Skip to main content

The most beautiful plane never flown is just weeks from its maiden flight

The most beautiful plane never flown is just weeks from its maiden flight

Share this story

The year was 1939. Ettore Bugatti — one of the most interesting and innovative individuals involved with the auto industry's formative years — was furiously working on his company's only aircraft. But this wasn't just any aircraft: like his cars, Bugatti's 100P was a technological marvel, featuring two engines driving concentric propellers in opposite directions. Air intakes gracefully integrated into the plane's V-tail would keep those engines cool, while unusual forward-swept wings would give the 100P a striking profile in flight. Ettore was hoping that by racing this beautiful machine — and winning — he'd burnish his brand.

But World War II soon gripped Paris, and Bugatti was forced to scuttle the project. The only 100P ever made never flew and was left to rot for a half century before eventually being restored to non-flying condition (it rests today on display in the EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin).

Bugatti 100P

Fast forward to 2013, when a team led by former Air Force pilot Scott Wilson launched a Kickstarter project to create an airworthy 100P from scratch. At that time, construction was nearly complete, but Wilson needed more money to finish the project. "Reve Bleu" — Blue Dream — eventually raised a little over $62,000, and today, the new aircraft is nearly ready to take to the skies for the first time.

In recent days, the 100P has run its engines and performed taxi tests, and it looks amazing on the ground. It'll look even better from above. There's no word on exactly when that first flight will be, but some backers are going to have access to a live stream of it; in the meantime, you can see a video of it on the tarmac over on the Kickstarter project page.

Verge Video

The world's best drone just got better