Bugattis were well known for the beauty of their designs (Ettore Bugatti was from a family of artists and considered himself to be both an artist and constructor) and for the large number of races that they have won. The death of Ettore Bugatti in 1947 proved to be the end for the marque, and the death of his son Jean Bugatti in 1939 ensured there wasn't a successor to lead the factory. No more than about 8000 cars were made. The company struggled financially, and released one last model in the 1950s, before eventually being purchased for its airplane parts business in the 1960s. In the 1990s, an Italian entrepreneur revived it as a builder of limited production exclusive sports cars. Today, the name is owned by German automobile manufacturing group Volkswagen.
|Industry||Automobile manufacturing, Aircraft part manufacturing|
|Fate||Sold to Hispano-Suiza (1963)|
|Headquarters||Molsheim, Alsace, France|
|Key people||*Ettore Bugatti|
Under Ettore Bugatti
Founder Ettore Bugatti was born in Milan, Italy, and the automobile company that bears his name was founded in 1909 in the town of Molsheim located in the Alsace. Its region was the territory of German Empire until 1918. The company was known both for the level of detail of its engineering in its automobiles, and for the artistic way in which the designs were executed, given the artistic nature of Ettore's family (his father, Carlo Bugatti (1856–1940), was an important Art Nouveau furniture and jewelry designer). The company also enjoyed great 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 noticeably focused on design. Engine blocks were hand scraped to ensure that the surfaces were so flat that gaskets were not required for sealing, many of the exposed surfaces of the engine compartment featured Guilloché (engine turned) finishes on them, and safety wires had been threaded through almost every fastener in intricately laced patterns. Rather than bolt the springs to the axles as most manufacturers did, Bugatti's axles were forged such that the spring passed though a carefully sized opening in the axle, a much more elegant solution requiring fewer parts. He famously described his arch competitor Bentley's cars as "the world's fastest lorries" for focusing on durability. According to Bugatti, "weight was the enemy".
Notable finds in the modern eraEdit
Relatives of Dr. Harold Carr found a rare 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante when cataloguing the doctor's belongings after his death in 2009. Dr. Carr's Type 57S is notable because it was originally owned by British race car driver Earl Howe. Because much of the car's original equipment is intact, it can restored without relying on replacement parts.
On 10 July 2009, a 1925 Bugatti Brescia Type 22 which had lain at the bottom of Lake Maggiore on the border of Switzerland and Italy for 75 years was recovered from the lake. The Mullin Museum in Oxnard, California bought it at auction for $351,343 at Bonham's Retromobile sale in Paris in 2010.
- 1938 Type 57SC Atlantic from the Ralph Lauren collection
- 1933 Type 59 Grand Prix racer from the Ralph Lauren collection
|Prototypes||Racing Cars||Road Cars|
Bugatti cars were extremely successful in racing, with many thousands of victories in just a few decades. The little Bugatti Type 10 swept the top four positions at its first race. The 1924 Bugatti Type 35 is probably the most successful racing car of all time, with over 2,000 wins. Bugattis swept to victory in the Targa Florio for five years straight from 1925 through 1929. Louis Chiron held the most podiums in Bugatti cars, and the modern marque revival Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. named the 1999 Bugatti 18/3 Chiron concept car in his honour. But it was the final racing success at Le Mans that is most remembered—Jean-Pierre Wimille and Pierre Veyron won the 1939 race with just one car and meagre resources.
|1921||Voiturettes Grand Prix||Ernest Friderich|
|1925||Targa Florio||Bartolomeo Costantini||Type 35|
|1926||French Grand Prix||Jules Goux||Type 39 A|
|Italian Grand Prix||Louis Charavel|
|Spanish Grand Prix||Bartolomeo Costantini|
|Targa Florio||Bartolomeo Costantini||Type 35 T|
|1927||Targa Florio||Emilio Materassi||Type 35 C|
|1928||French Grand Prix||William Grover-Williams||Type 35 C|
|Italian Grand Prix||Louis Chiron|
|Spanish Grand Prix||Louis Chiron|
|Targa Florio||Albert Divo||Type 35 B|
|1929||French Grand Prix||William Grover-Williams||Type 35 B|
|German Grand Prix||Louis Chiron|
|Spanish Grand Prix||Louis Chiron|
|Monaco Grand Prix||William Grover-Williams|
|Targa Florio||Albert Divo||Type 35 C|
|1930||Belgian Grand Prix||Louis Chiron|
|Czechoslovakian Grand Prix||Heinrich-Joachim von Morgen and Hermann zu Leiningen|
|French Grand Prix||Philippe Étancelin||Type 35 C|
|Monaco Grand Prix||René Dreyfus|
|1931||Belgian Grand Prix||William Grover-Williams and Caberto Conelli|
|Czechoslovakian Grand Prix||Louis Chiron|
|French Grand Prix||Louis Chiron and Achille Varzi||Type 51|
|Monaco Grand Prix||Louis Chiron|
|1932||Czechoslovakian Grand Prix||Louis Chiron|
|1933||Czechoslovakian Grand Prix||Louis Chiron|
|Monaco Grand Prix||Achille Varzi|
|1934||Belgian Grand Prix||René Dreyfus|
|1936||French Grand Prix||Jean-Pierre Wimille and Raymond Sommer||Type 57 G|
|1937||24 hours of Le Mans||Jean-Pierre Wimille and Robert Benoist||Type 57 G|
|1939||24 hours of Le Mans||Jean-Pierre Wimille and Pierre Veyron||Type 57 C|
1956 Formula OneEdit
|1956||Bugatti Type 251||Bugatti Straight-8||D||ARG||MON||500||BEL||FRA||GBR||GER||ITA||0*||-*|
- The World Constructors' Championship was not awarded before 1958
The Bugatti 100PEdit
In the 1930s, Ettore Bugatti got involved in the creation of a racer airplane, hoping to beat the Germans in the Deutsch de la Meurthe prize. This would be the Bugatti 100P, which never flew. It was designed by Belgian engineer Louis de Monge who had already applied Bugatti Brescia engines in his "Type 7.5" lifting body.
End of operations - 1952Edit
After a long decline, the original incarnation of Bugatti ceased operations in 1952.
World War II left the Molsheim factory in ruins and the company lost control of the property. During the war, Bugatti planned a new factory at Levallois, a northwestern suburbs of Paris. After the war, Bugatti designed and planned to build a series of new cars, including the Type 73 road car and Type 73C single seat racing car, but in all Bugatti built only five Type 73 cars.
A 375 cc supercharged car was canceled when Ettore Bugatti died on 21 August 1947.
Attempts at revivalEdit
The company attempted a comeback under Roland Bugatti in the mid-1950s with the mid-engined Type 251 race car. Designed with help from 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.
Aircraft parts productionEdit
Bugatti continued manufacturing airplane parts and was sold to Hispano-Suiza, also a former auto maker turned aircraft supplier, in 1963. Snecma took over Hispano-Suiza in 1968. After acquiring Messier, Snecma merged Messier and Bugatti into Messier-Bugatti in 1977.
Bugatti Automobili SpA 1987-1995Edit
Bugatti EB110 (1996)Italian entrepreneur Romano Artioli acquired the Bugatti brand in 1987, and established Bugatti Automobili SpA. Bugatti commissioned architect Giampaolo Benedini to design the factory which was built in Campogalliano, Italy.
By 1989 the plans for the new Bugatti revival were presented by Paolo Stanzani and Marcello Gandini, designers of the Lamborghini Miura and Lamborghini Countach. Bugatti called their first production vehicle the Bugatti EB110 GT. Bugatti advertised the EB110 as the most technically advanced sports car ever produced.
Famed racing car designer Mauro Forghieri served as Bugatti's technical director from 1992 through 1994.
On 27 August 1993, through his holding company, ACBN Holdings S.A. of Luxembourg, Romano Artioli purchased Lotus Cars from General Motors. Bugatti made plans to list the company's shares on international stock exchanges.
Bugatti presented a prototype large saloon called the EB112 in 1993.
Perhaps the most famous Bugatti EB110 owner was seven-time Formula One World Championracing driver Michael Schumacher who purchased an EB110 in 1994. Schumacher sold his EB110, which had been repaired after a severe 1994 crash, to Modena Motorsport, a Ferrari service and race preparation garage in Germany.
End of operations - 1995Edit
By the time the EB110 came to market, the North American and European economies were in recession. Poor economic conditions forced the company to fail and operations ceased in September 1995. A model specific to the United States market called the "Bugatti America" was in the preparatory stages when the company ceased operations.
Liquidation of assetsEdit
Bugatti's liquidators sold Lotus Cars to Proton of Malaysia. German firm Dauer Racing purchased the EB110 license and remaining parts stock in 1997 in order to produce five more EB110 SS vehicles. These five SS versions of the EB110 were greatly refined by Dauer. The Campogalliano factory was sold to a furniture-making company, which subsequently collapsed before moving in, leaving the building unoccupied. After Dauer stopped producing cars in 2011, Toscana-Motors GmbH of Germany purchased the remaining parts stock from Dauer.
- Veyron (2005-present)