacement of 3.3 liters. It was set with 90 degree incline valves and central spark plugs. The performance offered 35 more horsepower than previous models. The Rudge Witworth wire wheels combined with fifteen inch drum brakes made this car a dream ride of its time. Although it was simplistic in design the Type 57 exuded complicated high quality craftsmanship.
The transmission was linked by way of bell housing to the engine, which was a new concept for this line of vehicle. Prior models had the engine and transmission separated. The type 57 was always being upgraded, especially where braking and suspension were concerned.
The 1938 Bugatti Type 57 Ventoux featured a Dual Throat Updraft Stromberg UUR-2 Carburetor. The bore and stroke were at 72mm / 100mm. The 4-speed manual transmission could produce a top speed of 95mph. The suspension featured a rigid axle with semi-eliptic springs with Hartford Friction shock absorbers in the front, and Live Axle with a reversed quarter elliptic springs.
With the aluminum over steel frame, the 1938 Bugatti Type 57’s 3594 lbs was heavier than other vehicles of this time period. That being said, this machine was a maverick in performance and attraction. In many ways it shaped the modern vehicle of today, and holds a historic place in the automotive revolution.