I was surfing through Deviant Art this weekend and found some pretty cool computer renderings of airplanes. One in particular really struck me as clean and elegant. Then I looked at what the artist had named it – Bugatti 100. What? He named an airplane after a race car maker? That’s crazy.
So I looked up Bugatti 100 and low and behold it’s a real airplane! The car designer built one version of his futuristic airplane back in 1941. Right after completing the prototype in the second story of a furniture store in Paris, the city was invaded by the Nazis. Bugatti had the plane taken apart and hidden in the country inside an old barn. The Germans never found it and neither did anyone else for 37 years!
It now resides in the EAA Museum in Oshkosh Wisconsin. The first and only Bugatti airplane, painted Bugatti blue. The plane’s swift looks were not the only thing interesting about the design. Several elements were later used in modern fighters. Duel, rotating and counter rotating propellers, a cooling system later used by the P-51 and forward swept wings were just a few of the innovations of the Model 100.
Now the actual airplane never flew, but the design is so unique and ahead of its time, some aviation buffs in Tulsa OK, are building a replica that they intend to fly this summer for the first time. You can check out their progress here. I’ll be checking in on this team later this year to see how successful they are.