Many of the best sports car scenes are found off the track and on asphalt. In fact, driving on dirt tracks is often extremely demanding. Especially if we add all the unforeseen en route and navigation problems typical of any journey through roads or deserts. Thus, even the most ardent F1 fan can recognize the worthiness of cars and drivers in events such as the Dakar or the Safari. Two races on dry terrain in the antipodes of driving on snow. Another of the specialties given in the world of rallying with such dominating models as the Audi Quattro.
One of the basic models in the history of the World Rally Championship. Responsible for striking lines thanks to the fantastic handling of its traction that Walter Röhrl, Michèle Mouton or Hannu Mikkola had. Key names for the time of Group B, who surely would not refuse the opportunity to take one of the most acclaimed racing cars of all time on snow. In fact, possibly the most. As long as we stick to the first moments of motorsport, before the arrival of the Alfa Romeo and Mercedes of the thirties.
This is the Bugatti Type 35A from 1925. Smaller compared to its competitors. Much more reliable thanks to a perfectly studied crankshaft. Lighter due to use of materials such as aluminum in the rims. And, although it can break the melody, not really very powerful since it was moving around 75CV. Much less than those offered by the versions equipped with a larger displacement engine -35B- or those equipped with a Roots compressor -35C-, which rose to 140CV. However, the Type 35A was able to perfectly combine weight and power to create a winning formula that also stood out for its good behavior and robust mechanics.
BUGATTI TYPE 35A, THE ACCESS VERSION THOUGHT FOR RACING
Among the eight versions that the Type 35 had, perhaps the Bugatti Type 35A is the most atypical of all. And it is that, far from being an improvement, its design is a simplification where elements such as the ignition, the crankshaft or the valves experienced a significant reduction in their sophistication and performance. At this point the question is obvious. Why would Ettore Bugatti want to do this when moving into the luxury car segment? Well, because his idea was not to make a few units of the Type 35. But all the possible ones. In fact, adding the eight versions, up to 640 of these racing models were manufactured.
And that was the goal: racing. At that time, most manufacturers not only cared about winning them, but also doing it with their own drivers and teams. Nevertheless, Ettore Bugatti didn't care if the checkered flag was lowered by a home rider or another from a private team. For him the important thing is that his cars were the winners. Specifically the Type 35. Not suitable for any pocket. But much more common than the Mercedes S made after 1926.
For this reason, although the figure of almost two thousand trophies won during the 35s and XNUMXs by the Type XNUMX consolidates it as the most successful pre-World War II sports car, the truth is that not only its excellent performance played a part in this, but also the large number of existing units. A strategy in which the Bugatti Type35A from 1925 has a lot to say. Released just one year after the first version at a cost one third less than it. Starting from this commercial quality and the aforementioned voracity of Ettore Bugatti when it comes to winning races ... The answer to the simplification that the Type 35A entailed is served.
THE ADVANTAGE OF SIMPLICITY
Trying to draw parallels, what happened between the Type 35 and the Type 35A is similar to what happened between the Porsche 356 and the Porsche 356 Speedster. After all, the Speedster was also conceived as a Spartan variant focused on meeting the needs of a growing number of customer-drivers. Thus, its simplicity resulted not only in a lower selling price. But also in a simpler and easier to maintain mechanics. Perfect qualities for any amateur pilot. Who also enjoyed with the Bugatti Type 35A a great power / weight ratio.
Without a doubt the key to the good performance of the model. Able to prevail over much more powerful but also heavier models. A fact of which the five consecutive victories in the Targa-Florio serve as the best example. In addition, time has given more than enough reasons regarding the reliability of the Bugatti Type 35A. Being a model that can still be seen rolling without problem in various races such as Goodwood Revival or Monaco Historique. In the latter with a position of honor. Since a Type 35 was the winner of the first edition of the Monaco GP in 1929. Of course, not in version A but in version B with a 2-liter engine.
In addition, almost a century later the Bugati Type 35As are capable of offering strong sensations on terrain as difficult as snow. An example of this is the latest video offered by the dealer Kidston. Which has us accustomed to a series of periodic productions in which the classics take to the roads wrapped in stories of short cinematography. However, in this case no more narrative thread was needed than a brief reference to the writer and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. A simple and light resource, because in truth the simple vision of this myth of the races skidding on the snow already says everything that the video wants to express.
Photographs: Kidston / Volkswagen