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Bugatti, History and Renaissance - Part 4: The Type 13
Upon becoming independent, Ettore Bugatti was finally able to print his personal stamp on all models that left his factory.
In 1910 the factory already had 65 workers and the Type 13, Type 15 and Type 17 models began to be produced.
Derived from the “Pur Sang” and like this, these models were distinguished, on roads and tracks all over the world. World, for its excellence in construction quality and behavior, to which its low weight and technical refinement contributed.
Over the years, he surrounded himself with collaborators who made up for his lack of technical knowledge, proof of his growing maturity, and with whom he regularly shared the projects he strolled in his pockets on, small and crumpled pieces of paper.
With the confidence of the credibility acquired over the years of work in Italy, French Alsace and Germany, reinforced by the reaction of the public and the press to his Type 10, Ettore started in 1910 the production of Type 13.
This was an improved version of the Type 10, in which the objective of maintaining weight and reduced dimensions was maintained, in order to privilege the qualities and ease of driving, as well as the benefits. Thus, the chassis structure, in light alloy, was maintained, the suspensions resorted to semi-elliptical leaf springs, the rear brake was manual and the foot brake acted on the transmission. The 4-cylinder engine saw its displacement increased to 1.3 liters and the camshaft and valves, two per cylinder, were covered by a bronze cap that had Ettore's signature engraved. The transmission, to the rear wheels, was made by a 4-speed gearbox. The rims were made of wood and the tires were rubber.
Parallel to Type 13, which had a wheelbase of 1.95 m, two other models were produced, all with these 8-valve engines: Type 15, with a wheelbase of 2.40 m and Type 17, with that measure extended to 2.55m. This differentiation criterion, based on the wheelbase, would remain in many other models of the brand.
The Type 13 would be the most used model in competition, which is characterized by its sportier character, while the Types 15 and 17 were intended for daily use on the road, having, for this purpose, four seats and a suitable body.
With an engine that reached 3,000 rpm, which was notable for the time, and that delivered about 15 hp, Bugatti vehicles won frequent victories, in their class, in the speed or mountain races in which they participated.
Enthusiastic about these successes, Ettore entered one of his cars at the 1911 French GP. The small Type 13, driven by Friedrich, finished in second place, having only been preceded by the other competitor to finish the race, the Fiat de Hémery, with a much higher displacement engine.
In 1911 the small Bébé-Peugeot was introduced to the public, a vehicle equipped with an 850 cc engine, designed by Ettore. This model revealed two innovations that would later be introduced in Bugatti cars: the rounded, ovoid shape of the top of the radiator and the rear suspensions with leaf springs, in an inverted ellipse. The latter would be one of the many patents registered by Ettore.
His passion for horses, another of Ettore's facets, was revealed in this model. Often photographed among horses or riding his favorite “Brouillard”, the young Bugatti aspired to build cars that stood out for their class and that were “pur sang” cars.
The design of the horseshoe-shaped radiator would, from that project, be used by all Bugatti models and has remained, until today, as a symbol of the brand.