Editor: Jaap Horst
|The engine of the T37 (and also of the T40). Admission side|
A few weeks ago I went to visit my friend Ton van de Roer, also in the Netherlands. He is in the process of building his own Bugatti (T37). And when I say building his own, I mean it! Every part is carefully made, to original specifications, and he showed me various of these.
Nice detail is that he began making miniatures, and no average miniatures either! He built a working T55, including engine. Here everything works, brakes, suspension, steering, engine (though a 4-cylinder, because of scale-effects). He also built a 6 cylinder d.o.c. truely Bugatti-type engine, which does fit in the T55 chassis. And this all is in 1/5 scale. When this was finished, a friend of his asked him, if he could make all parts for the miniature, why not build a full-scale Bugatti??
During my talks with him he showed and told me various strange and sometimes funny technical details of Bugatti (especially the T37, but most of the technicallities also are the same for the other models). So this will be a truely in-depth technical article. People who are interested in Bugattis for aesthetics only better click your "back" button. Or better still, do read on and get involved with the aspects of Bugattis, which one can normally only enjoy when owning or working on Bugattis!
These brake shoes have a danger though. The friction force on one of the brake shoes tends to increase the braking force, let's say the brake works harder then one wants it to. This can even lead to blocking of the brake, but at low speeds only. When this happens the brake back plate, of metal plate only (at least in the T35/37), shears of at the holes for the mounting bolts, leaving one with no (front) brakes! This can be overcome by removing part of the brake shoe lining, actually making the total surface to brake with smaller.
Also, he was early in introducing hydraulic brakes, already on the T28 prototype and on some T30's. However, the system didn't work reliably, Ettore did away with it and invented the best ever all-mechanical brakes. The brakes all are cable-operated, but equalising mechanisms ensure that the braking force on all the wheels is the same, also if the wear of all the brakes isn't
When other companies like Lockheed later on offered more reliable hydraulic brake systems, Ettore still wouldn't accept them, and continued to use his mechanical brakes until late in the 1930's, but by then it was Jean who actually was responsable for the automobile design.
A second peculiarity of the system is that, when the levers are not well adjusted, they can pass the most extreme position that is still alowed. The effect? The clutch remains disengaged! Remedy? Press the clutch pedal! This time the effect of the clutch pedal has inverted, the pedal must be pressed to engage the clutch, and released to de-clutch!
Not only blocks were casted, of course, and lots of castings like covers etc. were made of aluminium. Here also, apart from a high percentage of castings being discarded because of too grave errors, sometimes repairs were made. In case of a small hole in a casting, a "star plug" was driven into the metal, to block of the hole. After finishing it can be hardly seen. Only the metal of the plug is different from the casting, making it shine in a slightly different way! Please do not go inspecting all bugatti cam-covers etcetera now though!
With special thanks to Ton van de Roer!