Bugatti Magnum

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Bugatti Magnum by Hugh Conway with Maurice Sauzay 559 pp. 12 Y4″ x 91/1″. G T Foulis & Co Ltd, Sparkjord, Yeovil, Somerset, BA22 7jj £150.00

The motor book event of 1989 was the publication by Haynes/Foulis is Anthony Heal’s Sunbeam Racing Car History and the same publishing house has surely done it again for 1989/90 with the magnificent “Bugatti Magnum”, which is a fitting memorial to the late Hugh Conway, who completed it some time before his final heart attack, in conjunction with Maurice Sauzay. Conway had contributed more than one very erudite Bugatti history before embarking on this great new work, which is entirely comprehensive but is in more of the coffee table tradition, lavish presentation wooing the reader — and fine pictures, indeed a fantastic 800 mono and 73 colour illustrations, some of which are old favourites gaining from enlargement and clear reproduction, others published for the first time.

So this is a truly great book; there will not be space for much coffee on the tables on which it is displayed, but some dieticians would say so much the better for that! It is hardly an exaggeration to say that everything Bugatti is covered — the entire range of touring, sports and racing Bugattis, Ettore Bugatti’s work with railcars, aeroplanes, aero-engines, boats and horse-drawn vehicles, along with discussion of his inventions, patents and design methods. The family’s way of life along the years at Molsheim, the correct version of how Jean Bugatti met his death testing a racing car near the factory, and the Company plans for future models after the war. Conway was the expert at turning up fresh material and was dispensing such information until a few days before his death, even to places as far away, for example, as the suddenly more accessible Soviet Socialist Republic of Russia. Each member of the Bugatti family is given a place in this splendid book, of which only 2000 copies will be printed. It comes in a slip-case of simulated engineturned aluminium with a replica Bugatti chassis-plate and it scales some 9 lb, rather as if one-make history is to be dispensed in future by weight instead of volume . . . The legs of some coffee tables in Bugatti homes may well have to be strengthened to take this book! Even Bugatti models are included, there is a long bibliography, and a list of racing successes and if the cost is high, it is but a microcosm of what the cars themselves now command, and even replacement parts for them cost as much. And what cars are more enthralling to depict in a volume of this size and merit than Bugattis, whether racing or otherwise? All manner of pleasing little facts are revealed or revived, in this “Bugatti Magnum” — the Molsheim hunt, Ettore on his horses or celebrating after motor racing victories, his ancestors. . . as I said, comprehensive really is the word, the book a wealth of material to delight Bugatti followers the world over. WB