Bugatti Camionette Type 40

In 1927, Lieutenant Frédéric Loiseau, serving with the French Army in North Africa, came up with the idea of a super-fast automobile link between French-administered territories, much quicker than the Citroën autochenille half-tracks had managed in 1924.
Frédéric Loiseau managed to convince the Resident General in Tunisia, Mr L. Saint, who was keen on the idea. In Loiseau’s mind, there was no question of which manufacturer should be chosen for these quick, economic and hard-wearing vehicles – Bugatti. When contacted, Bugatti was persuaded of the useful nature of this 15,000 km (9300 mile) journey and sent Loiseau a contract on 25 January 1928, stating the conditions for the supply of various special vehicles.

Type 40 chassis were chosen, the very robust four-cylinder 10 CV model. This was fitted with a solid plywood, “pick-up” style body, with space for cargo and an additional 225-litre fuel tank. Extra mechanical components, such as a hand-operated oil feed pump, a water recovery system and a direct exhaust were also added.

The car in the Cite de l’Automobile is considered to be the only surviving example of the five cars modified for Loiseau’s expedition.

[I have some doubts that the car in the museum is an original. The wooden box is not similar to the one seen on the old photographs, the spare wheel and the related brackets on the left side of the car are missing and – there are mudguards installed; this was not the case for the desert-vehicle. I could not verify if the extra condenser for the cooler was installed]

1929: Expedition Loiseau
1929: Expedition Loiseau

Kuno Gross (Werner Noether)

1929: Expedition Loiseau

The wooden box in the back of the car in the Cite de l'Automobile shows vertical side-walls. As it can be seen in the historical photographs, this is not correct. Find the details here:

Bugatti Camionette Type 40

Year of manufacture: 1926–30
Units built: approx. 800
Engine: 4-cylinder in-line engine, 3 valve/cylinder, overhead camshafts
Cubic capacity/bore [cm³/mm]:1496/69 × 100
Compressor: no
Carburetor: 1 Zenith
Power [HP at revolutions/min]: 45
Forward gears: 4
Speed: 120 km/h

Drive: shaft-driven
Front wheel suspension: live axle, semi-elliptical springs
Back wheel suspension: live axle,
inverted quarter-elliptical springs
Brakes: Cable drum brakes
Wheelbase [meters]: 2.56 und 2.71
Wheel track [meters] 1.2
Tire size: 27 × 4.4
Weight [kilograms]: approx. 900