Bugatti has been building some of the fastest vehicles in the world since 1909, but its brief history with airplane racing is less well known to many fans. It started in the '30s when founder Ettore Bugatti believed he could build a plane to win the Deutsch de la Merthe Cup Race. He worked on a design called the 100P that never flew. At least, it never flew until a group of Bugatti fanatics called Le Reve Blue decided to build an exact replica of the plane at the Mullin Automotive Museum's Art of Bugatti exhibition. The plane will make its public debut on March 25 in Oxnard, California.

The 100P was on the cutting edge for 1930s aircraft. It used two Bugatti-built 4.9-liter, straight-eight engines with 450 horsepower each to power two counter-rotating props mounted in tandem at the front of the plane. It boasts an estimated top speed of around 500 miles per hour. Other amazing features for the time included the V-shaped tail, forward-pitched wings and a zero-drag cooling system.

Le Reve Blue took on the project in 2009 to create a replica using the same materials and production processes as the original. The group decided to unveil the finished project at the Mullin because of the museum's commitment to Art Deco and machine-age design. It plans to actually fly the plane at some point in the future as well.

In addition to the 100P, the Art of Bugatti exhibition promises "among the largest assembled collection of Bugatti artifacts and automobiles." Scroll down to read the full details on the 100P replica.
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Exact Reproduction of Ground-Breaking Aircraft
Recreation of Rare Airplane to Take Flight following its Display in Southern California

Oxnard, Calif. (February 10, 2014) – The Mullin Automotive Museum, a Southern California institution devoted to the preservation of French art and automobiles from the Art Deco era, today announced it will debut the completed recreation of the Bugatti 100P airplane as part of its Art of Bugatti exhibition, a tribute to the Bugatti family's enduring genius, opening March 25, 2014.

Originally designed in collaboration with Ettore Bugatti and Belgian engineer Louis de Monge, the original 1937 Bugatti 100P is considered by many to be one of the most technologically-advanced airplanes of the era. The 100P featured cutting-edge aerodynamics with forward pitched wings, a zero-drag cooling system, and computer-directed flight controls, all predating the development of the best Allied fighters of World War II. Powered by twin 450-hp engines, the plane was designed to reach speeds approaching 500mph, a feat previously only achieved by aircraft with twice the horsepower. The 100P was also much more compact than most aircraft of the era, with a wingspan of nearly 27-feet and an overall length of approximately 25.25-feet. In June 1940, Bugatti stopped work on the 100P and concealed the plane to prevent its discovery by the German military. Though the plane survived the war, it was left in a condition unfit for flight.

In 2009, Scott Wilson, John Lawson and Simon Birney of Le Reve Blue began construction on the first ever recreation of the Bugatti 100P. Handcrafted using largely the same materials and processes as the original, the recreation is dimensionally and aerodynamically identical to the original plane and includes elements of the five patents that Bugatti was originally awarded for the 100P. The recreation was teased as under construction at AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis. in 2011, but will be seen as completed for the first time at the Mullin Automotive Museum, beginning in March 2014.

"We've searched for years to gather the best examples of the Bugatti family's work and couldn't be more thrilled to host the 100P at our museum," said Peter Mullin, Founder and Chairman of the Mullin Automotive Museum. "Bugatti has always been known for their remarkable automobiles, but the 100P is one of the missing pieces that truly shows the breadth and depth of the family's work."

"There isn't a better way to finish this project than to have the 100P be a part of the Art of Bugatti before it takes to the skies," said Scott Wilson, Le Reve Blue Managing Director. "For the first time, this incredible piece of engineering and design will receive the broad recognition it deserves, 77 years later."

The Bugatti 100P aircraft will be on display among the largest assembled collection of Bugatti artifacts and automobiles at the Art of Bugatti exhibition, opening March 2014. For further information on the Art of Bugatti at the Mullin Automotive Museum, please log onto

About the Mullin Automotive Museum

The Mullin Automotive Museum is a facility that pays homage to the art deco and machine age design eras (1918-1941) that produced exquisite art and magnificent automobiles. It officially opened its doors for the first time in the beach community of Oxnard, Calif., in spring 2010. For more information, please log onto

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 10 Months Ago
      I'm proud to say that my name (my real name) will be engraved somewhere on that plane... I participated in the Kickstarter to support finishing the build.
      • 10 Months Ago
      That 1930's designed Bugatti airplane makes those modern 21st century vehicles in the background look downright antiquated.
      • 10 Months Ago
      That has to be one of the more beautiful aircraft ever built. I am curious to hear how it flies.
      • 10 Months Ago
      The reason it never flew is that Bugatti hid it to keep it away from the Nazi's. He believed they could have taken the technology and used it to ill-effect during their reign of terror. He was a brave man for doing this. Wonderful to see it has finally been built and will be amazing to see it fly.
      • 10 Months Ago
      • 10 Months Ago
      I'm waiting for the Bugatti space shuttle featured in Elysium.
        Kay Vee
        • 10 Months Ago
        Adding the finishing touches to it in my barn as we speak. Should be ready by the end of march.
      • 10 Months Ago
      As beautiful an example of "streamline moderne" design as you'll find. Hope it performs as well as it looks.Congrats.
      • 10 Months Ago
      I've seen pictures of this in years gone by and have always been impressed by the beauty, grace and elegant design. Seeing the plane in photos only adds to the splendor of this plane. So avant garde.. I am also impressed by the performance specs on the plane. 500 mph in theory would make it one of the fastest piston driven planes ever outside of the unlimited class at Reno. Please update us on any flights this plane might make.
      • 10 Months Ago
      So...what's powering the replica? Did they find two vintage straight eights? Anyway, those were the days! It was all about innovation and there seems to have been a palpable sense of discovery. I think we're currently in a similar age of innovation--from hybrids to full electric propulsion to hydrogen to space tourism to...hell, the sky isn't even the limit anymore.
      • 10 Months Ago
      What has me amazed was that they were almost able to get 100 hp /liter. Still it's a stunning looking plane.
        • 10 Months Ago
        Please note it is a racing oriented engine fitted with a supercharger. My eyes bugged out too when I saw the power figures, but given the forced induction, it is not out of line with other technology of that era. I had to do a bit of google-sleuthing.
      Kay Vee
      • 10 Months Ago
      Definitely looks very futuristic given the era it was conceived in. My sincere support goes out to the first man/woman that has the balls to take it on it's maiden voyage. Make sure you post a video of it when that happens AB! (by the way, I thought this was AutoBlog? A Cigarette Racing boat, this airplane.. what's up guys? ;))
      • 10 Months Ago
      They were also contemplating a fighter aircraft variant back then but it never came to be. The design is very ahead for it's time.
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