Photos by Bugatti
A legend turns 100 years old. With the Type 13 "Brescia", Bugatti heralded a trend reversal in motorsport in 1921. The open sports car ended the era of large and heavy racing cars. The light body, the superior chassis and the powerful engines make the Type 13 a racing car that was far ahead of its time.
100 years of the Bugatti Type 13 "Bresica"!
The open two-seater weighs just 490 kilograms and is powered by a water-cooled, almost 1,5-liter four-cylinder with initially 40 hp and later 50 hp. The racing car can go up to 150 km / h - a speed that only significantly more powerful and heavier vehicles could achieve 100 years ago. But even these had little chance before the first corner against the light and agile Type 13. Their body weighed more, the chassis was less precise and the tires seldom endured the ordeal of races for long.
Ettore Bugatti, on the other hand, discovered over 100 years ago that weight was the real enemy in motorsport and began to focus consistently on lightweight construction. He was already working on optimizing the weight of the first car built under his name, the Type 10. The Type 1910 was created from 13 onwards and has been continuously developed and optimized over the years. With the Type 13 "Brescia", Bugatti improved the Type 1921 from 13, which has been equipped with a 1914-liter engine since 1,35. Due to the First World War, production stopped a short time later, so that Bugatti only developed a slightly revised model after the war in 1919. Now with 1.368 cc displacement, modern four-valve technology, vertical shaft and 30 hp. This makes the Type 13 one of the first automobiles with four-valve technology. White metal for the crankshaft bearings and pistons were just as new 100 years ago as a gasoline pump and a pump that sprayed oil on selected components. A light and easy-to-shift four-speed gearbox makes it easier for the driver to change gears.
Two years later, Ettore Bugatti increased the cylinder bore to 68 millimeters, which increased the engine's volume to 1.453 cc. In addition to the production car, he designed a vehicle for competitions. To do this, he continues to fine-tune the details, including using ball bearings to make the crankshaft run more smoothly, increasing the compression of the engines, the flow rate of the carburetor and using a magnetic double ignition for two spark plugs per combustion chamber. In this way, the racing engine plays over the inertia of the sparks at high speeds from initially 2.700 rpm to later up to 4.500 rpm and ensures reliable and powerful combustion. The Type 13 hangs well on the gas and can be easily navigated through curves thanks to extremely precise steering. Light wire-spoke wheels instead of heavy wooden wheels reduce the unsprung mass and increase agility.
Fast and technically superior
"What defines Bugatti vehicles 100 years ago are the high quality of materials and workmanship," says Luigi Galli, Specialist Heritage & Certification at Bugatti. "This made the legendary Type 13 not only the fastest, but also the most agile and most reliable vehicle on the Grand Prix racetracks of the last century and caused a sensation on its first drives in the early 1920s."
The model celebrated its greatest triumph at the Grand Prix of Voiturettes in Brescia in September 1921 and cemented its unbeatability. Four Type 13s reached the first four places - the famous victory became synonymous with the model. Til today. In the 1920s, the vehicles won almost every competition in which they took part. The light and powerful sports cars from Molsheim are superior to the competition, especially in the tough road and hill climbs with their tight bends, poor pavement, potholes, sand and swirling stones.
With the Type 13, Bugatti heralded a golden decade and flourished as a company. In the next few years, the French manufacturer sold 711 vehicles of this type with the 16-valve racing engine, plus an additional 388 vehicles with engines that have a smoothly rotating crankshaft with ball bearings. Bugatti continued to successfully implement the Type 13 concept with other vehicle lengths, such as the Type 15, Type 17, Type 22 and Type 23. The Type 1926 was built in Molsheim by 13, and Bugatti sold a total of around 2.000 of the model. From 1925 onwards, the employees assembled the Type 35. It continued the successful series and followed the tire tracks of its legendary predecessor. Over the next few years, with over 2.000 victories, it will become the most successful racing car of all time.
an important part of the Bugatti company history
To this day, the brand's glorious Grand Prix days are an important part of Bugatti's corporate history, and historic models such as the Type 13 and Type 35 are a source of inspiration for modern hyper sports cars. Even if these are no longer built for automobile races, they are in no way inferior to historical racing vehicles in terms of speed, agility and outstanding quality. Since the end of 2020, a hyper sports car has been produced in the atelier at the brand's headquarters in Molsheim, which virtually embodies its ancestors: the Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport. With its optimized aerodynamics, its shorter gearbox and its completely new tires, the most agile member of the Chiron family brings the performance of its legendary predecessors back to the streets of today. The base price of the production version of the hyper sports car, which is limited to 60 pieces, is three million euros (net).
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100 years of Bugatti Type 13 Bresica!
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