Bugatti has unveiled its latest model, following a preview at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year. It’s the most affordable Bugatti ever and is right on-trend by being electric powered. Yes, the Bugatti Baby is back…
And the good news this time, 93 years after the first (also electric powered) Bugatti Baby, is that it’s not just restricted to kids. The original Lilliputian Type 35 that Ettore Bugatti made for his four-year-old son in 1926 was half-scale, and definitely an adults-free zone. The new one is three-quarter scale with an adjustable pedal box and, says Bugatti, fits both children and adults.
A run of 500 is being made under licence for Bugatti by The Little Car Company in the UK. The plan to bring back the archetypal junior classic was revealed in Geneva, prior to today’s unveiling of the real thing as part of Bugatti’s 110th anniversary celebrations in Molsheim.
The above is a video on the model’s history – including what was obviously a 1920s version of what we know today as the Settrington Cup race. Whether it’s pedal-powered baby Austins racing at Revival or four and five-year-olds dicing in their Bugattis at St Tropez or Deauville almost a century earlier, the appeal is surely the same.
The original Bugatti Baby had been intended as a one-off for Ettore’s youngest son. But customers arriving in Molsheim with their families to pick up their full-size Type 35s were so impressed that Bugatti had to put the junior model into production. Five hundred were made until 1936 and it’s thought about 100 survive in the hands of Bugatti collectors and in museums around the world. The cars have changed hands for as much as $100,000 in the past.
Bugatti Baby II for 2020 might look a dead ringer for the Type 35, with its oval radiator, eight-spoke aluminium wheels, French racing blue paint job, leather upholstery and turned aluminium dash with bespoke Bugatti instruments, but it’s a very different beast under the skin. Think lithium-ion batteries, rear electric motor and regenerative braking.
And the skin is? That depends on how much you want to spend. The entry model has a composite body, the Vitesse version is carbon-fibre body, and the Pur Sang (pure blood) top-of-the-range edition comes with a hand-crafted aluminium body. Prices as you might expect are quite grown-up. The base version stars at €30,000 plus taxes and the carbon and alloy versions must be quite a lot more than that.
But then all versions do come with 30g of silver in the “macaron” Bugatti badge on the nose, just like that fitted to the Chiron. Also like the Chiron, the two top versions come with a “speed key” to unlock the machine’s full performance potential. Which as you might imagine is not quite at the Chiron level. The top speed is 28mph or 12mph in child mode – the same as the top speed of the original version in 1926. The larger of two battery packs available is said to give a range of around 18 miles.
“When a company with such a colourful and proud history as Bugatti turns 110, you can allow yourself to look into the rear view mirror a little bit more than you usually would. Thus, it is only fitting for our anniversary year to revive the Bugatti Baby”, said Bugatti president Stephan Winkelmann.
Deliveries are due to start in 2020 and build slots are already filling up, says Bugatti. The perfect Christmas present, perhaps…