Editor: Jaap Horst
You may ask yourself, what is this picture of a grey boat, and what has it to do with Bugatti?
Quite a while ago I received a mail through "Prewarcar" Joris Bergsma, from Steven Best, about a boat he had recently acquired, with a Bugatti engine. Already soon it turned out that the boat had a Bugatti Diesel engine, of Hispano-Suiza design.
Before I go on: I know that some (many) Bugattistes find these manufactures are not really Bugatti, because they were not designed by Ettore or Jean Bugatti. In my opinion, these engines were built by the Bugatti factory, which was still the original factory (It was in fact called the Société des Automobiles Ettore Bugatti). Furthermore, the Bugatti factory made designs not by Ettore or Jean in the past, for example the Type 53. Of course, these engines are not as brilliant, but in my opinion still deserve some interest from the Bugattiste.
So, I called Steven about a year ago when I was around Zaandam in the Netherlands, where the boat currently is near their home, but he was himself somewhere else. Now, a few weeks ago, I finally got to visit one sunny evening, and was welcomed not just by Steven, but also by his brother Edwin, and their father. They are in fact together in this project. they showed me around the boat and it's Bugatti engine. Last year, they connected the engine to a battery, and pressed the starter button just to see if the engine would turn. Quite a surprise that the diesel engine in fact started almost immediately, running on the little fuel that was still in the fuel lines!
The boat in fact is an "LCPS", which was carried on board the French navy vessel "Ouragan", and was used to transport crew to the harbor when the ship is anchored out at sea. It can carry 25 passengers, which seems very crowded, considering the small size of this boat, compare the photographs for yourself!
The Best brothers saw the boat on an Internet advert, and fell in love with her lines. This boat, together with 5 similar vessels, were sold in an auction in France in 2001. This one was bought by a Dutchman, who finally sold her about 3 years ago. This kind of vessel was build by the same constructor who made the carrier ship, DCAN in Cherbourg, it was completed in 1964. These boats could be delivered with either the Bugatti, or with a Renault Diesel.
They plan to bring the boat in full running order again, some (easy to do) repairs to the hull are needed, the rudder and propeller must be reconstructed, and the connection to the heat-exchanger must be re-made. they do not plan to do anything to the engine, as it runs smoothly at the moment.
The Ouragan is a class of French landing platform docks operated by the French Navy. They are called Transport de Chalands de Débarquement (TCD, "landing craft transport")
The ships in that class are used for: