Nobody buys a Bugatti to be practical; they buy one because it’s dangerously fast and an infallible design classic.
The design is so innovative that the founder of the company, Ettore Bugatti, not only designed some of the most beautiful cars of all time but also had a knack for airplanes.
In the 1930s, the famous designer created the 100P, an airplane designed to participate in the Deutsch de la Merthe Cup, which was a kind of aeronautical speedway race around Paris.
This might seem a little ridiculous, but 1930’s society also considered Charlie Chaplin’s mustache fashionable. So there’s that.
However, the airplane design placed two 4.9-liter, 450-horsepower straight-eight engines in the airplane, which, when running together, were good for 900 hp. Bugatti figured 900 horses would allow the plane to reach 500 mph, according to Top Gear. And, I would say, his math is pretty good.
The exterior of the plane looks like something out of the Star Fox franchise with its counter rotating props, V-shaped tail, forward pitched wings and zero-drag cooling system.
Unfortunately, World War II thwarted Bugatti’s plans for the airplane and he was forced to hide the designs from the German war machine. Sadly, the plane was never built.
That is, until now.
In 2009, California residents John Lawson and Simon Birney decided they would build an exact replica of the plane, incorporating five patents taken out for the original version. Having recently finished the project, the plane is being made ready to begin its maiden voyage on March 25th in Oxnard, California.
Even though antique high-speed aircraft are not exactly my strong point, I think I’ve seen enough planes to call this one pretty darn rad. Not only is the 100P rad, it’s also a nod to the future, which is now … try to wrap your mind around that.
(Photo credit: Bugatti Aircraft Association)