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Editor: Jaap Horst

Volume 8, Issue 1

Bugatti T55 Le Mans kit

Bernhard Simon

"How to do" three Bugatti Type 55 Le Mans cars with the MCM Kit Ref.43

Last year the MCM Kit ref 43 was issued, a model of the 1932 Le Mans Type 55 cars. I have built these models and there are a lot of things to change to make correct models and if desired you can do three different cars.

In general the kit contains type 43 wheels and not 51 wheels. I did have some correct wheels in my boxes and will have use for the 43 wheels, but this is an obvious fault. When I unpacked the kit my first idea was, that the bonnet is much too long, but on the ready built model it seems to be more or less correct. The shape of the driver compartment has to be adapted, it is different on all three cars and the exhaust system has to be built from scratch. The frames of the windscreens are very simple and could have been done better.

1. 55.221, 1932 Le Mans, drivers Chiron/Bouriat, racing No 15.

Changes: Three headlights of equal size and two horns, spare wheel right side, on the left side a large door and an exhaust pipe which has to be built from scratch. I twisted the type of mudguards, look for getting the round one, I glued a thin plastic sheet on the body imitating the door.

2. 55.205, 1932 Le Mans, drivers Czaikowski-Friderich, racing number 16.

Changes: arrangement of the headlights is correct, spare wheel is left, but there is a door on the left side with a small door handle. You could engrave the shape of the door into the body, the shape of the body is correct. Part 5, extra gasoline tank is wrong for this car, it has a tool box on the rear cross member and has two gasoline filler tubes. There is a license number on the back of the fuel tank: 9886 BA2. The exhaust pipe is correct.

3. 55.226, 1935 Le Mans, drivers Merlin/Arnoux, racing number 18.

I could not identify horns in front, no stone guard, different mounting of the mudguards, different exhaust pipe, large door on left side and spare wheel mounted backwards. Has a license plate but the number is unknown.

4. ? , 1934 Le Mans, drivers Fourny/Dearoli, racing number 15

This car is a little bit a mystery. In some lists it is called a type 55 and in some 43. I think it is a 43 car. I tried to convert a fourth MCM kit and I could not get the body shape on this chassis length. There is a blower hole on the bonnet like on type 43, but the car has 51 wheels. If I can get the shape, I will send out pictures and a "How to do"

Question from John Powers: For some of us it might be helpful to add information about the T 51 wheels. My understanding is that the T 43 uses a detachable rim and the T51 uses an integral rim. What does this mean to the appearance?  My T 43 models have what look like multiple bolt or screw heads around the wheel rim and small brakes.  My T 51 models have smooth rims and large diameter brakes. Are what appear to be bolt or scew heads and brake size the only visual difference between the T 43 and T 51 wheel?  Do I understand correctly that detachable means that when the bolts are unscrewed the rim disassembles and the tire can be changed?  

Answer from Bernhard Simon: Here you see the wheels: left is the type 43 wheel enclosed in the MCM 55 kit with a detachable rim and a small brake drum, that is wrong for a type 55 car. If you unscrew the bolts (1:1) then you can take the rim away and then you can change the tire. In the middle you have a 51/55 wheel with a smooth rim and large brake drum. In 1/1 this wheel is ok but it is very expensive and no more available. On the right you have the one piece casting of Vroom/Ottenwälder, this should be available and not expensive.

On the two pictures you can see, that I used the Renaissance wheels (ref: BUG51), they are the best with one restriction and this is the knock-off central fastener: the back of this tiny part is flat and it is impossible to center it on the wheel.


Model kits: http://www.grandprixmodels.co.uk/shop/shop.asp

Wheels: from Mafma at http://www.mafma.com/accessoires43.htm

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