Bugatti

The great automobile designer Ettore Bugatti (1881-1947) teamed up with aero-engineer Louis de Monge (1890-1977) to design one single airplane.  Built in 1938-39, the Bugatti 100P was an innovative single-seat racing aircraft powered by two Bugatti 50P race car engines buried amidships, turning contra-rotating pusher propellers via a drive shaft running through the cockpit.  The machine was highly streamlined, forcing the pilot into a recumbent position to give the fuselage an unbroken elongated teardrop shape.  The plane had retractable landing gear and extensive attention to aerodynamic detail.  Predicted speed was approximately 550 mph, which would have been a world speed record in 1939.  However, the outbreak of World War II prevented the aircraft from ever flying.

An ambitious team of builders created a full-scale flying replica of the 100P which flew successfully in autumn 2015.  The replica is aerodynamically faithful to the original but uses a much lower-powered, modern engine.

Somehow the original 100P survived World War II and found its way to the United States, where it was restored and is on display at the Experimental Aviation Association Museum.