Bugatti Type 32 Tank 1923 GP Car

The Bugatti Type 32, commonly called the Tank de Tours, was a streamlined racing car built in 1923. Four Tanks competed in the 1932 French Grand Prix in Tours. These streamlined bodied Bugattis were good competition, but the event was won by a six-cylinder Sunbeam. The best placed Tank being third, behind 2 Sunbeams.

The design was an innovative step. From front to rear, the Tank featured enclosed bodywork which formed the shape of an airplane wing. Ground clearance was kept as low as possible but still was not low enough to cope with lift formed by the wing shaped body. Much of the chassis and engine were derived from the Type 30 road car. Another innovation hydraulically assisted front brakes, again derived from the Type 29/30 and was probably a first for the racing industry.

The Type 32 was replaced after only being raced for one year. During that year little success was achieved. The press jumped on the design criticising not only the performace, but also the styling. Following the tank, Bugatti released an entirely new Type which he thought would boost sales. Little did he know that the Type 35 would become the most successful racing design in history.