El Bugatti International Meeting it is celebrated every year in a different country. Two years ago they visited our country, and the (damn) exams did not allow me to come to see them. But time had a very good surprise in store for me: the chosen destination this year was Scotland, on a date when I was there.
Seeing a Bugatti without waiting is exciting. One "bundles" to take photos, to talk with the owner (if you are lucky enough to see him stopped), and even wait for it to start again to make a video of the car in motion, and if possible, fill yourself with smoke.
Something like this happened to me a few weeks ago in Edinburgh, the capital of Aescia, but multiplied ... by more than 50! So much so that I came home with a smell similar to the one you have when you have spent the day locked in a workshop testing an old car.
It took me almost by surprise despite being well informed about the motor events that were held in that country, and when I asked the organizers why there was almost total absence of publicity for an event of this caliber, the answer was very simple. : "In recent editions we have decided that given the high value of the cars gathered, it is better not to publicize it too much."
Scotland is a cold and humid country but it offers some truly impressive landscapes, monuments and roads. To this is added the one that is a fairly quiet place, without traffic jams, and, finally, the one that this year celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Bugatti Owners Club, the most important of the brand and which has British origins, so that it was clear that the choice of place in this edition was going to be on the other side of the English Channel.
The event spanned a full week (June 16-22) and covered virtually all of Scotland for a total of almost 600 miles. The country of Loch Ness (a place that was also visited) is not as large as it seems, so that the planned route many times came to describe circles around the same area, something that with the variety of landscapes that Scottish orography offers not It must have been the cause of a problem.
As usually happens in these types of meetings, participation is the most varied in terms of origin and diversity of models. This year there were registered owners from more than 16 countries, and practically every Bugatti model before 1945 could be seen.
Indeed, in this edition none of the current “Veyrons” participated, which in my humble opinion are quite out of tune in this type of event ... but there weren't even any of the Type 101s from the 50s; absolutely all Bugatti present were pre-WWII models.
In this kind of rolling monothematic museum you could see almost all the pre-war Bugatti, except for unique models such as the Type 43 all-wheel drive, the early Type 15 or 17 before the famous “Brescia” or the gigantic Royale, normally impossible to see. outside the museums.
Among all of them it is difficult to highlight any, but a very rare Type 59 from the mid-30s was particularly striking, a true Formula 1 of its time with a narrow cockpit in which to do 600 miles should not be exactly comfortable.
Used in its day by steering wheel aces such as Tazio Nuvolari, it mounts a 8 cc inline 3.257-cylinder, double overhead camshaft and compressor that delivers 250 hp of power. Their aluminum rims with a fine network of cables also attracted powerfully attention, which in "Bugattista" circles are known as "piano rims", perhaps because their design is reminiscent of the complicated interior of these instruments.
Its lucky and friendly owners were in good shape and willing to continue making long trips in their racing car. Faced with the perhaps indiscreet question of whether the car was original, they commented without any problem that it is a "rebuild" with new parts from the original chassis number 8, the last one built in 1935.
This is a question that is certainly taboo in the Bugattis world, Since for years practically all the parts necessary to assemble, for example, a complete T35 have been manufactured new.
For this reason, despite the very high level of the event, the sneak Unoriginal vehicles: See if not the extravagant Type 57 SC body in exposed aluminum. The car attracted the attention of many public thanks to its shiny sport body topped with numerous rivets and leather details, but it was still a curious concoction.
The bodywork is a replica based on the famous 1/18 scale Burago model that so many have had in our showcases, and which in turn reproduces a Bugatti that is currently on display in the Shinsheim museum. The participating car also had numerous invented details and the chassis was probably of recent manufacture, although this time it was, faithfully copying the original.
Even the organizer had no problem commenting openly to a T37 with matte paint and some chips that "it is much less old than the owner wants to appear" and this is something that happens frequently, especially in the coveted models of competition.
Like the organizers, usually the owners with whom I had the opportunity to speak (and there were many) they showed uncommon kindness and sympathy, especially as soon as some knowledge about his car was demonstrated, even if it was minimal.
It was not uncommon for them to offer to explain the operation of this or that dashboard control, such as the indispensable lever to give pressure to the oil circuit that all Bugattis have until well into the 30s, and that it is common to have to use before every start, or open the hood to show the engine, or tell the story of a car that has been in the same family for years and years.
This was the case with an old T30 from 1924, whose elderly owner explained that she had bought the car in 1958 and that since then she had not received a single coat of paint. However, all that glitters is not gold, and this highly original looking car had received a modification to its rear: it was a Roadster, but due to space problems it was modified creating a curled tail in the 60s.
It was also curious to see how entire families participated scattered in different Bugattis, or the presence of familiar faces in this world such as that of the North American Peter Mullin.
Recently it has been spoken in The Escudería about the museum that this wealthy collector owns in California, It was no less impressive to see the team of mechanics and assistants that had been brought from the USA to Scotland to always have their precious T55 ready.
This particular car has a well-known history that includes a participation in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1934, a race that never ended. Its originality and past made it reach a price of 2.097.500 euros when it was auctioned four years ago by the renowned Bonhams house.
I, however, amid both thoroughbreds and imposing devices, if I were given a choice, I think I would stick with the small T40 roadster from 1929. Its careful restoration and the attractive color combination on the graceful bodywork designed by Jean Bugatti made me pass a good time around it, although its performance and sound are not as spectacular as those of other models.
It must be that I have rather strange tastes, because it is true that while driving the roars and the strong smell of oil and gasoline of the competition models are much more enjoyed, which goes "in crescendo" from the small 37-cylinder T4s to the brutality of the 51-cylinder Type 8 twin cam, passing through the famous T35, Brescia ... Actually, why fool us, Any Bugatti in motion produces indescribable sensations!