Collecting MemoriesModels

Exquisite 1:43 Bugatti models by Alain Bouissou

Beautiful miniatures of beautiful cars

What if you could shrink classic vintage Bugattis to 1:18th scale? You’d call them CMC model cars. What if you could shrink CMC models to 1:43 scale and improve it a lot? You’d call them Bugatti models by Alain Bouissou.

When I was a model dealer in the late 1980s, one of my wholesale sources also did a rousing business in high-end hand built models. On one visit, the dealer showed me a 1:43 Bugatti T35 by Alain Bouissou. I had not heard of this model creator back then. As a long-time static and raceable model builder, I knew what I was looking at. The standard at the time for 1:43 diecast or hand builts was fairly low. Similarly, a Burago Ferrari was super fine in 1:18th! Seeing a full engined, highly detailed model in 1:43 with a centrally hinged opening hood practically blew my mind. The price then made my head practically explode. It was $1200.

That’s quite funny in hindsight. That same model today is far, far more expensive. I should have purchased it then and there.

bugatti t35 by alain bouissouBouissou’s racing Bugatti models

This discussion will take the form of many utterances of the word “Wow”. On the left is one of those Bugatti T35 models. All of those open louvers are done by hand. In fact, the whole model has been created from cast, machined or gently pounded metal sheet entirely from scratch. Okay, the tires are molded.

bugatti vise in 1:43 scale bugatti models by alain bouissou

The seats are covered in real leather. The hinges on the hood make a CMC hinge look positively crude. That’s how finely done is Bouissou’s work.

Early Bugattis were noted for the fine wire looped over the lower edges of many of the cars. This is even finer on these 1:43 replicas. Note the firewall on the Bugatti T59 at the top of the page. That is some incredibly fine machining. A friend of mine is a noted machinist who has restored many 1:1 vintage race cars. He would be in awe of that firewall. Or the whole machine in general. Wow.

A momentary sidestep

Look at the 1:43 scale vise at right. A model of something Ettore Bugatti might have utilized. Merely a stunning accessory from Mr. Bouissou. It likely fully works fully. Wow.

bugatti brescia bugatti models by alain bouissouThe Bugatti Brescia from the 1921 Italian GP

Just look at this. Is that amazing? Notice the fine wire gear selector cable. This is 1:43 scale folks. You are never going to see this from Spark. Never.

Again with leather seats and leather hood strap. That hood strap has a working buckle. You realize how tiny that buckle is?

The hand-wired spokes on the wheels are beautiful. The knockoffs are beautiful. The tire pump behind the seats is beautiful. Wow.

Why these models are priceless

I know many of us cannot reasonably justify a multi-thousand dollar 1:43 scale model. Simply put it’s the difference between a fine Swiss watch and a Timex. They both tell the time perfectly but only one of them is a piece of fine art. Similarly, it’s the difference between a poster of an Andy Warhol soup can and the original piece of art. Only one of them is worth millions of dollars. If you’d ever consider selling the original.

See more of the astounding Bugatti models by Alain Bouissou

A short gallery of racing models. You can see the entire fantastic collection of street and race Bugattis at the Bouissou website. You can see more great models here, including a review of a CMC Bugatti in 1:18th scale for comparison.