The Type 46S was a light supercharged version of the regularly aspirated Type 46. Both models Bridged the gap between the opulent Royale and 3-litre Type 44, the Type 46 was Bugatti’s standard luxury model. It was first launched at the 1929 Paris Motor Show and production began in the same year.
A large, one piece engine was the main feature of the Type 46. Its casting contained everything from the combustion chambers down to the main crankshaft bearings, including the cylinder walls. This setup eliminated the need for head studs and therefore the engine could be very narrow and perfectly rectangular. The flywheel was flexibly mounted to reduce vibrations in the cabin. A five-jet Smith-Barriquand carburetor was fitted.
Chassis arrangements were similar to the Type 41, having three speed gearbox in unit with the rear axle. Rudge wire wheels were fitted and the spectacular cast aluminum type as seen the Royale were eventually offered as an option. Braking was handled by large diameter drums.
Main competition for the Type 46 came from Delage’s D8, which sold in much greater numbers, but with less performance and at half the price.
Eventually this model was completely replaced by the Type 50, with its twin-overhead cam design which was a copy of the American Miller unit.
Body styles for the Type 46 were diverse, but many used the same radiator and hood that came provided. One of the most distinct and dramatic bodies fitted to the Type 46 was the Semi-Profilee which used a raked windscreen and sweeping two tone paint job to great effect. The theme was continued on the Type 50 Coupe Profilee which featured a completely sloping fastback rear end.