Bugatti Type 41 ‘Royale’ – Luxury Cars of the 20th Century
When Ettore Bugatti announced he was going to build the most luxurious car the world had ever seen, the world’s wealthy paid attention. Commonly referred to as the ‘Royale’ due to its intended customer base, the Type 41 is said to have been envisaged by Bugatti after a woman uncouthly compared his cars to that of Rolls-Royce’s. measuring in at 6.4 metres long, or 20% larger than a modern Rolls-Royce Phantom, the Royale was the largest production car in the world at the time. The 3-ton work of art being propelled by a 12.7L Straight-8 based on a design of an aircraft engine conceived of by the French Air Ministry. The Royale’s interior represents the pinnacle of luxury, swathed in rich leather, the driver operates a large walnut steering wheel, whalebone topped switchgear and an ivory gear lever.
Whilst 25 Royale’s were forecasted for production, the economic downturn of the Great Depression led to reduced interest. Only 7 were built and 3 sold. Another factor to the lack of sales was Ettore’s rigorous standards a client had to meet before he would sell them one of his Royale’s, famously refusing to sell one to the king of Albania, stating: “The man’s table manners are beyond belief!”