Tribute to Ettore Bugatti

World renowned automobile designer and manufacturer Ettore Bugatti sadly passed away on this date 21 August in 1947, Paris and was buried in the Bugatti family plot at the municipal cemetery in Dorlisheim near Molsheim in the Bas-Rhin département of the Alsace region of France. Born 15 September 1881, in Milan Bugatti was an Italian-born and French naturalized citizen . Before founding his eponymous automobile manufacturing company Automobiles E. Bugatti, Ettore Bugatti designed a number of engines and vehicles for others. Prinetti & Stucchi produced his 1898 Type 1. From 1902 through 1904, Dietrich built his Type 3/4 and Type 5/6/7 under the Dietrich-Bugatti marque. In 1907, Bugatti became an employee of Deutz Gasmotoren Fabrik, where he designed the Type 8/9. Bugatti developed the Type 2 in 1900 and 1901, respectively. He developed the Type 5 in 1903. While employed at Deutz, Bugatti built the Type 10 in the basement of his home. In 1913, Bugatti designed a small car for Peugeot, the Type 19 Bébé.

Although born in Italy, Bugatti established his eponymous automobile company, Automobiles E. Bugatti, in the town of Molsheim in the Alsace region of France in 1909 where they manufactured many gorgeous looking high-performance automobiles which 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 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). Famous Bugattis include the Type 35 Grand Prix cars, the Type 41 “Royale”, the Type 57 “Atlantic” and the Type 55 sports car.

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”.

Sadly in the 1950s The company struggled financially, and released one last model , 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.Automobiles E. Bugatti was known for the advanced engineering of its premium road cars and its success in early Grand Prix motor racing. A Bugatti was driven to victory in the first Monaco Grand Prix.

Tragically Ettore Bugatti’s son, Jean Bugatti, was killed on 11 August 1939 at the age of 30 while testing a Bugatti Type 57 tank-bodied race car near the Molsheim factory. After that, 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. Sadly though 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 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.

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. It was around this time that the newly revived 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. Sadly though By the time the EB110 came on the market, the North American and European economies were in recession. Poor economic conditions forced the company to fail and operations ceased in September 1995.

The Bugatti brand was then acquired by Volkswagen AG in 1998, and Giorgetto Giugiaro of ItalDesign was commissioned to produce Bugatti’s first concept vehicle, the EB118, a coupé that debuted at the 1998 Paris Auto Show. The EB118 concept featured a 408 kilowatts (555 PS; 547 bhp), W-18 engine, which is widely considered to be the first W-configuration engine in any passenger vehicle. After its Paris debut, the EB118 concept was shown again in 1999 at the Geneva Auto Show and the Tokyo Motor Show. Bugatti introduced its next concepts, the EB 218 at the 1999 Geneva Motor Show and the 18/3 Chiron at the 1999 Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA).

Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. began assembling its first regular-production vehicle, the splendidly awesome Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4 in September, 2005 at the Bugatti Molsheim, France assembly “studio”, and the even quicker Bugatti Veyron Supersport currently holds the record for the Worlds Fastest Street Legal Production Car after being clocked doing 431.072 km/h (267.856 mph). The Veyron was also named Car of the Decade (2000–2009) by the BBC television programme Top Gear and The standard Veyron won Top Gear’s Best Car Driven All Year award in 2005. Bugatti also has a concept for a Luxury Grand Tourer, named the Bugatti 16C Galibier in the pipe-line too.

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