Bugatti is one of the most celebrated marques of automobile and one of the most exclusive French car producers of all time. The company is
legendary for producing some of the best sports cars in the world. Like many high-end marques, the original Bugatti failed with the coming of
World War II, but the name has been resurrected twice, most recently under the Volkswagen Group. It is also a brand of men's clothing.
Founder Ettore Bugatti was born in Italy, and the automobile company that bears his name was founded in Molsheim, in the then German-occupied
Alsace region (which reverted to France in 1919). The company was known for the advanced engineering in its premium road cars and its success
in early Grand Prix motor racing, winning the first ever Monaco Grand Prix. The company's success culminated with driver Jean-Pierre Wimille
winning the 24 hours of Le Mans twice (in 1937 with Robert Benoist and 1939 with Pierre Veyron).
Bugatti's cars were as much works of art as they were mechanical creations, with hand turned finishes on the engine blocks, lightening holes in
every conceivable location, and safety wires threaded through almost every fastener in intricately laced patterns. He regarded his arch competitor
Bentley as "the world's fastest trucks" for focusing on durability. According to Bugatti, weight was the enemy. Bugatti's disdain for his
customers is as legendary as his devotion to his creations; in one apocryphal incident, upon greeting an unhappy customer returning to the factory
with "What, you again?", he replied to the subsequent tale of automotive mechanical woe with "Well, see that it does not happen again!" and
Owing to the form of his engines, he is regarded as a Cubist, and he once attended a meeting of Cubists. Many Bugatti engines were modest in size
but quite powerful. Many had three valves per cylinder, and some were supercharged as well. Ettore examined the valvetrain of two American
Miller race cars and used their dual overhead cam shaft design under Miller trademark on future cars.
Only a few models of each of Ettore Bugatti's vehicles were ever produced, the most famous being the Type 35 Grand Prix cars, the "Royale",
the Type 57 "Atlantic", and the Type 55 sports car.
Throughout the production run of approximately 7,900 cars (of which about 2,000 still exist), each Bugatti model was designated with the prefix
T for Type, which referred to the chassis and drive train.
Prinetti & Stucchi
+ 1898 Type 1
+ 1902-1904 Type 3/4
+ 1903 Type 5/Hermes/6/7
Deutz Gasmotoren Fabrik
+ 1907 Type 8/9
+ 1913-1916 Type 19 "Bébé"
1900-1901 Type 2
1903 Type 5
1908 Type 10
1925 Type 36
1929-1930 Type 45/47
Type 56 (electric car)
1939 Type 64 (coupe)
1943/1947 Type 73C
1910-1914 Type 13/Type 15/17/22
1922-1926 Type 29
1923 Type 32 "Tank"
1924-1930 Type 35/35A/35B/35T/35C/37/39
1927-1930 Type 52 (electric racer for children)
1936-1939 Type 57G "Tank"
1937-1939 Type 50B
1931-1936 Type 53
1931-1936 Type 51/51A/54GP/59
1955-1956 Type 251
1912-1914 Type 18 "Garros"
1913-1914 Type 23/Brescia Tourer (roadster)
1922-1934 Type 30/38/40/43/44/49 (touring car)
1927-1933 Type 41 "Royale" (limousine)
1929-1939 Type 46/50/50T (touring car)
1932-1935 Type 55 (roadster)
1934-1940 Type 57/57S/Type 57SC (touring car)
After World War II, a 375 cc supercharged car was canceled when Ettore died.
1951-1956 Type 101 (coupe)
Ettore Bugatti also designed a successful motorised railcar, the Autorail, and an airplane which never flew. His son, Jean Bugatti, was killed on
August 11, 1939 at the age of 30, while testing a Type 57 tank-bodied race car near the Molsheim factory. Subsequently the company's fortunes
began to decline. World War II ruined the factory in Molsheim, and the company lost control of the property. During the war, Bugatti planned a
new factory at Levallois in Paris and designed a series of new cars. Ettore Bugatti died on August 21, 1947.
The company attempted a comeback under Roland Bugatti in the mid-1950s with the mid-engined Type 251 race car. Designed with help from
famed Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, and Maserati designer Gioacchino Colombo, the car failed to perform to expectations and the company's attempts at
automobile production were halted.
In the 1960s, Virgil Exner designed a Bugatti as part of his "Revival Cars" project. A show version of this car was actually built by Ghia using
the last Bugatti Type 101 chassis and was shown at the 1965 Turin Motor Show. Finance was not forthcoming and Exner then turned his attention
to a revival of Stutz.
Bugatti continued producing airplane parts and was sold to Hispano-Suiza (another auto maker turned aircraft supplier) in 1963. Snecma took
over in 1968, later acquiring Messier. The two were merged to form Messier-Bugatti in 1977.
Bugatti Automobili SpA
Italian entrepreneur Romano Artioli acquired the legendary Bugatti name in 1987 and established Bugatti Automobili SpA. The new company built
a factory designed by the architect Giampaolo Benedini in Campogalliano, Italy, a town near Modena, home to other performance-car
manufacturers De Tomaso, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Pagani and Maserati.
By 1989, the plans for the new Bugatti-revival were presented by Paolo Stanzani and Marcello Gandini, famous designers of the Lamborghini
Miura and Countach. The first completed car was labelled the Bugatti EB110 GT, advertised as the most technically advanced supercar ever
From 1992 through 1994, famed racing car designer, Mauro Forghieri, was technical director.
On August 27, 1993, through his holding company, ACBN Holdings S.A. of Luxembourg, Romano Artioli purchased the Lotus car company from
General Motors. The acquisition brought together two of the greatest historical names in automotive racing and plans were made for listing the
company's shares on international stock exchanges.
Bugatti also presented in 1993 the prototype of a large sedan called the EB 112.
By the time the Bugatti EB110 came to market the North American and European economies were in recession and operations ceased in
September of 1995. A model specific to the United States market called the "Bugatti America" was in the preparatory stages when the company
The most famous Bugatti EB110 owner is racing driver Michael Schumacher, 7 times Formula One world champion. Despite now racing for Ferrari,
he still owns the Bugatti EB110 he acquired while racing for the Benetton team.
Bugatti Automobiles SAS
Volkswagen AG purchased the rights to produce cars under the Bugatti marque in 1998. They commissioned ItalDesign to produce the Bugatti
EB118 concept, a touring sedan which featured a 555 hp DIN (408 kW) output and the first W-configuration 18-cylinder engine on any passenger
vehicle, at the Paris Auto Show.
In 1999 the Bugatti EB 218 concept was introduced at the Geneva Auto Show; later that year the Bugatti 18/3 Chiron was introduced at the IAA
in Frankfurt. At the Tokyo Motor Show the EB 218 reappeared and the Bugatti EB 18/4 Veyron was presented as the first incarnation of what was
to be a production road car.
In 2000 Volkswagen founded Bugatti Automobiles SAS and introduced the EB 16/4 Veyron concept, a 16 cylinder car producing 1001 hp DIN
(736 kW), at the Paris, Geneva, and Detroit auto shows. Development continued throughout 2001 and the EB 16/4 Veyron was promoted to
"advanced concept" status. In July 2005 Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. announced that the car would officially be called the Bugatti Veyron 16.4. It
was said that the car - built in the historical Bugatti's factory in Molsheim - would be delivered to clients in October 2005, however the Veyron
finally entered production in late 2005, delivery will start in early 2006. Maximum speed claims have been met in several high speed tests where
the car slightly exceeded its target, reaching 252 mph (407.5 km/h)(Mach 0.3) and holding it for about two minutes. According to Car and Driver,
the fuel economy when traveling at 253 mph in the Veyron was 3.0 mpg (78L/100km). Independent Press tests have reported many failures (3
out of 5 cars available for testing in November 2005 were out of service), but the Veyron prototypes were put through the same grueling regimen
of other Volkswagen group models, with each pre-production car logging over 50,000 miles.