A group of airplane enthusiasts have rebuilt the Bugatti 100P
A group of airplane enthusiasts have rebuilt the Bugatti 100P, an advanced fighter jet from 1940The Bugatti100p Project

A team of engineers is working together to recreate the Bugatti Veyron (or Bugatti 100P), an art deco-era fighter plane designed for World War II that would have broken the air speed record in 1940 - only the plane was never flown.

Designed and built by Italian sports car designer Ettore Bugatti and Louis de Monge, the plane featured cutting-edge technology for its time, including two eight-cylinder 4.9 litre race car engines producing 450 horsepower each, according to the Daily Mail.

Fastest plane of its time

Featuring forward pitched wings, a zero-drag cooling system and computer-directed flight control, plane was capable of reaching an air speed of 500mph, which would have made it the fastest and most advanced plane of its time.

The reigning air speed record of the time was 469mph, set by a German Messerschmitt plane in 1939.

The Bugatti 100P was not ready in time for the September 1939 deadline to enter the Coupe Deutsch aircraft race, so when the Second World War began, Bugatti, who had gained French citizenship between the two wars, decided to hide the craft in pieces in crates in a barn in the French countryside to prevent it from being discovered by the Nazis.

The French government knew about the plane, and it is believed that one of Hitler's ministers, Albert Speer, also knew of the plane's existence.

If the Germans had been able to get hold of the Bugatti, it is believed that the plane could have outperformed the British Supermarine Spitfire planes during the Battle of Britain.

Kickstarter funded the new plane

The Bugatti 100P now lives at the EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and since it is too fragile to be used, a group of airplane enthusiasts have made a replica of the plane with the help of crowd-funding from the Kickstarter community, which raised $62,500 by May 2013.

The new plane, has been made by a team of engineers in Oklahoma, together with help from former RAF engineer John Lawson, 59, who worked on the Vulcan bomber and now runs a model-making company in Nottingham.

According to the Bugatti 100P's official website, the team wish to recreate and share the plane, which they call "Le Rêve Bleu" (The Blue Dream) in order to showcase its unique 1930s design.

"Why would anyone undertake to build a replica of an airplane that never flew and for which there are no known plans and few relevant drawings? We could make a good argument for building a replica Bugatti 100P based solely upon its heritage. After all, Ettore Bugatti built only one airplane," the team writes.

"The only way we can revisit the classic era of aviation and fly this airplane is to recreate the Bugatti 100P ourselves and share that experience with enthusiasts everywhere!"

The recreation of the plane is aerodynamically and dimensionally identical to the original plane, with similar materials and elements of the original patents meant for the Bugatti 100P, as well as a gearbox specially designed by Lawson.

The completed replica will however fly a bit slower than the original as it features two Suzuki Hayabusa motorbike engines producing 200 horsepower each, so the plane will fly at a speed of over 200mph.

The plane will make its official debut next month at the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California, and to be flying by October at European air shows such as the Farnborough Air Show and Goodwood Revival.