Ten years after its introduction, Bugatti’s three car line-up was ready for it second major revision. Where the 1913 revisions concentrated on the chassis and bodywork, the second concentrated on the engine. As one of the first engines in history, the new engine featured 4 valves per cylinder. The 16-valve engine was originally developed in 1914, but the First World War interfeered and Ettore Bugatti buried the engines.
In 1920 the first outing of the 16-valve engines was a big success with Friderich winning the French Voiturette Grand Prix at LeMans. Even more successful was Bugatti’s clean sweep of the first four places at Brescia in 1921. In honour of this memorable victory all 16-valve engined cars were dubbed Brescia. Like with the 8-valve engines the Brescia was available in three wheelbases.
One of the Brescia’s few flaws was the lack of front brakes. This was solved in 1924 when front drum brakes became a standard feature.
The featured example is a late long-wheelbase Type 23, equipped with drums all-round. It is seen here at the 2002 British Racing Festival on the Dutch Zandvoort track.