Bugatti's Impact

Throughout the history of mankind, human instinct has driven the ambitious decisions to exceed impossible feats. Until the beginning of the millennium Bugatti Motor Company was vague in the minds of most people. It took great ambition and risk to behold the fastest land speed record of a full production vehicle. Bugatti changed motor companies world wide prospective of the impossible becoming plausible and aroused striving new concepts of automobiles. Such drastic endeavors inspired the resurrection of Bugatti putting them back on the map as one of the worlds top sports automobile manufactures.

In 1881 Thomas Edison established an invention that would change humanity in ways never imagined by man. The birth of electricity sparked the fast pace world of industrialization, igniting a broad range of exciting new concepts and inventions. Twenty-one years following the event a man by the name of Ettore Bugatti was born in Milan. Seen as absolute genius of his time he would, at only 17 years of age, be offered a contract from De Dietrich automobile manufactures for his superior car concepts and innovative ideas. (Thompson, 1) In 1910 the first Bugatti, type 13, was put into production in the newly founded Bugatti manufacturing plant in Molsheim, near Strasbourg, France.

As the years carried on production continued to increase at a steady rate. (Hall-Geisler, 1) During the outbreak of World War I in 1914, Ettore Bugatti halted the production of automobiles and began the designs of airplane engines. Several of the allies contracted the design for production, including Italy and the United States. Bugatti would not reopen its door until a year after the war ended in 1919. (Thompson, 1)

The production of the Type 13 was back in commission and the auto manufacturer would continue to build its reputation. With a 1.3 liter, four cylinder engine the type 13 Bugatti produced twenty horsepower with a top speed of sixty miles per hour. As the face of Bugatti it was widely recognized for its innovative design and futuristic body style. (Hall- During the rise of Bugatti’s type 13 Ettore Bugatti was only in his twenties. Known to employees as “Le Patron,” translating to “The Leader,” Ettore Bugatti had imperial management skills. (Lamm, 26) At such a young age he had established an automotive company that, during the time, was globally recognized.

This feat was broadly admired and intimidating to other auto manufactures. Uniquely Ettore was not very open to new concepts and mass production. He stood by his belief that a true automobile was built with the quality and care of the best materials and workers. He avoided the new innovations such as the supercharger, due to its minuscule repute and unreliability, and would frown at the idea of implementing an assembly line in his factory.

His opposition would continue and preserve Bugatti’s truly unsurpassed quality. (Lamm, 17) Very influential in Europe at the time, racing had great influence on the automobile market. Prior to television populace would recognize and support the paramount racing teams. This had great influence on automotive popularity and desirable cars. (Lamm, 6) During the 1920’s the Bugatti type 13 would dominate the racetrack, painted a distinctive French blue, the model took the top four spots in a majority of events.

The type 13 would gain the title “Brescia,” a small town in Italy near Milan where Ettore was originally from, and would become the highest-selling Bugatti of the time, finding 2000 new owners. Bugatti was known as a “Family Business.” In 1929 Jean Bugatti, Ettore’s oldest son, took control of the automotive company. Jean was mostly recognized for the creation of the Bugatti type 41, known as the “Royale.” The new model offered a massive 13-liter engine, long base for a comforting ride and most importantly a hood ornament of a dancing elephant designed by Rembrandt Bugatti, Ettore’s late brother. Costing twice as much as a contemporaneous Rolls-Royce, the type 41 never found the right market to purchase.

(Thompson, 1) Jean Bugatti was killed in a test drive accident in 1939 causing Ettore to step back into the position. After Ettore’s death in 1947 his younger son Roland took control of the company. Growth of the company would continue until the start of World War II which drove most manufactures into bankruptcy, Bugatti simply shuts it’s doors. In 1991 an Italian by the name Romano Artioli would reignite Bugatti but not by reopening the Molsheim factory. He would create the EB110 in commemoration of Ettore Bugatti’s 110th birthday.

The supercar was the rebirth of the Bugatti racing heritage and continued into the next generation of supercars. The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 is currently the fastest, most powerful, and most expensive street-legal full production car in the world, with a proven top speed of over 400 km/h (407.5 km/h or 253.2 mph), though several faster or more expensive vehicles have been produced on a limited basis. It reached full production in September 2005.

The car is built by Volkswagen AG subsidiary Bugatti Automobiles SAS in its Molsheim Alsace, France factory and is sold under the legendary Italian/French Bugatti mark. It is named after French racing driver Pierre Veyron, who won the 24 hours of Le Mans in 1939 while racing for the original Bugatti firm. (Hall-Geisler, 1) Development of the vehicle began with the 1999 EB 18/4 "Veyron" concept car. Introduced at the Tokyo Motor Show, it was similar in design and appearance to the final Veyron production car. One major difference was the EB 18/4's use of a W18 engine with three banks of six cylinders.

The Veyron's head designer was Hartmut Warkuss with exterior designed by Jozef Kabaň of Volkswagen rather than Giorgetto Giugiaro of ItalDesign who had handled the three prior Bugatti concepts. (Thompson, 1) VW chairman Ferdinand Piëch announced the production Veyron at the 2000 Geneva Motor Show. It was promised to be the fastest, most powerful, and most expensive car in history. Instead of the W18, the production model would use a VR6/WR8-style W16 engine. First seen in the 1999 Bentley Hunaudieres concept car, the W16 would get four turbochargers, producing a quoted 1001 horsepower.

Today the Bugatti Veyron is widely recognized as the most exclusive and eccentric sports car on the market. With promotion from the media and celebrities interest has developed dramatically. From its racing heritage Bugatti has fashioned a new level of supercar that has aroused a since of competition. On August 12, 2010 Shelby automotive company unveiled a full production car that defeated the record set by the Veyron in 2000.

Within two months after the release of the Shelby Aero TT, Bugatti produced the Veyron SS, beating the Shelby by 12 mph and regaining the title as fastest, full-production vehicle on the market today. (Hall-Geisler, 1) In a since Bugatti has established a landmark of supremacy from the early 19th century to present day. With a few uncontrollable interruptions, the company has upheld its vow to manufacture an automobile that is not only record setting and of the highest quality but more importantly place you behind the wheel of a supercar that invokes the wildest of dreams, fulfilling the strive to press the limits of man and excite every sense a car enthusiast may have.