This aerodynamic tank-shaped Bugatti that competed in the 1923 French Grand Prix was the predecessor of the famous Bugatti Type 35. Its profile was shaped like an airplane wing and was intended to provide downforce. The wheelbase was only 2020mm long; by comparison the Delage 2LCV’s wheelbase was 2600mm. It was dubbed “Tank de Tours” and boasted a redeveloped 8-cylinder engine.
The Tank de Tours was a primitive attempt by Bugatti at race car aerodynamics, unfortunately his understanding was incomplete and the shape of his car actually worked at cross purposes. In a statement released to the press before the French Grand Prix, Ettore Bugatti stated “the more closely a vehicle approaches the ground, the less will be it’s resistance to forward motion.” While being low to the ground the shape over the top surface was similar to that of a wing and flat bottom actually generated lift at high speed.