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#1 D-Type

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Posted 20 December 2013 - 23:32

Legend has it that Ettore Bugatti described the Bentley as  "The world's fastest lorry". But does anybody know which model he was talking about?  Or when he said it?

 

Just wondering.

 



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#2 elansprint72

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 01:46

In answer to both of your questions; yes.

 

Google is your friend. No wonder this forum is going down the pan, Duncan.



#3 Tim Murray

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 07:26

Well, I've googled, and I'm none the wiser. Some sites say it was about the 3-litre, some say the 4.5-litre, whilst most say it was said in general terms about all Bentleys. Having noted some glaring errors on some of those sites, I'd appreciate something definitive from a reliable source.

#4 D-Type

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 07:44

In answer to both of your questions; yes.

 

Google is your friend. No wonder this forum is going down the pan, Duncan.

Naturally, I did check Google first.  But the answers were inconclusive, hence I opened the thread.



#5 Allan Lupton

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 09:17

Google is not much of a friend, as Duncan says.

If one assumes that Bugatti, if he said it at all, probably said it in French and Google "le camion plus vite" du monde you get many hits but the same text is repeated many times, so not much help there.

As a resident of Alsace, and formerly working in Cologne, he perhaps it in German said: "der schnellste Lastwagen"  der Welt gives many of the same hits in translation, so not much help there either.

Italian might be favourite as EB's mother tongue, but my command of that language isn't even up to translating the famous comment.



#6 Vitesse2

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 10:10

I can't offer a definitive answer, but a possible theory. Bugatti did not get involved with Le Mans until 1931, when he entered three of the new T50S model for Conelli/Rost, Chiron/Varzi and Divo/Bouriat. Bentley had won the previous four races, so one can imagine that French pride was more than a little hurt.

 

So, not difficult to envisage a situation in 1930-31 where a French journalist asks Le Patron if his new cars can beat the all-conquering British machines. Perhaps shortly after the 1930 French GP, when Birkin had come second in the French GP in a Bentley. Bugatti then dismisses the question with a smile: "Of course. After all, their so-called cars are merely the fastest lorries in the world. Whereas my new cars ..." etc, etc.

 

Of course, we now know that Bentley were in deep financial trouble over that winter. Probably Bugatti did too, so he could safely dismiss them as no threat, knowing they would very likely not be at La Sarthe in 1931?

 

I suspect, though, that like "... und ein Bier für Lang" this may be untraceable (although I have a theory about that one too!)



#7 D-Type

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 21:29

I can't offer a definitive answer, but a possible theory. Bugatti did not get involved with Le Mans until 1931, when he entered three of the new T50S model for Conelli/Rost, Chiron/Varzi and Divo/Bouriat. Bentley had won the previous four races, so one can imagine that French pride was more than a little hurt.

 

So, not difficult to envisage a situation in 1930-31 where a French journalist asks Le Patron if his new cars can beat the all-conquering British machines. Perhaps shortly after the 1930 French GP, when Birkin had come second in the French GP in a Bentley. Bugatti then dismisses the question with a smile: "Of course. After all, their so-called cars are merely the fastest lorries in the world. Whereas my new cars ..." etc, etc.

 

Of course, we now know that Bentley were in deep financial trouble over that winter. Probably Bugatti did too, so he could safely dismiss them as no threat, knowing they would very likely not be at La Sarthe in 1931?

 

I suspect, though, that like "... und ein Bier für Lang" this may be untraceable (although I have a theory about that one too!)

 

Except that Ettore Bugatti announced the Royale in 1926 and first sold one in 1932.  Having produced a car as large as that, he could hardly criticise the Bentleys for their size and lorry-like construction.  Which suggests Bugatti must have said it [if he ever did] at some date prior to 1926 and would therefore have been referring to the 3 litre,



#8 Vitesse2

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 22:21

True enough, Duncan. But the Royale was never conceived as a racing car ...



#9 Glengavel

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 22:39

True enough, Duncan. But the Royale was never conceived as a racing car ...

 

Technically, isn't it a locomotive?



#10 Vitesse2

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 22:50

Technically, isn't it a locomotive?

Only when four of the unwanted engines were fitted in one of these :)

 

496943_original.jpg



#11 Terry Walker

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 01:19

So THAT's what the Bugatti railcars looked like! Never seen one before.  Now to buy up a second-hand railcar donk, stoke up the machine shop, and build the eighth (or is it ninth) Royale. On second thoughts, just buy a complete railcar, add steerable wheels, rubber tyres, and call it the worlds fastest campervan...



#12 D-Type

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 10:14

True enough, Duncan. But the Royale was never conceived as a racing car ...

Technically, I suppose the Bentleys weren't either - they were intended to be fast touring cars.  And didn't WO Bentley learn his profession in a locomotive works? 

 

I like the "World's fastest campervan" concept - Picture Ernie Becclestone's face if a team brought it into the F1 paddock and trumped Red Bull :lol:

 

On reflection, might Bugatti's comment actually have been a backhanded compliment related to Birkin's performance with the 'blower' Bentley in the 1930 French GP?



#13 elansprint72

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 16:23

http://fr.wikipedia....Bugatti_Type_35

 

Scroll down until you see a photo of a 35c nose-down in the river, then two paragraphs further... there is the answer.

 

That's if you believe Wiki,  or is that weekee?   ;)

 

Merry Christmas everyone.



#14 Vitesse2

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 17:00



http://fr.wikipedia....Bugatti_Type_35

 

Scroll down until you see a photo of a 35c nose-down in the river, then two paragraphs further... there is the answer.

 

That's if you believe Wiki,  or is that weekee?   ;)

 

Merry Christmas everyone.

Hmm, sourced to links to archived pages from Car Middle East and Classic Driver - the former stating erroneously that "Ettore Bugatti'[s] ... own team of lightweight racers vied for supremacy at Le Mans 24 Hour races in the late 1920s" and the latter saying nothing about the GP de l'ACF at all!

 

Not exactly what I'd call a primary source  ;)



#15 Marticelli

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Posted 26 December 2013 - 23:49

Its a bit OT I know (appropriately enough for such a thing!!) but there is a railcar in the excellent Verkehrshaus Museum in Luzern (or Lucerne if you prefer), and while there you can also view the fabulous eight cylinder 13 litre car built for one of the Dufaux freres to enter the 1904 Gordon Bennett but sidelined after a mishap at the weighing in so it never raced.  It was possbily the first ever eight cylinder racer...

 

Marticelli



#16 Roger Clark

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 23:46

David Venables, in Bugatti, A Racing History says of the 1929 Le Mans 24-hour race:

"Ettore Bugatti attended the race, which was the occasion of his apocryphal comment, 'Mr Bentley is a very clever man to make his lorries go so fast'. When this appeared in the press, Bugatti was deeply concerned, he wrote to W. O. Bentley immediately, dissociating himself from the remark, which he was emphatic he did not make and apologised to Bentley for any distress that the report might have caused."

#17 D-Type

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 14:32

Thanks Roger,

So he probably did not say it (at least for public consumption!).  And he was allegedly referring to the Speed Six or the 4½. 

Incidentally, my query was prompted by a statement that Bugatti was referring to the 3-litre, which didn't ring true.


Edited by D-Type, 28 December 2013 - 14:36.


#18 onelung

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Posted 29 December 2013 - 01:30

So THAT's what the Bugatti railcars looked like! Never seen one before.  Now to buy up a second-hand railcar donk, stoke up the machine shop, and build the eighth (or is it ninth) Royale. On second thoughts, just buy a complete railcar, add steerable wheels, rubber tyres, and call it the worlds fastest campervan...

Hi Terry - the bonus of visiting the Schlumpf collection in Mulhouse, is that the French National Railway Museum is located there as well. It's magnificent.

Season's greetings and best wishes to you and all TNF'rs.

Geoff.

0tpa.jpg



#19 Geoff E

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Posted 06 November 2018 - 21:37

"A talk which includes the friendship between Sir Nigel Gresley and Ettore Bugatti"

 

https://www.gwsr.com...he North v2.pdf



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#20 Patrick Fletcher

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Posted 08 November 2018 - 09:15

There had to be a Lorry Boys beer somewhere.

 

 https://hopsrightin....-boys-pale-ale/



#21 Odseybod

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Posted 08 November 2018 - 10:49

"A talk which includes the friendship between Sir Nigel Gresley and Ettore Bugatti"

 

https://www.gwsr.com...he North v2.pdf

 

 

Just for completeness, the shell of the newly built P2 "Prince of Wales" was recently rolled out of its Darlington workshops. Now on all 12 of its wheels, 'just' needs its boiler (same as Tornado's), cylinders and valvegear plus cab fittings, etc - altogether the most difficult and expensive parts of the project.



#22 Cynic2

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Posted 08 November 2018 - 23:41

I would never describe a Bentley of the period as a "lorry," but I have seen photos of an Eight-Liter with a sedan body which might come close ....



#23 David Birchall

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Posted 09 November 2018 - 02:23

I think you are being overly cynical...

 

That the designer/constructor of a state-of the-then-art racing car should complain after being seriously threatened by an example of the "Old School" racing car (Tim Birkin's Bentley at the French GP) is surely (Shirley) not surprising.  That Bugatti apologised to Bentley is more an example of the true nature of the times, and possibly more important.

 

Two schools of thought in competition.



#24 Doug Nye

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Posted 09 November 2018 - 21:30

One of the few things in the vintage car world over which Phil Hill and I never saw eye to eye involved the matter of Bugatti versus Bentley.

 

Having had such exposure to Gordon Murray and the McLaren F1 road car programme - in which weight-saving was absolutely paramount - I could only regard the small, light, agile Bugatti Type 35 as exemplifying an intelligent grasp of practical physics, while in stark contrast it seemed that almost every Bentley component seems gratuitously heavy.

 

Of course W.O. built cars which were massive and rugged to add margins for reliability intending to survive 24 hours of hard pounding over often rough roads.  If his products were lorries then Bugatti's were skippy little whippets, dancing around those same rough roads on tippy toe.  

 

Phil loved his ex-Amherst Villiers 'Blower' Bentley and dismissed any reservations - as above - from me. I still remain unconvinced.

 

But the best story about Phil and his Bentley came from the time when he and Dan Gurney co-drove it back to LA from the Monterey Classics meeting. En route - cruising at around 85-90mph - they came upon a convoy of De Tomaso Pantera fans, also heading south in their pride and joys.  Imagine their shock as this big green Vintage lorry thundered past, up around 110mph by this time, crewed by two old-timers... According to Phil some of the braver Pantera owners gave chase, only to be pulled over almost immediately by a 'black and white' with red and blue lights flashing wildly, and the Cop on board distinctly unamused.  He'd probably shaken his head in disbelief as the old crock thundered past, but then recovered in time to flag down the anti-social supercars he recognised.

 

Phil and Dan had stopped at a roadside diner some miles further on, and were already on their dessert course by the time the first of the chastened Panteras drew into the car park. When those drivers recognised exactly who it was that had just so embarrassed them, the atmosphere cheered up considerably. 

 

Love them or loathe them - those Cricklewood locomotives could certainly perform.

 

DCN



#25 David Birchall

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Posted 10 November 2018 - 02:01

I was present at the Monterey Historics on the weekend that DCN mentions.  Phil Hill's performance in the Blower Bentley was the thrill of the weekend.  He HURLED the Bentley around Laguna Seca!  At the end of the race no other car, Bentley, Bugatti, Lagonda, Mercedes, etc were on even the same lap!



#26 Charlieman

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Posted 10 November 2018 - 11:11

When researching technical features of vintage Bentleys last year, I came across this fascinating restoration article:

 

http://vintagebentle...ompensator.html

 

Those cars were certainly built to stand up to harsh treatment!