Infobox Defunct Company
company_name = Bugatti
fate = Sold to
successor = Bugatti Automobili SpA
foundation = 1909
defunct = 1963
location = Flagicon|FRA
industry = Automotive
Automobiles, airplane parts
Bugatti was founded in
Molsheim, France, as a manufacturer of high performance automobiles by Ettore Bugatti, an Italian man described as an eccentric genius.
The original company is legendary for producing some of the most exclusive cars in the world as well as some of the fastest. The original Bugatti brand failed with the coming of
World War 2, like many high-end marques of the time. The death of Ettore's son Jean was also a contributory factor. The company struggled financially into the 1960s eventually being purchased for its airplane parts business. Today the name is owned by Volkswagen AG who have revived it as a builder of very limited production sports cars.
Under Ettore Bugatti
Ettore Bugattiwas born in Milan, Italy, and the automobile company that bears his name was founded in Molsheima town in the Alsaceregion of France. The company was known for both the level of detail of its engineering in its automobiles, as well 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 Nouveaufurniture 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 Wimillewinning the 24 hours of Le Manstwice (in 1937 with Robert Benoistand 1939 with Pierre Veyron).
Bugatti's doors were as much works of art as they were mechanical creations. Engine blocks were hand scraped to ensure that the surfaces were so flat that gaskets were not required for sealing, to engine turned finishes on many of the exposed surfaces of the engine compartment, and safety wires 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 regarded his arch competitor Bentley's cars as "the world's fastest trucks" for focusing on durability. According to Bugatti, weight was the enemy. Bugatti’s inspiring creations attracted many people from other fields of interest, like
Arlen Nesswho created a motorcycle, called “Smooth-Ness”, with the Bugatti style. He was inspired by the smoothness of a bronze casting of a Bugatti automobile.
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.
*The World Constructors' Championship was not awarded before 1958.
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, 1939at the age of 30, while testing a Type 57 tank-bodied race car near the Molsheimfactory. 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 Parisand 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 Maseratidesigner Gioacchino Colombo, the car failed to perform to expectations and the company's attempts at automobile production were halted.
In the 1960s,
Virgil Exnerdesigned a Bugatti as part of his "Revival Cars" project. A show version of this car was actually built by Ghiausing the last Bugatti Type 101chassis 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. Snecmatook over in 1968, later acquiring Messier. The two were merged into Messier-Bugatti in 1977.
Bugatti Automobili SpA
Romano Artioliacquired the famous 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, Paganiand Maserati.
By 1989, the plans for the new Bugatti-revival were presented by Paolo Stanzani and
Marcello Gandini, famous designers of the Lamborghini Miuraand Countach. The first completed car was labelled the Bugatti EB110GT, advertised as the most technically advanced sports carever produced.
From 1992 through 1994, famed racing car designer,
Mauro Forghieri, was technical director.
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 EB110 came to market the North American and European economies were in recession and operations ceased in September 1995. A model specific to the
United Statesmarket called the "Bugatti America" was in the preparatory stages when the company closed. Bugatti's liquidators sold Lotus to Proton of Malaysia.
In 1997, German manufacturer
Dauer Racingbought the EB110 license and remaining parts stock to Bugatti in order to produce five more EB110 SS units, although they were greatly refined by Dauer. The factory was later sold to a furniture making company, which also collapsed before they were able to move in. The factory still remains unoccupied to this day.
Perhaps the most famous Bugatti EB110 owner is racing driver
Michael Schumacher, 7 times Formula One world champion. Despite later racing for Ferrari, he still retained the EB110 he acquired while racing for the Benetton team. In 2003 Schumacher sold the car -repaired after a severe crash in 1994, the same year of purchase- to Modena Motorsport, a Ferrari service and race preparation garage in Germany.
Bugatti Automobiles SAS
:"See also the main article,
Bugatti Automobiles SAS"
Volkswagen AG purchased the rights to produce cars under the Bugatti marque in 1998. They commissioned
ItalDesignto produce the Bugatti EB118concept, a touring sedan which featured a 555 hp DIN(408 kW) output and the first W-configuration 18-cylinder engine in any passenger vehicle, at the Paris Auto Show.
In 1999 the
Bugatti EB 218concept was introduced at the Geneva Auto Show; later that year the Bugatti 18/3 Chironwas introduced at the IAAin Frankfurt. At the Tokyo Motor Showthe EB 218 reappeared and the Bugatti EB 16.4 Veyron was presented as the first incarnation of what was to be a production road car.
The Veyron 16.4
In 2000 Volkswagen AG founded Bugatti Automobiles SAS and introduced the EB 16/4 Veyron concept, a 16-cylinder quadruple turbo charged car with 1001 hp DIN (736 kW), 0-100 km/h ( 0-62 mph) in 2.5 sec. and goes convert|407|km/h|mi/h|abbr=on , at the
Paris, Genevaand Detroitauto shows, the cost of which to create is estimated at around £6m per carFact|date=June 2008. Development continued throughout 2004 and the EB 16/4 Veyron was promoted to "advanced concept" status. In July 2005 Bugatti Automobiles SAS announced that the car would officially be called the Bugatti Veyron 16.4. It was said that the car—built in a brand new Bugatti factory in Dorlisheimcoord|48|31|32|N|07|30|01|E—would be delivered to clients in October 2005. In fact the Veyron finally entered production in late 2005, the first cars being delivered in early 2006. Minimum speed claims have been met in several high speed tests where the car slightly exceeded its target, reaching auto km/h|408.47 [ [http://www.bugatti.com/en/veyron-16.4/technology/speed.html bugatti.com: "400 and beyond"] ] . According to " Car and Driver", the Veyron's fuel consumption at 253 mph was 3.0 mpg(78L/100km). At full throttle, its 100 L (26 US gal/22 imp gal) fuel tank would empty in just 12 minutes 46 seconds. This is a safety measure studied by the engineers because after 15 straight minutes at 253 mph the tires would melt.
Independent press tests have reported many failures (three out of five cars notionally available for testing in November 2005 were out of service), but the Veyron prototypes were put through the same grueling regimen as other Volkswagen group models, with each
pre-production carlogging over 50,000 miles. This car comes in many different color combinations, including red and black, blue and dark blue, grey and black, and so on.
Bugatti Veyron Fbg par Hermès is the latest limited edition version of the Bugatti Veyron 16.4. It is a limited edition model that costs $2.3 million (not including tax)and has an interior designed and crafted by the French leather and silk specialist, Hermès. The Fbg in the limited edition Veyron's name stands for, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré; the address of the headquarters for Hermès. The Bugatti Veyron Fbg par Hermès has no mechanical alterations and is still essentially the Bugatti Veyron 16.4; the only alterations are that of the interior-balls calfskin composes the new interior.
Musée National de l'Automobile de Mulhouse, home of the Schlumpf Collection of Bugatti cars
* [http://www.bugatti.com Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S.]
* [http://www.octagonfox.com/biblio.html Bugatti bibliography]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.