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Bugatti Type 57 'Tank'


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#1 cpbell

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 17:37

Apologies if the history of the type 57 Tanks as entered in the French GP of 1936 and the '37 and '39 24 Heures du Mans has already been covered - I searched the forum and found only passing mentions.

Recently, a back-ordered model of the 1939 Le Mans-winning "Tank" finally arrived, which set me off on a hunt for as much information as my limited book collection plus the internet could yield. I won't run through all the sources used and differing information found, suffice it to say that a few questions and queries emerged:

1. From photos, it appears that the body changed significantly between '37 and '39, including a longer tail, increased wheelbase/cockpit moved further forward, and a lower radiator grille position with what looks like a third headlight behind the grille:

Le Mans '37
Posted Image

Le Mans '39
Posted Image (sadly I cannot find a period front view for the car in '39 spec, however the following photo shows the model
Posted Image

2. Sources differ on the nomenclature of the Tank - some say the '36-'37 car was designated Type 57G, whilst the '39 car was the 57S, whilst the Bugatti Trust site refers to both as type 57G.

3. "The World's Great Motor Competitions: Le Mans" suggests that the '39 cars were supercharged as if the previous version wasn't; the author refers to top speed on the Mulsanne (ligne droite des Hunaudières) as 150mph, which seems optimistic to me. In contrast, the Bugatti Trust site shows that the car was supercharged from the off.

Can anyone shed any light on these contradictions, please?

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#2 Tim Murray

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 18:39

According to my sources (mainly the written works of Hugh Conway) the 'tanks' raced in 1936/7 were based on the 57S (shorter wheelbase) chassis. These cars were unsupercharged (supercharging was banned in the 1936 French GP). The 1939 'tank' was a one-off new car based on a 57C chassis, hence the increased wheelbase. This car used the supercharged 57C engine. For this car Jean Bugatti claimed 200 bhp and a speed of 142 mph at 5,000 rpm on the Mulsanne straight, based on the gearing used. The factory designation for all these cars was 57G.

#3 cpbell

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 18:46

According to my sources (mainly the written works of Hugh Conway) the 'tanks' raced in 1936/7 were based on the 57S (shorter wheelbase) chassis. These cars were unsupercharged (supercharging was banned in the 1936 French GP). The 1939 'tank' was a one-off new car based on a 57C chassis, hence the increased wheelbase. This car used the supercharged 57C engine. For this car Jean Bugatti claimed 200 bhp and a speed of 142 mph at 5,000 rpm on the Mulsanne straight, based on the gearing used. The factory designation for all these cars was 57G.


Ah! So the '39 car was entirely new and the only real 57G, whilst the '36-'37 cars were 57S. That makes sense, as does the 142 mph top speed at 5,000 rpm. I always understood the earlier "Tank" to be unblown and therefore somewhat less potent. Unfortunately my only 2 Conway books are an old coffee-table volume in the "Great Marques" series and his "Grand Prix Bugatti which obviously makes no real mention of the 57 racers, though it does contain quite a lot of detail on the Type 43 in events such as the TT.

#4 JB Miltonian

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 18:46

There's a rather good Salon article on the surviving 1937 Type 57G "Tank", written by Phil Hill, in the July 1987 issue of Road & Track. I might be able to scan a copy for you if you send me a PM with your email address.

#5 cpbell

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 19:41

There's a rather good Salon article on the surviving 1937 Type 57G "Tank", written by Phil Hill, in the July 1987 issue of Road & Track. I might be able to scan a copy for you if you send me a PM with your email address.


PM sent with thanks.

#6 Vitesse2

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 19:42

Barrie Price's book on the 57 has numerous pictures of the various Tanks, including two head-on shots of the winning car from 1939. The front of the model is substantially correct, but it should have a registration plate below the driver's side headlight (1244-W5) and the colour change and bodyshape below the aeroscreen are incorrect - these seem to be copied from the 1937 car: one of the 1937 models was restored by Uwe Hucke and the screen appears to have been modelled on that. As does the tail, although it does have the correct cooling louvres just ahead of the cockpit. The streamlined tail looks to be the same as used in 1936.

As to type numbers, Price calls the three 1936 cars T57G: by implication that applies to the two 1937 versions raced at Le Mans too - all unsupercharged. The 1939 Le Mans car was indeed blown and Price calls this a T57C. However, 57C is the standard designation for any blown T57: C for compresseur.

Note that there are also three other works T57 sports-racing models: the two torpedo-bodied cars built for the 1935 TT, the so-called T57/59 which raced at Comminges in 1939 and the T57S45 which was built in 1937 but was withdrawn after practice at Montlhéry: its only pre-war race was in Luxembourg in 1939. The T57/59 and T57S45 look similar to the Tanks but both have detail differences - and different engines!

#7 cpbell

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 19:53

Barrie Price's book on the 57 has numerous pictures of the various Tanks, including two head-on shots of the winning car from 1939. The front of the model is substantially correct, but it should have a registration plate below the driver's side headlight (1244-W5) and the colour change and bodyshape below the aeroscreen are incorrect - these seem to be copied from the 1937 car: one of the 1937 models was restored by Uwe Hucke and the screen appears to have been modelled on that. As does the tail, although it does have the correct cooling louvres just ahead of the cockpit. The streamlined tail looks to be the same as used in 1936.

As to type numbers, Price calls the three 1936 cars T57G: by implication that applies to the two 1937 versions raced at Le Mans too - all unsupercharged. The 1939 Le Mans car was indeed blown and Price calls this a T57C. However, 57C is the standard designation for any blown T57: C for compresseur.

Note that there are also three other works T57 sports-racing models: the two torpedo-bodied cars built for the 1935 TT, the so-called T57/59 which raced at Comminges in 1939 and the T57S45 which was built in 1937 but was withdrawn after practice at Montlhéry: its only pre-war race was in Luxembourg in 1939. The T57/59 and T57S45 look similar to the Tanks but both have detail differences - and different engines!


Hi Vitesse - the photo of the model is misleading - I can confirm the numberplate position and the fact that there is no colour change - all the bodywork is in standard Bugatti blue. As to the body shape below the screen, that may well be incorrect as I have never seen a head-on photo of the '39 car. To my eyes the tail looks correct when compared to the rear three-quater shot I posted, and the photo of the model is, again, misleading due to the angle. I was dimly aware of the Comminges T57/T59, but have never heard of the other two - thanks for the information. To think I considered myself fairly knowledgeable on the output of Molsheim! :rolleyes: :blush:

#8 cpbell

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 20:07

It would appear that two questions have been answered, but the nomenclature question is still uncertain - one version says that the unblown cars were 57S and the blown '39 long wheelbase examples 57G; alternatively the unblown cars were 57G and the '39 cars 57C.

#9 Vitesse2

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 20:23

It would appear that two questions have been answered, but the nomenclature question is still uncertain - one version says that the unblown cars were 57S and the blown '39 long wheelbase examples 57G; alternatively the unblown cars were 57G and the '39 cars 57C.

Anthony Blight goes with T57G and T57C in "French Sports Car Revolution".

#10 Allan Lupton

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 22:31

There was a T57 Tank in the Bad Oeynhausen museum and I showed a photo of it to Hugh Conway soon after I saw it there. We had a long talk about it but sadly I can't remember much of what was said. I think he said that the 1936 cars were on 57 and 57S chassis - certainly chassis length was discussed as the Bad Oeynhausen car looked different from what I expected.

#11 fivestar

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 23:10


Some interesting discussions on the 57G in the following link.

http://www.bugattibu...o...?f=1&t=1211

The 1939 57 tank was I believe the car in which Jean Bugatti was killed in whilst testing for the La baule grand prix.

#12 Vitesse2

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 23:26

The 1939 57 tank was I believe the car in which Jean Bugatti was killed in whilst testing for the La baule grand prix.

Yes, it was. I assume Le Patron destroyed the remains?


#13 Roger Clark

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 00:10

Note that there are also three other works T57 sports-racing models: the two torpedo-bodied cars built for the 1935 TT, the so-called T57/59 which raced at Comminges in 1939 and the T57S45 which was built in 1937 but was withdrawn after practice at Montlhéry: its only pre-war race was in Luxembourg in 1939. The T57/59 and T57S45 look similar to the Tanks but both have detail differences - and different engines!

When you say that the T57S45 raced in Luxembourg in 1939, are you referring to Wimille's winning car? There is a photograph in David Venables' Bugatti Racing History which is said to be that car and it is certainly not a T57S45 nor a Tank; it has narrow bodywork and cyclecar wings. It may have been the same car that raced at Comminges later that year.

#14 fivestar

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 00:51

The sports bodied car which raced at Comminges and luxembourg in 1939 was originally a T59 chassis later fitted with a sports body and 4.5L unsupercharged engine.
The car is currently on display in the Schlumpf Museum though fitted with twin rear wheels.

Here is a link to these cars:

http://www.bugattibu...o...p?f=1&t=860

Edited by fivestar, 14 March 2012 - 01:24.


#15 Roger Clark

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 07:22

The sports bodied car which raced at Comminges and luxembourg in 1939 was originally a T59 chassis later fitted with a sports body and 4.5L unsupercharged engine.
The car is currently on display in the Schlumpf Museum though fitted with twin rear wheels.

Here is a link to these cars:

http://www.bugattibu...o...p?f=1&t=860

Thanks for that link. The photos described as a replica of the 1937 ACF car Type 59/50B is, I think, the T57S45. It looks very small. Is it a full sized replica?

I was also surprised to read (first post) that the 1937 Turin car had an unsupercharged engine. The car was so fitted later in the year for the attempt on the Million Franc Prize, but why would they fit an unsupercharged engine for a 1937 Grand Prix?

#16 Vitesse2

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 09:35

When you say that the T57S45 raced in Luxembourg in 1939, are you referring to Wimille's winning car? There is a photograph in David Venables' Bugatti Racing History which is said to be that car and it is certainly not a T57S45 nor a Tank; it has narrow bodywork and cyclecar wings. It may have been the same car that raced at Comminges later that year.

I believe the picture in Venables might be Joseph Zigrand's car - or possibly even Ernest André's: see these rather Ruritanian pictures from the Luxemburger illustrierte Wochenschrift -

http://www.luxemburg...n...&highlight=

Unfortunately, the picture showing Wimille's car in action isn't very clear - although it does seem to look similar to the car linked on Bugattibuilder, but there is a reasonably good one of Zigrand in the pits. The race was - like Antwerp and the abandoned Liège race - run to the sports regulations of the International Formula: Alfa Corse fielded two 412s and a 2900B and entry lists show that Écurie Schell were expected with the Delahaye 145s.

TBH, I was following what Blight had written: see page 403 of "French Sports Car Revolution", where he claims there were three sports Bugattis in 1939 and does distinguish between the T57S45 and what he calls the "sprint" car used at Comminges. Given the rules in force for this race they could of course even have stuck wings on the T59/50B3! (Not a serious suggestion, I hasten to add.) I have several local press reports on this event, but none - including ones quoting the official AC de L entry list, which is my source re the Schell entries - gives a cylinder capacity for Wimille's car.

#17 cpbell

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 11:10

Some interesting discussions on the 57G in the following link.

http://www.bugattibu...o...?f=1&t=1211

The 1939 57 tank was I believe the car in which Jean Bugatti was killed in whilst testing for the La baule grand prix.


They seem to opt for the unblown car being 57G, based on the road-going 57S chassis, and therefore I assume they'd classify the blown '39 version the 57C.

All of which poses another question - after using a short wheelbase and therefore presumably nimble chassis in '36-'37, why would Jean Bugatti and the designers at Molsheim have used a longer chassis for the blown car. Surely there would have been room to slot a Roots blower in the 57S chassis? :confused:

#18 fivestar

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 11:13

There are some good photos of the Wilille T59/50B car used at Luxemborg and Comminiges in the T59 Gallery page 13 of the Bugatti trust website.

The link is as follows:

http://www.bugatti-t...phs/v/album-20/

rgds

Edited by fivestar, 14 March 2012 - 11:16.


#19 Roger Clark

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 11:28

There are some good photos of the Wilille T59/50B car used at Luxemborg and Comminiges in the T59 Gallery page 13 of the Bugatti trust website.

The link is as follows:

http://www.bugatti-t...phs/v/album-20/

rgds

Thanks again for that. It certainly seems to be the same car at Luxembourg and Comminges and not a T57S45. Photo 272a is the one that appears in David Venables' book.

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#20 fivestar

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 14:10

The t57/45s only practised for the 1937 ACF race, but were withdrawn. they were never raced.

#21 cpbell

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 17:18

So the T57S45 was the "Tank" lookalike with the 4.5 litre unblown engine as practised at the 1937 GP but not raced due to a dispute between le Patron and the organisers. Meanwhile, the T59/50B was the Luxembourg/Comminges car which seems to me to have been through three body styles - the original cycle-winged sports body used at the aforementioned events, then a slim, DB W25-style single-seater body with high faired tail used in various events such the the 1936 Vanderbilt Cup, the Million Franc contest at Monthléry, the Cork GP of 1938 and the GP de l'ACF in the same year before being fitted with a bulky-looking side-tanked body reminiscent of the 12C-37 Alfa for hill climbs and the immediate pre- and post-war Coupe de Paris and Coupe des Prisonniers. Do we know if these three iterations of the T59/50B were all on the same chassis or whether they were separate entities? Also, are we saying that it always used the 4.5 litre unblown engine and, as such was competing against the Delahayes at Rheims in 1938 rather than as a final, feeble attempt at defeating DB and A-U?

Edited by cpbell, 14 March 2012 - 17:23.


#22 Calhoun

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 19:15

You may be interested in seeing the 1937 LeMans winner running.
I took this video last June.

Bugatti Tank

It is in the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia.


#23 cpbell

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 19:19

You may be interested in seeing the 1937 LeMans winner running.
I took this video last June.

Bugatti Tank

It is in the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia.


Thanks Calhoun, I saw that video a few weeks ago. What a pity there wasn't space to really open her up.

#24 Vitesse2

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 19:51

So the T57S45 was the "Tank" lookalike with the 4.5 litre unblown engine as practised at the 1937 GP but not raced due to a dispute between le Patron and the organisers. Meanwhile, the T59/50B was the Luxembourg/Comminges car which seems to me to have been through three body styles - the original cycle-winged sports body used at the aforementioned events, then a slim, DB W25-style single-seater body with high faired tail used in various events such the the 1936 Vanderbilt Cup, the Million Franc contest at Monthléry, the Cork GP of 1938 and the GP de l'ACF in the same year before being fitted with a bulky-looking side-tanked body reminiscent of the 12C-37 Alfa for hill climbs and the immediate pre- and post-war Coupe de Paris and Coupe des Prisonniers. Do we know if these three iterations of the T59/50B were all on the same chassis or whether they were separate entities? Also, are we saying that it always used the 4.5 litre unblown engine and, as such was competing against the Delahayes at Rheims in 1938 rather than as a final, feeble attempt at defeating DB and A-U?

Oh, if only it were that simple ... :lol:

There were both iron- and aluminium-block versions of the T50B engine, some blown and some unblown. Ignoring the aero-engines, there's a blown 3 litre, a blown 3.3 litre, an unblown 4.5 litre and a blown 4.7 litre. (I don't think I've missed any!)

At all the Formula races Bugatti participated in in 1938 they ran the 3 litre blown engine which had been used in the Race for the Million. In 1939 they also wheeled out the re-bodied old blown 4.7 - which was first seen in the 1935 GP de l'ACF - at Montlhéry for an AGACI meeting, Prescott and Angouleme: this is the car which ran at the Bois de Boulogne in 1945.

#25 cpbell

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 20:22

Oh, if only it were that simple ... :lol:

There were both iron- and aluminium-block versions of the T50B engine, some blown and some unblown. Ignoring the aero-engines, there's a blown 3 litre, a blown 3.3 litre, an unblown 4.5 litre and a blown 4.7 litre. (I don't think I've missed any!)

At all the Formula races Bugatti participated in in 1938 they ran the 3 litre blown engine which had been used in the Race for the Million. In 1939 they also wheeled out the re-bodied old blown 4.7 - which was first seen in the 1935 GP de l'ACF - at Montlhéry for an AGACI meeting, Prescott and Angouleme: this is the car which ran at the Bois de Boulogne in 1945.



Hang on, surely the Bugatti entered for the '35 GP de l'ACF was a 3.3 litre blown T59? :confused:
So that car was rebodied in what I called the Alfa-style body - rather bloated-looking and used the 4.7 litre unit pre- and post-war at the hillclimbs etc., whilst the slimmer, W25-esque car was a different chassis with a 3-litre blown engine for the '38 GP at Rheims? What on earth made them think they could compete with the W154; surely they'd have been better using the unblown 4.5 litre unit and going for the "first French/unblown car home" honours? :lol: :rolleyes:

#26 Vitesse2

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 20:39

Hang on, surely the Bugatti entered for the '35 GP de l'ACF was a 3.3 litre blown T59? :confused:

That's what they ran in practice, but for the race they brought another car from Molsheim which was wheeled straight through scrutineering just before midnight without even being weighed: probably because it was at leat 50kg overweight! That was the race where Benoist drove holding the loose bonnet ...

http://www.kolumbus....an/gp353.htm#21

So that car was rebodied in what I called the Alfa-style body - rather bloated-looking and used the 4.7 litre unit pre- and post-war at the hillclimbs etc., whilst the slimmer, W25-esque car was a different chassis with a 3-litre blown engine for the '38 GP at Rheims? What on earth made them think they could compete with the W154; surely they'd have been better using the unblown 4.5 litre unit and going for the "first French/unblown car home" honours? :lol: :rolleyes:

There was more Fonds de Course money available in 1938, most of which went to Talbot. Bugatti seem to have hoped they'd get more by persisting with the 3 litre car: one important part of getting that was participation in the GP de l'ACF, which caused a massive row between the Schells and the ACF and prompted Lucy to move the team to Monaco.

#27 cpbell

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 20:48

That's what they ran in practice, but for the race they brought another car from Molsheim which was wheeled straight through scrutineering just before midnight without even being weighed: probably because it was at leat 50kg overweight! That was the race where Benoist drove holding the loose bonnet ...

http://www.kolumbus....an/gp353.htm#21


I have that photo in "Power and Glory Vol. 1" but always assumed that it was a standard T59. You learn something new every day... :lol:

#28 Roger Clark

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 20:51

I hadn't heard of a 3.3-litre T50B engine. The only Bugatti engines I know of that capacity were the T57/59 family which were of a different design. I also wasn't aware of an iron block T50B.

The car raced by Benoist in the '35 GP de l'ACF was, I think, a T59 with a modified T50 engine of 4.7-litres. There is a famous photograph of the bonnet flying off the car and almost decapitating the driver. I would be surprised if this car was rebodied to create the 1939 Libre car. that car could have been created from the monopod to to which first appeared in practice for Monaco in 1936.

(written before I had seen the preceding two posts).

Edited by Roger Clark, 14 March 2012 - 20:54.


#29 jj2728

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 21:15

I don't have it handy, but MotorSport did an article and test drove the '39 LeMans winner IIRC.

#30 cpbell

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 21:17

I don't have it handy, but MotorSport did an article and test drove the '39 LeMans winner IIRC.


Surely that was the car written-off in Jean Bugatti's fatal crash?

#31 Robin Fairservice

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 21:40

Regarding the un-supercharged Type 57S 45, I have a copy of “The Bugatti Book” by Barry Eaglesfield and C.W.P. Hampton published in 1954. They wrote:
“This car first appeared in practice only before the 1937 Le Mans race and as will be seen the lines are more attractive and less bulky than the then current type 57S Le Mans winning “tank type” car. Bore & Stroke were 87 x 107 and the crankshaft was carried on nine plain bearings. The next appearance of this impressive model seems to have been in June 1939, when Wimille won the Luxembourg Grand Prix, by which time it had virtually become an un-supercharged version of the 4.7 litre Formula G.P. car.”

In their writing about the Type 57S (tank cars) there is no reference to supercharging these cars which were raced in 1936 and 1937. They believed that 3 or 4 cars were made.

The type 57C (which would have been a supercharged car) version of the 1936/7 Type 57S "tank" cars, after winning the 1939 Le Mans, was crashed by Jean Bugatti in August 1939 while testing for the La Baule G.P.

I hope that I have interpreted their writings correctly.

Edited by Robin Fairservice, 14 March 2012 - 21:41.


#32 cpbell

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 21:43

Regarding the un-supercharged Type 57S 45, I have a copy of “The Bugatti Book” by Barry Eaglesfield and C.W.P. Hampton published in 1954. They wrote:
“This car first appeared in practice only before the 1937 Le Mans race and as will be seen the lines are more attractive and less bulky than the then current type 57S Le Mans winning “tank type” car. Bore & Stroke were 87 x 107 and the crankshaft was carried on nine plain bearings. The next appearance of this impressive model seems to have been in June 1939, when Wimille won the Luxembourg Grand Prix, by which time it had virtually become an un-supercharged version of the 4.7 litre Formula G.P. car.”

In their writing about the Type 57S (tank cars) there is no reference to supercharging these cars which were raced in 1936 and 1937. They believed that 3 or 4 cars were made.

The type 57C (which would have been a supercharged car) version of the 1936/7 Type 57S "tank" cars, after winning the 1939 Le Mans, was crashed by Jean Bugatti in August 1939 while testing for the La Baule G.P.

I hope that I have interpreted their writings correctly.


Yet another nomenclature variant! '36-37 = T57S, '39 = T57C.

#33 Robin Fairservice

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 23:28

Yet another nomenclature variant! '36-37 = T57S, '39 = T57C.

A type 57 S would be a lighter version of a Type 57, and a Type 57 C would be a supercharged version, hence a Type 57 SC would be a lighter, supercharged version of a 57.

#34 fivestar

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 23:58

The basic T57 had a non supercharged engine with a wheelbase of 3.3m. The T57C was a supercharged version of the T57.
The 57S had a non supercharged engine plus a lowered chassis with a wheelbase of 2.98m. The T57SC was a supercharged version of the T57S.

The chassis for the 1936/37 Tank bodied cars was the T57S, whilst the 1939 Tank used a T57C chassis.

The T57/45 cars used a T59 chassis which had a wheelbase of 2.6m
rgds



The T57C was a supercharged version of the T57.

A type 57 S would be a lighter version of a Type 57, and a Type 57 C would be a supercharged version, hence a Type 57 SC would be a lighter, supercharged version of a 57.



#35 Roger Clark

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 23:58

A type 57 S would be a lighter version of a Type 57, and a Type 57 C would be a supercharged version, hence a Type 57 SC would be a lighter, supercharged version of a 57.

I thought the S had a shorter wheelbase. Customers specified their own bodywork so weight would vary anyway.

The whole business of nomenclature of the racing cars is a little meaningless. Bugatti would want to claim a relationship with production cars for commercial reasons and because the rules required it. The S was introduced in late 1936 so it made sense to refer to the early Tanks in this way. It was discontinued in 1938 so it made sense to refer to the 1939 cars as a C.

#36 Robin Fairservice

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 01:56

I thought the S had a shorter wheelbase. Customers specified their own bodywork so weight would vary anyway.

The whole business of nomenclature of the racing cars is a little meaningless. Bugatti would want to claim a relationship with production cars for commercial reasons and because the rules required it. The S was introduced in late 1936 so it made sense to refer to the early Tanks in this way. It was discontinued in 1938 so it made sense to refer to the 1939 cars as a C.


We have to remember that the Bugatti company was a French company, so they would have used French words for their nomenclature. C stands for Compression (or Supercharging), and Legere stands for Light (in weight). A lighter car would probably have a shorter wheelbase.

I am using an English-French dictionary for these terms, so they might not be exact.

#37 fivestar

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 04:48

As I pointed out the early 1936/37 tanks actually used the T57S chassis which as you say was shorter, with the rear axle passing through a slot in the chassis frame to lower it.
The 1939 tank used a production T57C chassis with very minor modifications.
rgds
ps: I wish there was an easier way to post photos without having to use ImageShack

I thought the S had a shorter wheelbase. Customers specified their own bodywork so weight would vary anyway.

The whole business of nomenclature of the racing cars is a little meaningless. Bugatti would want to claim a relationship with production cars for commercial reasons and because the rules required it. The S was introduced in late 1936 so it made sense to refer to the early Tanks in this way. It was discontinued in 1938 so it made sense to refer to the 1939 cars as a C.


Edited by fivestar, 15 March 2012 - 04:50.


#38 Robin Fairservice

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 05:26

We have to remember that the Bugatti company was a French company, so they would have used French words for their nomenclature. C stands for Compression (or Supercharging), and Legere stands for Light (in weight). A lighter car would probably have a shorter wheelbase.

I am using an English-French dictionary for these terms, so they might not be exact.

I apologise for confusing every one. I was trying to find the French word for the abbreviation S, and my mind wandered off and found Legere, which is a French word for light weight. This has been discussed before, but I now can't find the thread.

#39 Roger Clark

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 06:46

The 1939 tank used a production T57C chassis with very minor modifications.

Do we know that? I've no evidence but there would be some logic in using a short wheelbase for racing but calling it a T57C as the S was out of production. It's unlikely that any one measured the car before Jean Bugatti's accident.

I would guess that the S stood for Sport.

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#40 fivestar

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 07:08

Roger, two references:-
1: [He[Jean Bugatti] frequently tested the company's prototypes. On 11 August 1939, while testing the Type 57 tank-bodied racer which had just won a Le Mans race, not far from the factory on the road near the village of Duppigheim, 30-year-old Jean Bugatti was killed when he lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a tree while trying to avoid a drunken bicyclist, who had gotten onto the track through a hole in a tree

2:After the 1937 victory, Ettore Bugatti stated that he wouldn't return, until his record of that year would be improved. In 1938 a Delage took the victory, however, at a lower average. Jean had to convince his father, but Bugatti would participate only under the following condition: Only one car was to be entered: "As there is never more than one winner, one car only must be enough."
One car only, against all the others, doesn't seem much. There were six Talbot's. three of them of 4.5 litre, 8 Delahaye's (six 135MS), two Delage 3 litres, a majestic Alfa 2500SS coupe driven by Sommer, and two Super Lagonda V12 4.5 litres, designed by a certain W.O. Bentley.

Entered was a Type 57C, different from the 1937 model, although similar in appearance. This time it was a supercharged car, based on a normal touring frame (not on a T57S chassis.). Although the frame was a classic one, the body, weighing not more than 60 kg, was improved still, together with the Piano-wire wheels of the T59 a very beautiful combination. The brakes are hydraulics and amply ventilated, behind the bonnet there are air extractors, at the sides of the body.

However, in the beginning of the second practice session, the engine breaks down. Wimille, Veyron and Jean Bugatti are thinking about giving up. Not Robert Aumaître though, the chief mechanic. Molsheim is called, and 8 new pistons are brought to Paris, with an Autorail (of Bugatti design, naturally). Here Le Grand Robert is waiting in his T57, to take them to Le Mans. With the help of a local metal worker the block is made ready for the new pistons. On Saturday all is cleaned, the pistons mounted and all is ready for the start!

During a rapid test, the engine doesn't seem to good, the competition is going to take advantage of that. Louis Gerard in his Delage takes the lead, Sommer is out, and Wimille and Veyron follow, not without problems though, the engine overheating. Even the inside wings had been removed, risking disqualification. A wheel breaks, and Wimille goes from 4th place back to sixth! Sunday, at the end of the morning, Gerard is 5 laps ahead of the Bugatti. However, at the beginning of the afternoon all is going to change. The Delage is making more and more bizarre sounds, and has at least two valve springs broken. At 13h00, the Bugatti is two laps ahead! There is another one won! Although Mazaud in a Delahaye has taken almost a second from Wimille's 1937 record.

Jean Bugatti claimed afterwards that the bonnet was never opened during the race, and that a top speed of over 255 km/h was attainable.


rgds

encequote name='Roger Clark' date='Mar 15 2012, 14:46' post='5587206']
Do we know that? I've no evidence but there would be some logic in using a short wheelbase for racing but calling it a T57C as the S was out of production. It's unlikely that any one measured the car before Jean Bugatti's accident.

I would guess that the S stood for Sport.
[/quote]


#41 Roger Clark

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 08:24

Does anybody know the chassis number of the 1939 Le Mans winner?

#42 RogerFrench

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 16:56

I apologise for confusing every one. I was trying to find the French word for the abbreviation S, and my mind wandered off and found Legere, which is a French word for light weight. This has been discussed before, but I now can't find the thread.


I would guess that the S stood for Sport.




S = Surbaissé (lowered)

Edited by RogerFrench, 15 March 2012 - 16:59.


#43 Robin Fairservice

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 17:44

S = Surbaissé (lowered)

Thanks, that agrees with the descriptions (in English) that the Type 57 S was a lowered version of a Type 57. I must try and remember that.

#44 Roger Clark

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 06:42

However, in the beginning of the second practice session, the engine breaks down. Wimille, Veyron and Jean Bugatti are thinking about giving up. Not Robert Aumaître though, the chief mechanic. Molsheim is called, and 8 new pistons are brought to Paris, with an Autorail (of Bugatti design, naturally). Here Le Grand Robert is waiting in his T57, to take them to Le Mans. With the help of a local metal worker the block is made ready for the new pistons. On Saturday all is cleaned, the pistons mounted and all is ready for the start!

During a rapid test, the engine doesn't seem to good, the competition is going to take advantage of that. Louis Gerard in his Delage takes the lead, Sommer is out, and Wimille and Veyron follow, not without problems though, the engine overheating. Even the inside wings had been removed, risking disqualification. A wheel breaks, and Wimille goes from 4th place back to sixth! Sunday, at the end of the morning, Gerard is 5 laps ahead of the Bugatti. However, at the beginning of the afternoon all is going to change. The Delage is making more and more bizarre sounds, and has at least two valve springs broken. At 13h00, the Bugatti is two laps ahead! There is another one won! Although Mazaud in a Delahaye has taken almost a second from Wimille's 1937 record.

Robert Aumaître tells of this in Bugatti Magnum. A mechanic at Molsheim was put on a train to Paris with the pistons Benoist was sent to Gare de l'Est to collect the new pistons but they were oversized. Aumaître worked for 12 hours in a local engineering works to prepare the block. Veyron was sent out to collect cold food as they didn't stop for lunch. Aumaître finished the block at about midnight on Friday, grabbed some sleep while the team assembled the engine and at 7 the next morning Robert took the car out for a brief run. Veyron was sent out to do 100 or 200 km to run the car in but to be back by 11. They got the car to the circuit by midday, the race started at 4 and they won at record speed. I don't thin Audi work like this.

This presumably means that the engine of the Le Mans winner was bigger than reported. What could the oversized pistons have been?

#45 fivestar

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 07:37

Here's a cut away of the 1937 Tank based on the 57S chassis.

Posted Image

The T57C remains after Jean Bugatti's fatal accident.

Posted Image

Uploaded with ImageShack.us

Edited by fivestar, 16 March 2012 - 07:56.


#46 Roger Clark

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 17:54

Did the cars line up art Le Mans in 1939 in order of engine capacity? Pictures show the Bugatti ahead of the Talbots.

#47 D-Type

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 17:57

Did the cars line up art Le Mans in 1939 in order of engine capacity? Pictures show the Bugatti ahead of the Talbots.

Perhaps factored by a coefficient as they were supercharged.

#48 Vitesse2

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 19:03

Did the cars line up art Le Mans in 1939 in order of engine capacity? Pictures show the Bugatti ahead of the Talbots.

Until 1935 they were lined up in strict order of capacity within each class - blown or unblown. From 1937 onwards the few blown cars were assigned the leading positions within their capacity class. In 1939 there were only two blown cars: the Bugatti - numbered 1 ahead of all the unblown Talbots, Lagondas and Delahayes - and the 847cc Collier/Welch MG PA Midget, which was numbered 36, ahead of the usual gaggle of Simcas, Fiats and Singers. See also the two Alfas in the 2001-3000cc class in 1938 and the solitary 1095cc Chenard & Walcker in 1937. This seems to have been continued after the war - see the 1101-1500cc class in 1952 for an example.

http://www.lemans-hi...as.php?ano=1939

#49 Roger Clark

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 22:35

Thanks for that. It still leaves the question of the oversized pistons.

#50 scags

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 00:58

Thanks for that. It still leaves the question of the oversized pistons.

Maybe they didn't notice- it may have been after scrutineering, and it was a French team.