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King-Bugatti U-16 Engine


Display Status:

This object is on display in the Boeing Aviation Hangar room at Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

King-Bugatti U-16 Engine

Collection Item Summary:

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.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum


Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum


  • Charles B. King
  • Ettore Bugatti

Credit Line

On Loan from the War Department, Air Service, Washington, D.C.


Length 112.4 cm (44.25 in.), Width 63 cm (24.8 in.), Height 82 cm (32.28 in.) (all dimensions approximate)

Country of Origin

United States of America



Physical Description

  • 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)
  • Bore and Stroke: 110 mm (4.3 in.) x 160 mm (6.3 in.)
  • Weight (dry): 583 kg (1,286 lb)


PROPULSION-Reciprocating & Rotary

Inventory Number