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Bugatti Black Bess

This is the fifth one of the Legends and should remind one of the Bugatti Type 18. It had, in contrast to the Type 19, the reputation of being the first super-sports car which was street-legal. The year is 1912, and we're talking about an in-line four-cylinder with a capacity of five litres and producing more than 74 kW (100 HP).

Only seven were built, one of them for the aviation pioneer, Roland Garros. He had just done a successful non-stop flight across the Mediterranean. You may already have heard of him, because much later, Peugeot dedicated one of their convertibles to him.

With its 160 km/h, the car was fast, fast enough to take place in races. In its class, Ettore Bugatti won the very significant mountain race on Mont Ventoux. This was when the aviation pioneer's interest in this new car was first awakened. It was said, that on the road, it was as fast as an airplane.

As a pseudo racing car, the Type 18 was only a two-seater. Later on it would be named after an English racehorse. Three exemplars still exist. The one seen in the picture, comes from the Louwman-collection in The Hague (Netherlands).

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