The vehicles of Ettore Bugatti are among the great legends of automobile history. From the middle of the 1920s until the start of the Second World War, the race cars with the typical horseshoe grill and the light blue paintwork built in Molsheim in Alsace won countless racing victories and thus founded the myth of the brand, which still lives on today as part of the VW Group. What is by and large forgotten, however, is that the small German automobile company Rabag at one time built around 100 Bugatti vehicles under license. The only known example of this Rabag Bugatti can now be viewed in the Technik Museum Sinsheim, perfectly restored alongside three original Bugattis.
The car was produced, at least in part, only about 50 km away from the Technik Museum Sinsheim, in Mannheim. Rheinische Automobilbau AG, referred to as "Rabag" for short, was founded in 1920 as the automobile division of the Funke tool factory in Düsseldorf, but just one year later, Mannheim-based Automobil AG, the automobile division of Union Maschinenfabrik, was integrated into the company. As far as is known, the Düsseldorf part of the company produced the engines, while the Mannheim part was responsible for construction of the bodywork.
The Bugatti models 22 and 23, for which they had acquired a licence from Ettore Bugatti, served as a basis for the engines and the chassis. The superstructures were partly self-constructed, but again here, sometimes the Bugatti design was adopted largely unchanged. The latter is true for the example on display in the museum, because it resembles its role model so much, that without the "RABAG Lic. BUGATTI" emblem affixed on top on the radiator, it can hardly be distinguished from an original Bugatti. In terms of drive, it has a 4-cylinder in-line engine with 1455 cc displacement and 25 hp engine power. The top speed is around 95 km/h.
The production figures at Rabag were very low. Only around 100 Rabag-Bugattis were built between 1922 and 1926. Apart from the one now on display in the Technik Museum Sinsheim, no other example is known about, neither in any museum nor in any private collection. It is therefore presumably the only Rabag car that has lasted to this day.