Monday, March 29, 2010

What if Bugatti made a motorcycle?

What if Bugatti had made motorcycles? I can only imagine the landscape of vintage motorcycling. Would Brough-Superior or Vincent be the top dogs? I don't know but it is nice to consider. Nice to think about if only that another top designer would have applied  his artistry to two-wheeled locomotion. We will never really know what Ettore Bugatti's efforts would have been if he had been interested in the endeavor but there are some notions if we take his T-72 bicycle motor as inspiration.

T-72 Bugatti Cyclemotor on a Peugeot Bicycle

I'll admit that I was immediately taken by this engine. Granted it's not a motorcycle but it's a start. The design of the T-72 engine reveals a great deal of the ideas and mechanical concepts going through Ettore Bugatti's mind during World War II. The T-72 cyclemotor was part of a package of engines concieved for a post-war Europe in which the Nazis were considered to win. Bugatti understood the reality of what a post-war life would be like. He knew that there would be rationing, high taxes, and a need for economical modes of travel.  The cyclemotor was joined by 370 cc T-68 mini-car and the 1.5 liter T-73 to fulfill those needs.

How would like to be the machinist?

This was not a simple engine in the mold of the Ducati Cucciolo, Velosolex, or BSA Winged Wheel. The T-72 was a 12.7cc, supercharged, twin cam engine capable of revving to 10,000 RPM. The engine was completely self-contained constructed of a single alloy casting with bosses specifically made to fit on the Peugeot bike shown above. The solex carburettor is visible on top behind the cyclinder as is the magneto at the rear. The whole system relied on the gearing of the bicycle's epicyclic hub.

It's complexity cannot be overstated. In fact, the amount of detailed machining required to produce the engine would have made this a very expensive little bike. Perhaps as some surmise, this little engine was an attempt at camouflaged luxury made to conform to the societal norms of post-war reconstruction. Unfortunately, no one will know since it never went into production.

For more detailed technical information, please go here.

Special acknowledgement goes to the Bugatti Revue and DucCutters for the pics and backround information

1 comment:

  1. Bonjour:
    Je suis très ébahis par le, cyclomoteur BUGATTI,car voila pourquoi:
    Je cherche tout ce qui concerne les réalisations EB de MOLSHEIM:
    Je suis un ancien ouvrier de l'usine BUGATTI à molsheim,j'y ai travailler pendant plus de 30
    J'aimerais savoir si vous posséder,des documents autres,car j'aurai l'intention d'écrire un livre sur tout, ce qui ne concerne pas les voitures,puisque pas,ou,peu de monde ne connais pas ces domaines:
    Je vous laisse en premier temps mon adresse e-mail,en espérant recevoir de vos nouvelles,pour établir un vrai dialogue,et vous faire connaitre mon projet réel:
    Je vous souhaite avoir, autant de plaisir et de volonté à faire revivre EB pour ces œuvres méconnues:
    Avec impatience