Updated: Mar 9
This more graphic Bugatti Grand Sport poster, showing the strong influence of the great French graphic artist A. M. Cassandre, represents the famous grille of the Bugatti Type 43 Grand Sport.
It is often assumed that the shape of the Bugatti grille evolved from a horseshoe, given Ettore Bugatti’s famous passion for horses. In fact, Ettore’s father Carlo, a furniture designer, considered the egg to be the most perfect natural form, integrating it into many of his pieces of furniture. This belief was taken up by Carlo’s son when he came to design his first successful car, the Type 13 Brescia, which first appeared in 1914. The egg-shape, whilst perhaps not as resonant with thunderous and galloping equine power as the horseshoe, was nonetheless incorporated into the radiator grille of that model, and has remained as the recognisable feature of Bugattis ever since.
The Type 43, part of the Bugatti family of 8-cylinder cars, utilised the supercharged 2.3 litre engine that was already powering the hugely successful Type 35B, and the chassis from the Type 38. It was, in effect, a road going version of the Type 35 Grand Prix racing car.
This car was in production from 1927 to 1931, and throughout its time, one hundred and sixty of these cars were built. It was recognised as the world’s first 100 mph car, recording a top speed of 110 mph. This while most of the fast cars in production at the time could top no more than 70 mph.
Not surprisingly, The Type 43 became enormously successful in sports car racing events, whether entered by private owners or by the factory. Among these were entries by Grand Prix champion, Lord Howe, and World Speed Record Holder, Malcolm Campbell, at the Essex Six Hour race at Brooklands and the RAC Tourist Trophy near Belfast.