The Autobiography of Bugatti’s first Le Mans Car


This is the car whose introduction in 1930 heralded a new era by introducing the marque’s first twin-cam engine. The Type 50’s supercharged 4.9-liter straight-eight was prodigiously powerful – and in the days when winning the Le Mans 24 Hours required brute force, the Type 50 led the race at Bugatti’s first attempt.

The car that led that race, chassis number 50177, is the focal point of this book. The authors also tell the story of the Type 50 in general, its predecessor the Type 46, the engineering genius of Ettore and Jean Bugatti, and the talented drivers who raced 50177. The fact that this car had to be withdrawn from its leading position at Le Mans in 1931 for safety reasons after a sister car crashed heavily at high speed, is just one of the many fascinating tales within the 320 pages of this superbly illustrated book.


Sharing a wealth of fresh information, the 13th title in the Great Cars series is researched and written by two leading marque experts, one the Honorary Registrar of the Bugatti Owners’ Club, the other a regular judge at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
Story highlights
  • The genius of Ettore and Jean Bugatti, the bloodline of large-capacity Bugatti engines, and the Type 46 from which the Type 50 was derived.
  • An in-depth exploration of the Type 50’s design and development, the Miller-inspired twin-cam engine, and the car’s technical features and coachwork.
  • The 1931 Le Mans 24 Hours and the four tyre failures experienced by Type 50s, the last disastrous.
  • Three more Le Mans visits by Type 50s in 1933, 1934, and 1935, and the frustrations of unfulfilled promise.
  • Profiles of eight drivers who raced the Type 50, including 1931 Monaco Grand Prix winner Louis Chiron; two-time Targa Florio winner Albert Divo; 1931 Belgian GP winner Caberto Conelli; two-time Targa Florio, multiple Grand Prix, and Mille Miglia winner Achille Varzi; and Bugatti test driver, development engineer and 1939 Le Mans winner Pierre Veyron.
  • The later life of 50177 and its 23 years in the ownership of pioneering car collector and Bugatti historian Miles Coverdale.


Book Information: 

Great Cars Series No. 13

Bugatti Type 50

The autobiography of Bugatti’s first Le Mans car

By Mark Morris and Julius Kruta

Published by Porter Press International

Publication date: February 4, 2019

Jacketed Hardback ● RRP: £60.00 / €70.00 ● ISBN: 978-1-907085-48-2

320 pages ● Format 285mm x 235mm ● 400+ images

Porter Press are delighted to announce that the latest addition to Porter Press’ critically-acclaimed Great Cars series, Bugatti Type 50, will be launched at Retromobile.

The authors will be available for signings, dedications and questions during a press conference at 2pm on Wednesday 6 February on the Hortons Books stand – Pavilion N.1 Stand D063.

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