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Bugatti Type 18 'Black Bess ' or 'Roland Garros Bugatti' 1913

Seven Bugatti Type 18 were built between 1912 and 1913. Only three examples are surviving today. This example was sold in 1913 to the French aviator Rolland Garros; in the same year Rolland Garros was the first aviator to cross the Mediterranean Sea in a non stop flight on board of his Morane-Saulnier. This Bugatti Type 18 is the fourth model delivered. In 1922 it was sold to racing driver Ivy Cummins who nicknamed the car ‘Black Bess’ after highwayman Dick Turpin’s legendary black steed.

Technically the Bugatti Type 18 is fascinating and a precursor of things to come from Bugatti’s design board. The four-cylinder engine displaced 5,027cc (bore 100mm and stroke 160mm) and the single overhead camshaft was driven by a vertical shaft from the front of the three bearing crankshaft. Bugatti’s appreciation of the importance of the induction side of the engine resulted in two inlet valves and one exhaust valve per cylinder. Some 100bhp was claimed at 2,400rpm. Drive is transmitted through a multi-plate, metal-to-metal clutch to a four-speed and reverse gearbox, with final drive by exposed side-chains. It is the only chain-driven Bugatti ever built.

Discounting contemporary convention, Bugatti adopted double semi-elliptic leaf front springs and reversed quarter elliptic rear springs – shades of things to come. Potentially the Type 18 had a top speed of 100mph (160 kph) but performance could be readily varied by the simple expedient of changing chain sprockets.

The coachwork is by Henry Labourdette. The two passenger's seating is staggered in this narrow body. This Bugatti Type 18 is the property of Louwman Museum.

During the Retromobile 2009, this Bugatti Type 18 'Black Bess' was sold for 2.427.500 Euros at the Bonhams Auction.

Roland Garros was a very keen tennis player; the French Open, a Grand Slam tournament, was named after him in 1927.

Wallpapers: Bugatti Type 18 Black Bess 1913 (click on image to enlarge)

Bugatti Type 18 Black Bess 1913 Bugatti Type 18 Black Bess 1913 Bugatti Type 18 Black Bess 1913
Bugatti Type 18 Black Bess 1913   Bugatti Type 18 Black Bess 1913
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