Back in the 1930s, a legendary European builder of fast cars had a dream of building fast airplanes, so he did. Unfortunately, World War II got in the way before he could even test fly it.
Now, a Tulsan has picked up the decades-old dream, built a replica, and is getting it ready to show it off.
Scotty Wilson and a crew of guys from Tescorp in Tulsa are getting ready to send their Bugatti 100P replica to California. That all sounds simple enough, but there is nothing simple about the project.
The original Bugatti 100P, the one and only one, is in a museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. This Tulsa plane is like a twin. There were no plans to the original, so they had to reverse engineer the plane by using measurements and pictures.
"We built the airplane out of the same materials using the same processes," Wilson said.
Ettore Bugatti, the legendary car maker, built his 100P in the late 1930s in Paris. He wanted to build military airplanes for the French. When the Germans invaded, the one prototype was hidden in a barn and never flown. It was discovered years later and ended up in the U.S.
Wilson, a retired fighter pilot, knew about the plane and thought he could clone it.
"So this beautiful airplane, Bugatti's only airplane, one of a kind, never flown, seemed like a challenge," Wilson said.
They researched for more than a year. As the word got out, more people wanted to help. The project has taken more than five years to this point, and in the cockpit there's a plate with the engraved names of hundreds of contributors.
"Over 600 people from 31 countries, including a couple of young guys from Egypt who sent 5 bucks, have made some sort of contribution to the project," said Wilson.
The 100P will be on display in a California museum as part of a big Bugatti exhibit. It returns to Tulsa in about six months and may go up for a test flight before it heads to Europe for a show.