Close to 35-40 years ago I used to build model cars. I accumulated a decent collection and one day when I visited the Newport Auto Museum I mentioned that to the owner. He wanted to see them which pleased me quite a lot. The following week or so, I took about 5-6 models and visited the museum again. The owner looked at them all and offered to buy them from me! He offered something like $125 for all and I accepted the offer. He put all in the display case but one. He took the Bugatti Royale and put it in a case behind him and said that was his collection. I was very pleased that he liked my models and that I made a huge amount of money!
After the initial excitement wore off, I wished I kept the Bugatti but thought I would build another one. To my surprise, Entex stopped making the Bugatti kits and I never got around to building the next one. That is until I found the model kit on eBay about 5-6 years ago and purchased it. Last September I started building it. It was a well-made kit and parts fitted nicely with plenty of detail. I wanted a good paint job and did not have a ventilated area for me to give it a shot. So, I took it to my auto body shop and asked David, the owner, if he could have this painted for me. He kindly agreed and I left the fenders, the cabin, the hood, and the doors with him and left. That was in October.
I continued building the chassis, the engine, and the parts that could stand alone and wait to be attached to the appropriate place later on. But, I could not go any further because the chassis needed to be attached to the fenders before other parts could be glued. David, being a busy owner of a busy body shop could not get to it for a few months. But, when I picked them up, they were glass like black and decent detailing on the hood and the doors’ white parts.
Working on it off and on, I managed to finish it today! Along with some photographs, I would like to provide some information about the Royale. First, I would like to start with a few photographs Jan took of me and the model.
Bugatti Type 41
Ettore Bugatti was famous for building truly exotic cars for the royalty and the wealthy. His cars also won many races, more than the names of the era, the Ferraris and the like. He decided to build a car that would be bigger, more powerful, and luxurious than any other and Type 41 was born.
It was immense, measuring close to 21′ (close to 6.5 m) and weighing about 7,000lbs (3,175 kg) it sported a 12,763 cc (12.7 L) (779 cu in.) straight 8 cylinder engine with 275–300 hp. With these specs, it was the biggest, heaviest, most powerful car built in its day and quite likely still one of those in that class if not alone there. Between 1927 to 1933, there were 7 Type 41’s built and the chassis number 41111 was known as Royale Esders Roadster. Later, the coach was rebuilt and named Coupé de Ville Binder in reference to the builder of the second coach. All Type 41’s were sold as a chassis only with the presumption that the owner would like to have the coach built to taste. The price of the chassis only was $30,000 in 1927!
Today, out of the original 7 Type 41’s only 6 exist, and I saw one in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI in 1969 and was quite amazed. Its tires were about up to my hips and the car was immense! Later on, I would see another Bugatti, the Type 57S Atlantic which is quite likely the most gorgeous car ever built. At the same time, I saw the Atlantic, there was also a Type 39.
Today, owned by the Volkswagen group, Bugatti still makes very exotic cars that are extremely fast and gorgeous to look at. Here are two more Bugatti’s that I photographed at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts when they exhibited Ralph Lauren’s extensive car collection. You will see the Type 39 Grand Prix and Type 57 Atlantic. You can view more on the Bugatti website.
Well, enough of the statistics, here are the photographs showing my Type 41 Royale in various stages of completion. Only those that show the hood ornament, the elephant designed by Ettore’s brother Rembrandt Bugatti are the completed model.