Elon Musk could be considered a modern day Ettore Bugatti with a few exceptions of course. Ettore Buggatti was a stubborn but talented engineer, designer and entrepreneur. Instead of hiring an army of engineers and designers to build his legendary cars, he did it himself or with the help of his equally talented sons. He was also a somewhat grounded figure, who, to our knowledge, never referenced irrelevant, logically flawed philosophers
Ettore Bugatti was a man who for thirty years built cars on the cutting edge of automotive design and technology. Some were brillant, while others were just plain eccentric, but one thing was for sure, they were all expensive and magnificent. Then suddenly in 1947 he died of natural causes (being awesome), and suddenly with no mastermind to lead in the creation of more automotive masterpieces, his workshop closed. But the legend lives on to this day in the form of the Bugatti Veyron. But the Veyron may not be the coolest car to ever wear the Bugatti badge.
Following his death the Bugatti name, the factory laid fallow for nearly 40 years until the EB110
resurrected the name. In 1989, Italian industrialist Romano Artioli acquired the Bugatti name and constructed a facility in Italy to produce a mid-engine supercar that would evoke the mystique of the original. It was an ambitious project with the end result being a supercar capable of 210 miles per hour, making it the fastest production car at the time. Power came from a quad turbocharged V12 making 552 horsepower driving all four wheels. This was all during the late 80's, when cars that were considered to be fast like the Porsche 959 made 110 less horsepower.
The success of the EB110 was short lived, despite having been owned by the Formula One legend Michael Schumacher, the fast money of the cocaine-fueled 1980's quickly dissapeared as the global economy rescinded into recession. The decrease in sales however did nothing to diminish the technological significance of the EB110. It made use of active aerodynamics, four wheel drive, carbon fiber and employed the use of four turbos at a time when using just one was considered high tech. Even subtle details like the channels surrounding the front headlights helping to move air over the front fender can be seen on modern cars like the Ferrari 458
Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse
Let's be honest, the real reason anyone still talks about Bugatti is because of the Veyron. It's an engineering marvel that manages to be everything from the perfect grand tourer, to one of the best handiling cars ever (despite its massive 4,162 lb curb weight), to the pinnacle of luxury. It's claimed virtually all the production car speed records there are, and every time a start-up manufacturer threatens to topple its reign, a new version is released. Case in point, the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse
, which is now the fastest open top vehicle in production, capable of a top speed of 255 mph. It also retails for $2.4 million, which is chump change if you're launching millionaires into space for a living.
Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic
As cool as the Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse maybe, and it is supremely cool, it would be nothing without the original cars that Ettore Bugatti built. Cars like the Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic
are what make the manufacturer so legendary. The 57SC Atlantic
was designed by Ettore's son Jean Bugatti, and was revolutionary in every single way. It's swooping lines were not only fashionable in 1937 but marked a major shift in automotive design as cars were now coming to terms with the notion of aerodynamics. The 57SC was also incredibly light, as it wasn't built out of aluminum but magnesium, which is ballsy. If you paid attention in your high school chemistry class you'd know that magnesium doesn't deal well with heat
. As a result, the body of the 57SC couldn't be welded together (imagine a giant strip of magnesium on fire inside of a wooden building 1930's workshop) like a normal car. Every body panel had to be riveted together giving it some of the most phenomenal looking body creases in design history.
Bugatti Veyron L'Or Blanc
Those kind of crazy ideas have been applied to modern Bugattis like the Veyron L'Or Blanc
. This one-of-a-kind Veyron is based on the Grand Vitesse and is a culmination of collaboration between the designers at Königliche Porzellan Manufaktur (KPM) Berlin and the design and engineering teams at Bugatti. The end result is a car the that captures the grace of fine porcelain, while also using the handmade, otherwise fragile, parts on a car that's capable of doing over 240 mph.
Bugatti Type 64 Coupe (unfinished)
There's something infinitely charming about the story of a restoration project spanning generations or a lifetime. Jean Bugatti's Type 64 Coupe is one such restoration project. When Jean died in a car crash in 1939, the workshop he left behind housed a completed Type 64 chassis and countless drawings for a body to fit over it. For 75 years, the amazing chassis had no body to do it justice until Stewart Reed Design entered the picture. Due to make it's grand debut this upcoming week at The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering ahead of the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, the project is ultimately destined to be on display at the Mullin Automotive Museum, a private collection dedicated to art deco cars from the 1920's and 1930's. We can't wait to catch a glimpse of this decadent time capsule.
See more jaw dropping Bugatti's here