Bringing the Bugatti 100P back to life: Bid to rebuild amazing 500mph WWII plane that could have won Germany the war

Image Source: Bugatti 100P Facebook page

Image Source: Bugatti 100P Facebook page
Image Source: Bugatti 100P Facebook page

A team of engineers are working together to replicate the Bugatti Veyron (or Bugatti 100P), an art deco-era fighter plane that was designed for WWII that would have broken the air speed record in 1940. Only, the plane was never flown.

The plane was designed and built by Italian sports car designer, Ettore Bugatti and Louis de Mongue. The plane featured cutting edge technology for its time. It included two eight-cylinder 4.9 liter race car engines which produces 450 horsepower each, according to the Daily Mail.

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Though this plane was boasted to be the fasted of its time, it was not ready in time for the September 1939 deadline to enter the Coupe Deutsch aircraft race. The plane featured forward pitched wings, a zero-drag cooling system and computer-directed flight control. The plan was capable of reaching an air speed of approximately 500mph. The reigning air speed record of the time was 469mph which was set by a German Messerschmitt plane in 1939.

The French government knew about the plan and believed that one of Hitler’s ministers, Albert Speer, also knew about the existence of the plane.

If the Germans had been able to obtain the Bugatti, it was believed that the plane could have outperformed the British Supermarine Spitfire plans during the Battle of Britain.

The Bugatti 100P is now housed at the EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Because it is too fragile to be used, a group of airplane enthusiasts have created a replica of the plane with the help of crowd-funding from the Kickstarter Community. The community was able to raise $62,500 by May 2013.

The new plane has been made by a team of engineers in Oklahoma with the help from former RAF engineer John Lawson. Lawson worked on the Vulcan bomber and now runs a model-making company in Nottingham.

The International Business Times reports that the team wished to recreate and share the plan which has been called “Le Rêve Bleu” (the Blue Dream) so that they could display the unique 1930s design.

"Bugattii100display" by FlugKerl2 - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -
“Bugattii100display” by FlugKerl2 – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

“Why would anyone undertake to build a replica of an airplane that never flew and for which there are no known plans and few relevant drawings? We could make a good argument for building a replica Bugatti 100P based solely upon its heritage. After all, Ettore Bugatti built only one airplane,” the team writes on the official Bugatti 100P website.

“The only way we can revisit the classic era of aviation and fly this airplane is to recreate the Bugatti 100P ourselves and share that experience with enthusiasts everywhere!”

Temporarily installed the instrument panel to measure and fit the electrical wiring. Facebook / Bugatti 100p page
Temporarily installed the instrument panel to measure and fit the electrical wiring. Source: Facebook / Bugatti 100p page

The recreation of the plan is aerodynamically and dimensionally identical to the original plane. It uses similar materials and elements of the original patents meant for the Bugatti 100P, as well as a gearbox specially designed by Lawson.

The completed replica will fly a little slower than the original because it is equipped with two Suzuki Hayabusa motorbike engines which produces 200 horsepower each. So the plane will fly at a speed below 300 mph.

You can follow the restoration on the Bugatti 100P Facebook Page

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