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COMMISSIONED BY Ettore Bugatti and designed by Belgian engineer Louis de Monge, the Bugatti 100P was considerably advanced in its 1937 conception.
Features of the aircraft included a sandwich construction of wood (predating the British de Havilland Mosquito’s); centrally mounted dual Bugatti Type 50 straight-eights powering counter-rotating propellers; and wing flap/dive brakes automatically keyed to airspeed, throttle and gear.
Only World War II precluded the aircraft’s development. The 100P spent the war hidden in a French barn.
Decades later, Scotty Wilson, an aircraft enthusiast in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, recognized that Ettore Bugatti built 8000 exquisite automobiles, but only a single aircraft. Yet what an aircraft!
Scotty knew that the original 100P now residing in the EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, was fragile and unflyable. His dream is to fabricate—and fly!—a replica of this 100P.
To fund his Reve Bleu (Blue Dream, after French, rêve), Scotty turned to Kickstarter. Nearly 600 backers, including your author, contributed to Project 100P, each of us rewarded variously depending on the contribution level. (See http://goo.gl/ZZguP for details of this successful Kickstarter project.)
One of my rewards was a fine giclée print, Bugatti Rendezvous. It portrays the 100P flying past, its photographer and spectators standing next to a Type 57SC Atlantic.
Another reward came in viewing the Reve Bleu replica at The Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California, about 65 miles west-northwest of Los Angeles. The Mullin’s Art of Bugatti exhibition runs from its March 28 opening to mid-December 2014, with the 100P in residence likely through at least August.
The bulkhead immediately forward of the Reve Bleu 100P’s instrument panel contains names of many of its Kickstarter contributors.
Scotty Wilson tells me the aircraft is in its final pre-flight preparations, with an inaugural flight envisioned before year’s end. After fulfilling his own Reve Bleu, Scotty expects the aircraft will find an appropriate home amidst others of le Pur Sang, the thoroughbreds of Ettore Bugatti. ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2014