Even if you’re not a fan of classic cars and pre-war racers, I dare you to watch the video below and not come away wanting to drive Jay Leno’s Bugatti Type 51. I’m in agreement that the car’s supercharged, 2.3-liter straight eight engine is one of the best sounding mills ever created, and the direct mechanical connection between car and driver is strangely appealing. Value of the car aside, you’re not going to be texting behind the wheel of a Bugatti Type 51, since keeping the car running will demand your full-time attention.
We’ve grown accustomed to the conveniences of modern cars, and most drivers today don’t even know what a choke is used for. The Bugatti Type 51 requires a ritual to start it, beginning with building fuel pressure via a hand pump. There’s the supercharger’s oil tank to open, and then you’ve got to advance the timing. Next, you’ll need to prime the carburetor, and there’s a very fine line between “too little” and “too much.”
If you’ve done it correctly, the Bugatti will fire up with a sound unlike any other in the automotive world. Keeping it running is no simple task, either: timing needs to be set back, gears are pre-synchromesh and require double-clutching, and then there’s the need to occasionally re-pump oil from a storage tank into the crank case.
I wouldn’t trade a modern car for the Bugatti, since it’s far too impractical to drive on a regular basis. Still, I can name several internal organs I’d be willing to part with for just a single afternoon behind the wheel of a Bugatti Type 35 or Type 51.
Source: Jay Leno’s Garage