The Bugatti Type 41, also known as the Royale, is one of the most luxurious cars ever built.
It was the ultimate automobile, was very rare, and it was built between 1927 and 1933. The Royale had a 14-foot wheelbase and had an overall length of 21 feet, making it one of the largest cars in history. Ettore Bugatti’s plan was to make 25 models of this car and to sell them to royalty, but he made only seven of which he was able to sell three. Six of the models still exist in museums, and one of them was destroyed in a wreck.
The engine is one of the largest car engines ever made, and it was built in a single huge block approximately 4.6 feet long and 3.6 feet high. After a road test had been performed by W.F. Bradley for the Autocar magazine, the car proved its exquisite chassis construction which allowed balance in handling the speed.
In 1928, Bugatti wanted to give the first model to the Spanish King Alfonso but he was deposed before the delivery of the car. After this, the Royale was not sold to anyone until 1932. At that time, the price of the car was $30,000 and it was launched when the economy started to fall as a result of the Great Depression in the 1930s. None of the seven cars were ever sold to any royals.
There was one chance for one of them to be sold to King Zog of Albania, but Bugatti refused to sell because he said that the king had bad table manners. The first car that was built is known as Coupé Napoleon, and its chassis number is 41100. The maker himself often used this car, later becoming his personal vehicle. It remained in the family until 1963 when it was sold to Fritz Schlumpf. The second car that was built and the first that was purchased was the Coupé de Ville Binder with chassis number 41111. It was sold in 1932 to Armand Esders, who was a French clothing manufacturer.
Later, it was purchased by Peter Notre, a French politician, and it was changed into the Coupé de Ville style by Henri Binder. From that moment, it was known as the Coupé de Ville Binder. In 1999, it was purchased for $15 million by Volkswagen AG, which own the Bugatti brand and today it is often exhibited in various museums.
The third car is known as Cabriolet Weinberger with chassis number 41121, and it can be seen in the Henry Ford Museum in Michigan. The fourth car is the Limousine Park-Ward with chassis number 41131, and this is now in the Musee National de l’Automobile de Mulhouse. The fifth car, with chassis number 41141, is known as the Kellner car, and it was kept by Bugatti.
Today, the owner of this car is unknown, but it has been shown in recent times by Lukas Huni. The sixth car is known as the Berline de Voyage with chassis number 41150.
Bugatti also kept it for a long time, and in 1991, it was sold to the founder of Domino’s Pizza, Tom Monaghan, for $8 million. The seventh car was destroyed in a wreck, so nothing is known precisely about its existence. Many replicas were made of the Bugatti Type 41, one of them being the Panther De Ville. The Panther De Ville is Cruella de Vil’s car in the Disney cartoon from 1996 101 Dalmatians.