The Bugatti Type 252 is a little-known prototype sports car that wound up failing to make it to production. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth studying, however. Development of the Type 252 started in 1957, and after 5 years the project was eventually abandoned in 1962. That means this was the final model the company would work on before being sold off in 1963. The car was presented to multiple investors, but unfortunately no one took the bait. As such, little information on the car is available today. Here is what we do know.
Roland Bugatti designed the Type 252 as a front-engine, rear-wheel drive vehicle. A small, 1.5-litre inline-4-cylinder engine was chosen to power the car. That engine, more than anything else, would be the car’s undoing. It wasn’t a lack of power, however, as one might assume, that caused so much grief. Rather, it was the fact that the manufacturer simply couldn’t get the engine to work in a reliable way. Even after many attempts to fix its various problems, the engine would fail and strand the test driver far away from the factory. Macpherson struts were installed both in the front and rear of the car.
Design and Production
The bodywork was designed by inexhaustible designer Giovanni Michelotti. Famous for his Ferrari and Maserati designs, Michelotti didn’t disappoint with his work for Bugatti. Of course, the Type 252 wears the famous French racing blue that adorns so many of the French automaker’s creations. The low-slung sports car is sleek and fast-looking, even when standing still in a museum. That’s good, because that’s exactly where this attractive but unreliable model resides. That’s right, the Bugatti Type 252 still exists to this day, and you can see it. If you want to view those unique and attractive lines, head down to the “City of the Automobile” museum in Mulhouse, France.