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1956 Bugatti GP car


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#1 bobbo

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Posted 04 March 2002 - 00:35

In 1956, Bugatti entered its first and only "modern era" (1950 to present) car in the French GP. It was driven by Maurice Trintignant (sp?), dnf'd on (I think) the 18th lap.

It was an inline 8 cyl. transverse mounted mid engined design, with De Dion suspension. I don't remember what braking it had, but they were probably drums.

My initial questions (responses will likely add more) are:

Any other technical details?

Was this the first mid-engined car of the modern era?

Was it a lost cause from the beginning or did it have some potential?

How important was money in it's (lack of) success?

What ever happened to it?

Bobbo

FORZA MINARDI!!

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#2 Wolf

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Posted 04 March 2002 - 02:07

Apart from that, prominent features of T251 were full width nose (sort of) and fuel taknk between wheels (a la Lancia, although enclosed in bodywork). I don't think they could've made a winner out of it.

BTW, are You speaking of cars designed for GPs? If not than Schell's Cooper T12 (IIRC) that started in '50 MC GP was the first. And there was German homemade special Heck-BMW during F2 years (may have been other 'specials' as well, though)- mainly appearing on German GP.

#3 Ray Bell

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Posted 04 March 2002 - 03:06

If I recall correctly, it had a beam axle at the front, the last to ever appear in a WDC race, and probably the only one...

#4 Gary Davies

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Posted 04 March 2002 - 10:58

Bobbo, go here:

http://www.0-100.it/...251/english.htm

This site says, tantalisingly, that "The brakes were all drums (in the beginning, they were discs)." Hodges and Setright both say that the Reims car raced with discs.

Trintignant had two 251's from which to choose at Reims, one the prototype and another with slightly longer wheelbase; both the cars are now at the Schlumpf museum.

A wee aside. Maurice was a Vanwall team driver in 1956. Since he was entered in the Bugatti at Reims, one Colin Chapman was given his chance in the Vanwall.

Vanwall.

#5 Gary Davies

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Posted 04 March 2002 - 11:20

Originally posted by Vanwall ... one Colin Chapman was given his chance in the Vanwall.

Vanwall. [/B]


Actually, that last sentence was a pathetic attempt to suck Doug or Don into commenting on whether Chunky's hitting the derriere of Hawthorn's car at Thillois was a) a bad career move by Colin, b) faulty brakes, or c) Hawthorn not getting off the racing line.

Vanwall.

#6 Vitesse2

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Posted 04 March 2002 - 12:25

Originally posted by Vanwall
Bobbo, go here:

http://www.0-100.it/...251/english.htm

This site says, tantalisingly, that "The brakes were all drums (in the beginning, they were discs)." Hodges and Setright both say that the Reims car raced with discs.

Trintignant had two 251's from which to choose at Reims, one the prototype and another with slightly longer wheelbase; both the cars are now at the Schlumpf museum.

A wee aside. Maurice was a Vanwall team driver in 1956. Since he was entered in the Bugatti at Reims, one Colin Chapman was given his chance in the Vanwall.

Vanwall.


According to Doug (Motor Racing Mavericks) disc brakes were intended, but never fitted as they were not fully developed in time. Trintignant drove both cars in practice at Reims and found that the more familiar SWB prototype handled less badly :rolleyes: , but he had the newer car's engine installed in it overnight.

It was apparently fast in a straight line, but the steering is described as "very vague"!

#7 bobbo

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Posted 04 March 2002 - 12:40

Vanwall:

Thanks for the link! The 2 photos are great I just wish there was more stuff there!!

Bobbo

#8 oldtimer

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Posted 04 March 2002 - 19:22

Originally posted by Ray Bell
If I recall correctly, it had a beam axle at the front, the last to ever appear in a WDC race, and probably the only one...


Actually a de Dion tube layout.

Denis Jenkinson's Racing Car Review desribes the front suspension as: de Dion geometry with tube located by double radius rods and centre guide. Rocking links from tube to rod-compressing coil springs on oppositing side of the chassis.

Amongst the distinctive features of the car was the short wheel-base, given as 86 inches in DSJ's review, which would be 4in less than its contempories.

#9 Doug Nye

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Posted 04 March 2002 - 19:41

Forgive this question - how much do you chaps like Jenks's 'Racing Car Reviews'?? There's a scheme afoot to extend, re-illustrate and reprint the series?

DCN

#10 oldtimer

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Posted 04 March 2002 - 20:20

I would call that a good scheme

#11 Don Capps

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Posted 04 March 2002 - 20:59

Originally posted by Doug Nye
Forgive this question - how much do you chaps like Jenks's 'Racing Car Reviews'?? There's a scheme afoot to extend, re-illustrate and reprint the series?

DCN


About time.....

#12 Hitch

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Posted 04 March 2002 - 22:21

Talking about the Bugatti '56 GP car the first thing I remember about it was it's enormous cockpit. I remember a photo taken from above, maybe some members of the forum know what I'm talking about - and you can see probably the most spacious cockpit ever. :p

#13 Roger Clark

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Posted 04 March 2002 - 22:27

Originally posted by oldtimer


Actually a de Dion tube layout.

Denis Jenkinson's Racing Car Review desribes the front suspension as: de Dion geometry with tube located by double radius rods and centre guide. Rocking links from tube to rod-compressing coil springs on oppositing side of the chassis.


I don't understand the concept of a de Dion suspension on non-driven wheels. Surely it's just a beam axle?

#14 Vitesse2

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Posted 04 March 2002 - 23:44

The money for the racing project (the second post-war Bugatti after the even more unsucccessful T73C) came from military contracts connected to the French rearguard action in Indo-China. It was originally proposed in 1953, as a 1954 car, but didn't actually appear until late 1955, by which time the French had lost the Battle of Dien Ben Phu and retreated from the Far East. So, even before the T251 ran, there were money pressures as the military contracts were evaporating fast. It was tested extensively by Trintignant through early 1956 but was not really ready to race when it did, as indicated by its somewhat non-competitive practice showing (nearly 20 seconds off the pace) - nevertheless politics won the day.

As a swansong, it was a pretty poor tune ... the cars were returned to Molsheim, with further development promised, but the money ran out completely and they ended up in the Schlumpf collection.

As to other mid-engined cars, Wolf has already mentioned the Heck-BMW. There was also the Cisitalia Typ 360, designed by Ferdinand Porsche (Typ 360 is a Porsche Bureau designation) from the late 40s. It never raced in Europe, but later found its way to Argentina, where it raced just once, as the Autoar.

#15 Ray Bell

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Posted 04 March 2002 - 23:56

Originally posted by Roger Clark
I don't understand the concept of a de Dion suspension on non-driven wheels. Surely it's just a beam axle?


I never realised you were such a technophile Roger... of course, you're correct, but I'll bet we get an argument about it...

#16 Milan Fistonic

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Posted 05 March 2002 - 02:13

Originally posted by Doug Nye
Forgive this question - how much do you chaps like Jenks's 'Racing Car Reviews'?? There's a scheme afoot to extend, re-illustrate and reprint the series?

DCN


Yes please

#17 Gary Davies

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Posted 05 March 2002 - 04:10

Scheme on! :clap:

#18 oldtimer

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Posted 05 March 2002 - 04:51

Originally posted by Ray Bell


I never realised you were such a technophile Roger... of course, you're correct, but I'll bet we get an argument about it...


I'm not an engineer, nor am I looking for an argument ;) , but my understanding of a de Dion axle is that it links independently sprung wheels and has its own locating system to control up and down movement. It is thus connected to the chassis at three points. A beam axle, on the other hand, is connected to the chassis via the suspension system at each wheel, ie at two points.

Or, have I got it all wrong?

#19 Ray Bell

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Posted 05 March 2002 - 05:19

In short, I've have to say you have, oldtimer....

A beam axle can have lots of links and still look like and be a beam axle... I recall the Welsor beam front axles had leading arms at each end and a Watts link, for instance... but it was discernably a beam, it looked like it when you peeked under the bonnet.

The framework that makes up the axle in the Bugatti, though it doesn't look like a beam, is still identical to a beam axle in all functions. It simply doesn't look like a beam... With a front axle, with no power transmission, and assuming outboard brakes, it has no other impact on things, and there's no 'independent springing', so that's all it is... a beam axle.

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#20 dmj

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Posted 05 March 2002 - 13:11

See lot 110 here:
http://www.rmauction....cfm?sCode=AM02

#21 oldtimer

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Posted 05 March 2002 - 18:35

OK, I'll try again.

My understanding of a beam axle is that the wheels are attached directly to it, and the axle is attached to the chassis through the suspension medium. Whereas, in a de Dion system, the wheels are attached to the chassis through the suspension system, the de Dion tube is used to connect the wheels, and has a locating system to control its movement in a vertical plane.

Or, have I still got it wrong?

#22 Ray Bell

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Posted 05 March 2002 - 21:14

The de Dion tube also attaches to the springing medium and the locating links. It is virtually an axle with some bends in it and drive comes to the wheels via axle shafts that are remote from it.

Don't be confused, by the way, with some variations (Rover 2000/3500 for instance) of the de Dion tube which allow independent movement of the wheels... and this explains in part what the 'independent' means...

With a beam axle or a de Dion tube, the wheels remain in a fixed position relative to each other.

#23 Roger Clark

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Posted 05 March 2002 - 23:15

As I understand it, a beam axle is any .. well.. beam which connects the two wheels and prevents independent movement. A beam axle can be of two types, live, where the axle transmits the poser to the wheels and dead, where it doesn't. A live axle is a pretty nasty thing, particularly where it is linked to the chassis through leaf springs as it transmits torque from one wheel to the other and introduces all sorts of handling problems as a result. There have been all sorts of devices for better location of a live axle, the Panhard rod being one of the most popular. Nevertheless, they required very stiff springs, and gave the driver a very harsh ride as a result.

The de Dion tube was a particular type of dead axle with, as Ray says, separate half shafts to transmit the power. Ideal for designers who wanted to avoid the nastiness of a live axle, but who weren't clever enough to design a proper independent suspension. There have been other forms of dead axle. Among them are the split drive of the Tipo B Alfa Romeo, about which much has been written in this forum, and the chain drive of the pre-historic monsters. By all accounts these cars, for all their massive size, gave the driver a very much smoother ride than the later cars driven by prop shafts.

#24 Ray Bell

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Posted 06 March 2002 - 00:12

Originally posted by Roger Clark
....Ideal for designers who wanted to avoid the nastiness of a live axle, but who weren't clever enough to design a proper independent suspension.


I don't know, Roger... I think it can be a smart way of keeping the wheels upright... which the Rover system didn't do, by the way. You can build in a fixed camber setting too...

There have been other forms of dead axle. Among them are the split drive of the Tipo B Alfa Romeo, about which much has been written in this forum....



Yes, a topic I'd like to have Doug's view on now he's here... I still don't have the answer on that one... I reckon he misread the answers he'd got with the twin engined predecessor...

....and the chain drive of the pre-historic monsters. By all accounts these cars, for all their massive size, gave the driver a very much smoother ride than the later cars driven by prop shafts.


Prop shafts that fed power into a CWP which would in turn have introduced torque reactions... a further disruption to easy progress.

Their sprung to unsprung weight ratios would have been pretty good too.

#25 dbw

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Posted 06 March 2002 - 08:13

most often on chain drive "monsters" the diff was in the same box as the gears...a "transaxle" if you will....it was most often mounted solidly to the frame acting as a stiffening member[albeit a ponderously heavy one]..the "dead" rear axle was most often connected to the transverse drive axle by way of articulated radius rods with linear adjustment to keep the chains taught.as a result the springs were often double shackled to allow the "dead" axle to move thru the arc defined by the radius rods...it seems that the whole chain drive scheme had more to do with the ability to change final drive ratios[via combos of sprocket tooth counts front/rear] than the concept of unsprung weight.

when i get a chance i'll weigh in on the "colombo" t251...it did,as all bugattis , have a beam front axle[now round in section and hollow a la t35...]and also ran the coolant from rad to engine via the tubular frame.... :eek:

#26 930fly

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Posted 06 March 2002 - 13:28

I seem to recall that Autosport in 1968 was full of reports of Lotus testing a wedge shaped De dion axle F2 car. On a trip to Hethel that year with the Scouts I severly embarassed the Lotus host with endless questions about its progress. He didn't actually deny its existance though. Is there a picture of this car?

#27 Vitesse2

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Posted 06 March 2002 - 13:35

That would be the Lotus 57, which was later developed into the 58 - neither was raced, but I'm sure someone round here has a picture!

#28 Don Capps

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Posted 06 March 2002 - 14:04

Originally posted by Doug Nye


There's mention of a previous thread on the Tipo B driveline which I have failed to find. What's the question again????? Interested to find the 'P3' debate - 'P3' when applied to period drives me up the wall as much as 'W163'............

DCN


We also squeezed glue out of that dead horse as well -- I say Tipo B, you say P3.....

#29 Ray Bell

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Posted 06 March 2002 - 14:24

Originally posted by Doug Nye
There's mention of a previous thread on the Tipo B driveline which I have failed to find. What's the question again????? Interested to find the 'P3' debate - 'P3' when applied to period drives me up the wall as much as 'W163'............


This was my introduction to TNF, Doug, a month after it fired up...

http://www.atlasf1.c...=&threadid=1027

As I recall, the question goes unanswered... and it goes deep. The one I feel did the 'misreading' was Jano...

#30 Doug Nye

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Posted 06 March 2002 - 15:25

Originally posted by Don Capps
We also squeezed glue out of that dead horse as well -- I say Tipo B, you say P3.....


Oh no I don't....

But I follow your thread... Ray I found the Tipo B driveline analyses very interesting indeed. I asked Guidotti and Sanesi about this in the '80s because both recalled the cars quite well. In essence they said simply that Jano was a great genius, but then Gudotti also told me about a British Grand Prix that I didn't recognise - "Imagine the scene - we are all presented to King George and his luvvefrly queen - on the grid are four Alfa Romeo, four Ferrari, three BRMeh V16..." so, variably reliable in his memory then...

I was brought up to believe the following:

1 - Jano adopted the vee driveline after experience - by proxy through Roselli and Bazzi at Suderia Ferrari - of the Bimotore layout, despite it differing in that its vee-drive permitted access for the forward-facing drive from the tail engine between the twin final-drive shafts. The original thread seemed to ignore the fact that Jano had little input - if any - into the Bimotore which was an SF project created and made in Modena.

2 - Any claims of lower seating and great weight saving etc are demonstrable nonsense.

3 - Advantageous torque cancelling effects relative to a conventional live axle are at best debatable.

4 - Advantageous weight distribution is indeed achieved by moving the hefty diff forward.

5 - Marginal saving in effective unsprung weight is also achieved...but only marginal.

Above all, Tipo B drivers - and rivals - praised the car's fine balance and good traction out of corners relative to what had gone before.

I think that these are the crucial factors - the interface between man and machine.

The Tipo B in period simply proved more nimble, more driver friendly, harnessed its power and exploited its low overall weight better than anything the drivers had tried before. When Campari first tried it in the factory yard at Portello he reputedly reported 'E come una bicicletta!" - it's like a bicycle!

But then consider the 1933 Maserati 8CM which aped the Tipo B's narrow frame and body, used a less complex but still straight-8 supercharged - and powerful - engine, conventional drive - and scared its drivers to death, unless the first name was Tazio.

I think you're demonstrably right in some respects re Jano's 'genius design'. As a contributory factor to that overall package the Tipo B drive layout worked, well, but it certainly did not establish itself as a given, nobody else adopted it as a feature...not even those great theoreticians at Stuttgart...

And it is surely significant that Jano ignored 'the advantages' of that vee-drive in subsequent designs - for which one could read 'dropped it like a hot potato'?

DCN

Incidentally the de Dion-axled F1/F2 Lotus has been restored over the past 18 months or so by Classic Team Lotus - but for 'de Dion tube' read 'de Dion trellis'.

#31 Ray Bell

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Posted 06 March 2002 - 16:02

Glad you put the thought and effort into this, Doug.

The one remaining feature, which I mentioned previously, is that the torque tubes were able to direct load more positively to the ends of the axles - where the load was needed to enhance adhesion. Incidentally, the differential was in fact a fairly lightweight piece of gear once it was removed from the CWP, and did you also know it had a variable limited slip capacity?

I'm still entranced by the essential bindup that must have occurred in the Tipo A in cornering... unless, of course, the gearboxes were flexibly mounted in the chassis.

And thanks for mentioning the different design teams involved, that was something I didn't appreciate.

#32 David McKinney

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Posted 06 March 2002 - 20:01

Originally posted by Doug Nye
Jano adopted the vee driveline after experience - by proxy through Roselli and Bazzi at Suderia Ferrari - of the Bimotore layout, despite it differing in that its vee-drive permitted access for the forward-facing drive from the tail engine between the twin final-drive shafts. The original thread seemed to ignore the fact that Jano had little input - if any - into the Bimotore which was an SF project created and made in Modena.

But the Bimotore came later. No doubt this reference is to the Tipo A?

PS: Just how many Tipo B/P3 threads have we got running here!

#33 Doug Nye

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Posted 06 March 2002 - 20:09

Well done Dave - wondered who'd spot that one. Tis t'other way round - 1931 Tipo A parallel drive, 1932 Tipo B vee drive - 1935 Bimotore vee drive-plus. Isn't this a dangerous place?..

#34 paulhooft

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Posted 06 March 2002 - 20:57

Coming .. back .. to the Bugatti Type 251...
It was designed by Colombo, of former Alfa Romeo and Ferrari fame.
There are some intresting stories about it in the book BUGATTI by Borgeson..
Ronald Bugatti, son of the great Ettore Bugatti, had some influence in the development, but he was not as gifted as his famous father and his
elder brother Jean.
Ettore died in 1947, Jean in a testing accident with the 1939 Le Mans winning car in august 1939, the war broke out a few months later.
And without the much needed recources, it was in fact a hopeless project.
That was a big shame..
Paul

#35 Roger Clark

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Posted 06 March 2002 - 20:58

and, of course, Jano did design the Tipo A.

#36 Doug Nye

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Posted 06 March 2002 - 21:24

Originally posted by Hitch
Talking about the Bugatti '56 GP car the first thing I remember about it was it's enormous cockpit. I remember a photo taken from above, maybe some members of the forum know what I'm talking about - and you can see probably the most spacious cockpit ever. :p


Even I should not be able to muddle up photographs in my mind?

Behold the capacious cockpits of both Bugatti 251s at Reims 1956:


Posted Image

Posted Image

It's like one of those childhood 'count the differences' comparisons - note the steering wheel spokes - like spears - Trintignant's favoured stop watch on the steering wheel boss of his preferred version (something I recall he also had fitted in BRM P578 'Old Faithful' from the period when he was running it in BP France blue in 1964) - and the generally sufficient room for a tap-dancing lesson.

DCN

#37 paulhooft

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Posted 06 March 2002 - 21:33

Doug:
I really enjoy these cockpit pictures:
I have never seen them:
and I have more than 40 books on Bugatti:
kindest regards
Paul

#38 Doug Nye

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Posted 06 March 2002 - 21:35

I am glad Paul - d'you fancy some more? Oh, copyright is strictly The GP Library....but you only have to ask if you have a need to use them for anything beyond personal interest... Enjoy.

DCN

#39 McRonalds

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Posted 06 March 2002 - 22:27

I think this is the cockpit view Hitch has remembered - and from this point of view I must admit - it's large. And we have very nice view on the transverse mounted engine too:

Posted Image

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#40 Ray Bell

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Posted 07 March 2002 - 05:56

Hey... that bloke at the bottom right combs his hair like I do!

Great pics, I've never seen any of these before at all... would love to see that front axle. Photo or drawing, either would do.

#41 Barry Lake

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Posted 08 March 2002 - 05:25

Originally posted by Doug Nye
Well done Dave - wondered who'd spot that one. Tis t'other way round - 1931 Tipo A parallel drive, 1932 Tipo B vee drive - 1935 Bimotore vee drive-plus. Isn't this a dangerous place?..


Thanks Doug! Now I feel better about once stupidly calling an A6GCS Maserati a 200S, even though I well know the difference - and was similarly picked up by Dave McKinney (who, thankfully, also has made the odd slip here... though I can't recall an example right now).

It is indeed a dangerous place. Such errors in general conversation can easily be glossed over - or forgotten. And we proof-read what we write for publication on paper. But here, when we make silly slip-ups, we run the risk of someone reading the mistake but not the correction.

The real danger zone, I find, is 3.00 or 4.00 am, after a loooong day...

By the way, having been busy the last few weeks (good excuses, I've driven the Short Madonie, Long Madonie, Appenines, visited Kyalami circuit, Gerotek test track - and a game park, and spent a week in Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix) so have only just discovered this thread. I was interested to see your mention of the possibility of a reprint (with more pics) of DSJ's Racing Car Reviews. I spent a long time gathering a complete set many years ago, and commented on a TNF thread quite recently that I have never understood why the price of these excellent works never seems to have kept pace with many other books of the era. Whenever I have seen them for sale they seem bargain-priced to me, for the insight they offer.

I believe I have every book (and probably magazine report) that DSJ ever had published, and would certainly buy a copy of the revised version of Racing Car Review.

#42 Ian McKean

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Posted 10 March 2002 - 14:09

The Bugatti was also present at the 1956 Easter Monday meeting at Goodwood. I distinctly remember seeing it in the paddock, but maybe it non-started!

#43 Vitesse2

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Posted 11 March 2002 - 00:17

Originally posted by Ian McKean
The Bugatti was also present at the 1956 Easter Monday meeting at Goodwood. I distinctly remember seeing it in the paddock, but maybe it non-started!


I think you'll find it was Manzon's Gordini T32, Ian - the T32 and Bugatti T251 were very similar in shape.

#44 paulhooft

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Posted 11 March 2002 - 17:13

We can be 110 % sure that The Bugatti type 251 was NEVER in Any other race than the 1956 French Grand Prix.
The history of Bugatti is very well documented.
If the type 251 had been any whereelse than the 1956 Grand Prix there was a reference of its entry in at least one of the 40 Bugatti books I own, or in the countless list of articles that have been written about Bugatti.
Kindest regards
Paul

#45 Ian McKean

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Posted 11 March 2002 - 17:22

Thankyou,

I stand corrected. Can anyone post a picture of the Gordini T32 for me?

#46 Vitesse2

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Posted 11 March 2002 - 18:19

The only picture I can find on the net is of a slot car!
http://images.google...m=10&hl=en&sa=N

That's a Tripod site - to view the picture click on the link and then right-click on "Save picture as". Download and press "open" to view it.

There is also a photo of a real one on page 469 of the Georgano Encyclopaedia.

#47 paulhooft

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Posted 11 March 2002 - 19:44

If you want to see both the Bugatti type 251 and the Gordini 8 cylinder:
They are at one place!! and together at the Musee de l √Āutomobile (Schlumpf) at Mulhouse, Alsace, France.
They house 125 Bugatti's and the biggest Gordini Collection in the world: Together!!
And the Alsace is a wonderfull place to be,good Beer,great Food, Great Wines...
Vive..
Paul Hooft :)

#48 Rainer Nyberg

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Posted 11 March 2002 - 20:01

Found this drawing of the Gordini T32 :

Posted Image

#49 Roger Clark

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Posted 11 March 2002 - 20:19

Posted Image

#50 Vitesse2

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Posted 11 March 2002 - 20:29

Originally posted by Roger Clark
Posted Image


JB: "This damn thing's so fast I blew the bodywork off ...!"