1912 Bugatti 5-Liter Cars & Racing | 12 February 2018 Share article facebook twitter google pinterest In the early days of auto making, more powerful cars usually meant considerably more weight. From his base in Molsheim, France, Ettore Bugatti set out to make a trimmed-down performance car to stop the trend. To prove his point, the car was let loose on the race track where it fulfilled its destiny as a winner. The history of an extremely rare 1912 Bugatti 5-Liter that still exists today is profiled in the beautifully illustrated book Million Dollar Classics: The World’s Most Expensive Dream Cars. 1912 Bugatti 5-Liter When Ettore Bugatti resigned from the Deutz company in Cologne in 1910 to set up his own works in Molsheim, he made clear in an open letter to his prospective customers that he intended to build a completely new type of vehicle. “Considering the enormous expense given rise to, until now, by fast and powerful cars,” he wrote, “I have decided to create a new breed of light car, able to render the same services, enjoying the same qualities, the same freedom, but freed forever from that great source of expense: weight.” Sure enough, Bugatti’s early Type 10 cars weighed in at just 769lb (349kg) and were joined on the fledgling production line by revised and improved models including the Type 13 and Type 15 (one example of which originally sold to Prince Hohenloe of Austria-Hungary in 1910, is the world’s oldest surviving Bugatti today). That year also marked what was probably the first competition entry of a Bugatti when M. Darritchon competed in the Gaillon Hill Climb in Normandy in a standard Type 13, coming second in the touring car class. Soon Bugattis were appearing at other hill climb events and even in the French Grand Prix of 1911, where Ernest Friderich won his class. Spurred on by these early successes, Bugatti developed a car specifically for racing. Four examples of this Type 18 were completed between 1912 and 1914, each fitted with a larger 5-liter engine with three valves per cylinder. Unusually these cars were chain-driven, the only Bugatti-badged cars to feature this drive method, though the Type 8 Deutz that Ettore had designed was also chain-driven. The multi-plate clutch was also very similar to a design Bugatti had created for Deutz, though a different rear suspension set-up was chosen, with Deutz’s semi-elliptic springs being discarded in favor of reversed quarter elliptic springs. The first of these four competition cars was driven by Bugatti himself at the 1912 Mont Ventoux Hill Climb near Avignon. The basic two-seater body was fitted with an elongated, tapering tail that may have helped in terms of aerodynamics but which provided no luggage space—so when Bugatti drove the car from Molsheim to the event, he had to strap a leather case to the front of the car. Bugatti was fourth fastest at Mont Ventoux, winning his class in a time of 19 minutes, 16.4 seconds for the 13.25-mile (21.3km) ascent. Only a handful of Type 18 cars were built. This example, as driven by Bugatti himself, was estimated at between €1,800,000 and €2,400,000 ($2,234,205 – $2,978,525) when it came up for auction in 2009 but remained unsold. Buy From an Online Retailer The allure of beautiful and rare cars is timeless. Since the dawn of the automotive age, people have aspired to own and drive the fastest, the coolest, and the most expensive cars on the road. Million Dollar Classics: The World’s Most Expensive Cars is a lavish photographic collection of some of the most sought after models that have been made available for auction in recent years. All of the cars featured in this elegant book attained auction prices upward of $1,000,000, making them the most desired cars in the world; as well as the most expensive. Captured on camera by specialist automobile photographer Simon Clay, the stunning images in this book are accompanied by an informative text that gives the reader the specs, history and other fascinating details of these dream vehicles. This book is perfect for any automobile lover, or collector and includes vehicles created by Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.