Bugatti is celebrating its 110th anniversary this year and to commemorate the landmark occasion, the automaker recently took the wraps off the first Baby II prototype at its headquarters in Molsheim, France. At the Geneva motor show, earlier, this year, the company revealed its plans for building a successor to the original Baby from the 1920s. The limited production run of 500 cars sold out in just three weeks.
Before moving further, here's a quick history lesson for the uninitiated. The Type 35 was a legendary open-top sportscar by Bugatti that secured victories at numerous races (including many Grands Prix) between 1924 and 1930. The car was touted to be ahead of its time in view of the technological solutions it implemented to achieve this feat. The most powerful iterations of the Type 35 used a 2.3-litre, eight-cylinder supercharged engine that translated into an output of 140hp and a top speed over 215kph. Employing lightweight construction meant that the car tipped the scales at just 750kg.
In 1926, Ettore Bugatti, founder of the French marque, decided to build a half-scale 1924 Type 35 Lyon Grand Prix Racer for his youngest son on the occasion of his fourth birthday. Originally intended as a one-off, the model went into production from 1927 to 1936 due to positive feedback from prospective customers. Dubbed the ‘Bugatti Baby’, only 500 units of this car were ever made.
The automaker's celebratory revival of the small car also marks the Baby II as a contemporary interpretation of the original model. Having grown from the first Bugatti Baby's 50 percent scale to a 75 percent scale replica, the carmaker claims that the Baby II can be driven by both adults and children. The car measures just 2.8m in length and 1m in width and tips the scales at around 230kg.
Staying true to its roots, the Baby II replicates the original’s eight-spoke alloy wheels, hollow front axle and suspension, and four-spoke steering wheel. Depending on the variant, the car uses a composite, carbon-fibre or aluminium body construction.
Similar to the original Baby, the Baby II has a rear-wheel drive electric powertrain. Unlike its predecessor, though, it packs in a limited slip differential, regenerative braking and a removable lithium-ion battery pack which is available in two outputs – 1.4kWh and 2.8kWh. The larger battery is claimed to be capable of delivering a range of more than 30km.
The car also boasts of two selectable power modes – a 1kW ‘child mode’ with a limited top speed of 20kph and a 4kW ‘adult mode’ with the maximum speed limited to 45kph. The Baby II can also be specced with a ‘speed key’ on certain versions (just like the Chiron) that unlocks power of up to 10kW and disengages the speed limiter.
Bugatti has announced that the car will be manufactured by the Little Car Company in the UK, with production slated to begin in early 2020. Prices for the Baby II start at 30,000 Euros (roughly Rs 23.58 lakh) in the European market.
While still on the topic of expensive cars, Bugatti unveiled the 1,600hp Centodieci hypercar at Pebble Beach last month, with prices starting at GBP 7.4 million (around Rs 64 crore).
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