The Bugatti Type 35 is a racing car with pedigree and, like its new successor, a technical masterpiece: Bugatti used a crankshaft supported by two roller bearings and three ball bearings for the first time in the early 1920s – and this crankshaft was regarded as a feat of engineering. It could run at speeds of up to 6,000 rpm to power the eight pistons in the engine, which started out with a capacity of 2.0 litres. Two carburettors supplied the eight-cylinder engine with plenty of fuel; it achieved an output of around 95 PS, which was transmitted by a wet multi-plate clutch. The first Type 35 models drove at over 190 km/h, while later Type 35 B vehicles with the 2.3-litre eight-cylinder model achieved up to 140 PS thanks to a compressor. As a result, they could reach speeds beyond 215 km/h. As well as their powerful output, the engines impressed with their reliability and durability – the ideal conditions for endurance races, like the Targa Florio in the late 1920s.
Targa Florio, Type 35 and Bugatti Divo. Three legends, together at last. Bugatti is driving the Bugatti Divo around Sicily’s historic race circuit. Joining the Divo is a Type 35, the most successful racing car of all time. This marks a very special kind of meeting. Between 1925 and 1929, Bugatti and the Type 35 dominated the long-distance race on Sicily. And in 1928 and 1929, one driver in particular demonstrated what he was capable of: Albert Divo.
A good 90 years later and Andy Wallace is sitting behind the wheel of the Type 35 and working on the steering wheel. Tight corners, steep slopes and dusty tracks. The route places a few demands on the official Bugatti pilot, racing driver and Le Mans champion. “It’s incredible what racing drivers like Albert Divo managed to achieve back then. And even though the Type 35 is easy to drive for its age, it is still a constant muscle workout. There are lots of corners, all of them tight, the route is unclear and the condition of the tarmac is very poor. It’s impossible to overtake,” says Wallace. The Brit is familiar with fast cars. He has been driving and testing Bugatti cars since 2011; he spent 33 years behind the wheel as a racing driver, winning famous endurance races like the 24-hour races in Le Mans, Daytona and the Sebring 12-hours.