Vintage & Classics

The Bugatti Type 41 Royale was a beast of massive proportions, even by today's standards

Bugatti Type 41 Royale Park Ward on display at Cité de l"Automobile national museum in Mullhouse.

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

With a price tag starting around $6 million (2020 USD) when it was new, the Bugatti Type 41 Royale was easily one of the most expensive vehicles ever made. In its heyday, it was also one of the largest and most luxurious.

For that price, buyers received a chassis with the drive and grille. The Type 41 Royale had a wheelbase of over 169 inches and an overall length of over 236 inches (that's 33 inches inches longer than a modern Honda Odyssey). The first prototype of the vehicle was built in 1926 and it was even longer than the first production measurements.

Bugatti Type 41 Royale Roadster\u200b

The Bugatti Type 41 Royale Roadster is shown off in a park.

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

Coachbuilding companies including Kellern & Cie, Weymann, Binder, Weinberger, and Park Ward then took possession of the components to complete construction.

The vehicle was wholly unique. Bugatti founder Ettore Bugatti designed an aircraft engine in 1927 on the behalf of the French government. It wasn't as strange an ask as it might seem on the surface. While he was displaced during World War One, Bugatti had spent his time designing aircrafts. After the war, he designed a railcar and continued his work on planes alongside automobiles.

Under the Type 41 Royale's hood was an engine befitting the car's size, a 12.8-liter inline eight-cylinder that achieved 300 horsepower. The initial design called for a 14.7-liter engine that was able to get the same horsepower. The 12.8-liter power plant moved the car, which could weigh as much as 3.5 tons, to about 200 km/h.

The engine was connected to a dry sump lubrications system that pumped 23 liters of oil to the required points. It required 43 liters of collar oil to keep the engine temperature just right. A vertical shaft connected the crankshaft and camshaft together, and the long crankshaft sat on nine plain bearings. To open the hood, it took two fitters to unlock it and fold it up.

\u200bBugatti Type 41 Weymann coach

This Royale model was owned by the Bugatti family and used as a daily driver.

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

The rear-wheel drive car's multi-plate dry clutch was shifted Bia a three-speed manual gearbox.

Bugatti's buyers required comfort. The company doubled the quarter elliptical suspension on the axles in order to achieve a better ride. Solid alloy wheels with slots ensured that the large brake drums did not overheat and a 200-liter gas tank ensure that the car could make it from Point A to Point B and beyond.

Though the first prototype was built in 1926, it wasn't until 1932 that Bugatti sold the first production model. Parisian industrialist Armand Esders. Esders was a unique fellow, an Antwerp native who had been sent to New York after college with a million gold francs (upwards of $2.2 million in 2020 USD) in his account with which to start a business.

Upon his return to France, Esders implemented a streamlined approach to mass manufacturing ready-to-wear clothing that was then sold at a variety of chain stores throughout Europe.

Jean Bugatti Royale

Jean Bugatti, the son of Bugatti owner Ettore, stands next to a Royale.

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

Esders had a passion for aviation and motoring. He hosted car manufacturer André Citroën and the aircraft manufacturer Henri Farman at his estate. And he owned several planes and 20 motor vehicles, including the Bugatti model that would become known as the Coupé Esders.

Ettore Bugatti's son Jean was put in charge of the coachbuilding of the Esders Royale. He gave the car large wings that ran the length of the body, a dickey seat, and eschewed headlamps. This style model became known as the Esters Roadster.

Three other vehicles with different bodies went into customer hands. Overall, a Cabriolet, a Pullman limousine, a travel limousine with a folding top and a two-door limousine were built in the few years to come. In the Coupé Napoleon, owned by Ettore and used as a personal car for a number of decades, the passenger communicated with the driver via an electrical intercom.

1932 Type 41 Royale Armand Esders

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

This 1932 Type 41 Royale, formerly owned by Esders, was shown at the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

The Royale is the only Bugatti vehicle to ever have a hood ornament. It features a dancing elephant, designed by Ettore's deceased brother Rembrandt Bugatti, a well-known artist and sculptor.

The global economic crisis of the 1930s prevented the Royale from becoming a success. Through 1933, only six models were built. Only four were sold.

Today, all six still exist. The prototype model was destroyed in an accident in 1932. The Bugatti family's Coupé Napoleon and the Limousine Park Ward, chassis 41100 and 41131 respectively, reside in the Musée National de l'Automobile de Mulhous.

The Royale Esders Roadster was renamed the Coupé de ville Binder and rebodied. It was slated to be sold to the King of Romania but World War II stopped those plans. Instead, it went to England for a few years then was brought to the U.S. and rotated among several owners. In 1999 it was purchased by Volkswagen AG, the parent company of Bugatti, and is currently used as a show vehicle.

Chassis 41121 was dubbed the Cabriolet Weinberger and lived a colorful life, traveling the world with owner Josef Fuchs, a German obstetrician. Collector Charles Chayne, who would later become vice-president of Corporate Engineering at General Motors, found the car in a scrap yard in New York in 1946 and purchased it for $75. Today, the car resides at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.

The two unsold Bugattis, chassis 41100 and 41150, were named the Kellner car and Berline de Voyage, respectively. They were bricked up during World War II to keep them from being procured by the Nazis. Following the war, the cars were sold together to American Le Mans racer Briggs Cunningham, in return for the equivalent of $571 USD and a pair of new General Electric refrigerators. Today, the models are under private ownership.

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This gorgeous 911 sports a rebuilt title.

Cars and Bids

Values of even less desirable Porsche 911 models have skyrocketed in recent years, but the early- to mid-1990s cars have always been special. This one falls well within the parameters, though it's got a backstory that will turn many buyers away. This 1991 Porsche 911 has a rebuilt Texas title, and as one commenter noted, the issue could be the result of a collision with a deer.

Rebuilt title or not, this car's quite the looker. It wears Grand Prix White over black leather, and it feature power windows and exterior mirrors, a sunroof, and a unique Turbo body kit. It has been modified, although lightly, with 18-inch wheels, power front seats, and a new stereo system. Under the rear engine cover lies a turbocharged 3.3-liter flat-six that makes 315 horsepower. It's connected to the rear wheels via a five-speed manual transmission.

1991 Porsche 911This is one of the most iconic sports car silhouettes ever.Cars and Bids

This car's apparently flaw-free appearance hides the rather nasty fact that it has a rebuilt title. A detail-oriented commenter on the auction mentioned finding information on the car's damage, including repairs performed after a collision with a deer and subsequent hair removal. We'll let you decide how that impacts your feelings on the car.

1991 Porsche 911The interior looks untouched, though those are replacement seats.Cars and Bids

If it's any indication of how valuable a good condition example of this car would be, it was bid to $95,000 with a rebuilt title and still didn't meet the reserve price. While it's a bummer for those hoping their bid would be the one, cars like this do occasionally pop up without deer damage, so it's worth keeping your eyes open.

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The Wildcat is a new electric concept from Buick.

Buick

Buick, the automaker whose lineup consists entirely of middle-of-the-road SUVs, has just come out with something unexpected. Today, the storied American automaker announced a new EV concept that revives a historic name from its catalog. The Wildcat was introduced in the early 1950s and has just returned on a sharp, futuristic EV.

Buick Wildcat ConceptThe car will help Buick test and validate new tech like artificial intelligence. Buick

The concept’s interior features a classic 2+2 seating configuration, with two front and two rear seats. An extended center console stretches through both rows of seating, and the cockpit-style seats feature cantilevered headrests. Buick says it focused heavily on color and the level of comfort it conveys. Green accents highlight many parts of the interior, and orange contrasts can be found throughout, including on the seatbelts.

The Wildcat features a large curved display that integrates the gauge cluster and infotainment unit into one panel. The air vents and all physical controls are hidden in an interesting and elaborate dash, and Buick says the car is designed to be a platform for future technologies like artificial intelligence, biometrics, and aromatherapy.

Buick Wildcat ConceptThe Wildcat's interior is futuristic and almost completely devoid of buttons.Buick

Buick will become an all-electric brand in the future, and though the Wildcat is just a concept, we’re likely to see many of its features make their way into production models. We don’t have any details on whether or not a version of the car will make it into production, though if it does, it’s unlikely to wear the Wildcat name, as of the automaker’s other models feature sedate names.

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