Ettore Bugatti designed the prototype of this engine in France during World War I. The U.S. government’s Bolling Commission, established to acquire European military aeronautical technology that could be built in America, purchased it because of its high performance potential and ability to mount a 37 mm cannon that could fire through the propeller hub. Duesenberg Motors was selected to produce the engine.
Engineer Charles B. King and his team made significant changes to correct technical problems and make the engine suitable for U.S. production methods. Renamed the King-Bugatti, it passed its 50-hour military test in October 1918. Production was just beginning when the war ended. Duesenberg manufactured about 40 King-Bugattis by early 1919. None are known to have powered a U.S. aircraft.
Transferred from the U.S. Army Air Service
Type:reciprocating, 16 cylinders, U-type, liquid cooled
Power rating:306 kW (410 hp) at 2,000 rpm
Displacement:24.3 L (1,484 cu in)
Weight (dry):583 kg (1,286 lb)
Manufacturer:Duesenberg Motors Corp., Elizabeth, N.J.
On Loan from the War Department, Air Service, Washington, D.C.
Weight (dry): 583 kg (1,286 lb)