Buggati's jewel: the most expensive vehicle in the world!
Back in the 1920s, Bugatti has managed to create one of the most luxurious vehicles in the world! First revealed in 1926, the Type 41 Royale was the largest and most advanced vehicle in the segment. Let's find out more, shall we?
With a wheelbase of 4.3 meters and a length of over six meters, Royale was the largest and most powerful vehicle ever created in Molsheim. With a price three times exceeding this of a similar limousine, the Royale was also 10 times more expensive, compared to other Bugatti models.
Everything about this vehicle was unique: the engineers have installed an aircraft engine that company founder Ettore Bugatti has personally designed in 1927 served as a blueprint for this ambitious project. Vehicle's unit was created with a displacement of 12.8 liters and delivered a total of 300 horsepower. This exclusive engine was capable of accelerating the vehicle, which weighted up to 3.5 tons to about 200km/h. However, the maximum output was merely 1800 revolutions. There was also a dry sump lubrication system that was pumping 23 liters of oil to the required points and 43 liters of coolant oil that kept the temperature in balance.
The first prototype was built in 1926 – it featured a super long wheelbase and an even larger engine with a displacement of 14.7 liters. Some years later, back in 1932 Bugatti team has managed to sell the first Royale to a Parisian industrialist, Armand Esders. The elegant machine sheathed the eight-cylinder above the drive and the vehicle didn't feature headlights – Armand Esders wanted to dive his new vehicle only during the day. Also, the exclusion of headlights gave this more elegant expression to the overall exterior concept.
However, the Royale didn't go on to become an economic success. The economic crisis and its aftermath made even the prospective buyers hold back. Up until 1933, there were only six units built and only four of these were sold. Luckily, all six machines still exist today, including two in the Cité de l'Automobile, Schlumpf Collection, in Mulhouse, France, and one at the Bugatti Headquarters in Molsheim. Each one of the six can still be considered as one of the most prestigious and exclusive vehicle in the world. Something more should one of these be auctioned, it will automatically become the most expensive vehicle in the world!
The Royale Engines and the Express Trains
Although the production of the Royale lineup was a commercial failure, the construction was still a resounding success – Bugatti engineers modified the eight-cylinder engines and used them on different projects, for example as units of motor coaches for express trains for the French railways, known today as SNCF. Depending on the version, SNCF required two to four of these massive engines with an overall output of 200hp each. During the first test runs, the train reached 172km/h, which made it the first contemporary high-speed train. Neat!