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The story of Bugatti (AutoSkunk review) by ShawnSkunk

The story of Bugatti (AutoSkunk review)


founded by an artist, who comes from a family of artist, creator of some of the fastest and yet most beautiful looking cars to roam the road and streets around the world today, from the first ones that could average under between 50 to 90 miles per hour, to one that can go over 300 miles per hour, they're more than just cars that can set records, they rolling high tech, luxurious works of art, hand crafted, hand built, this is the story of one of the world's most prestigious car makers, Bugatti.

our story begins way back to when the company's founder, Ettore Bugatti, was born.
he was born in Milan Italy on Spetember 15th, 1881, he was born into an artistic family and was the elder son of Carlo Bugatti (an important Italian art noveau furniture and jewelry designer), his younger brother was Rembrandt Bugatti who was a renowned animal sculptor, and a sister, Deanice Bugatti.
his aunt, Luigia Bugatti, was the wife of Giovanni Segatini an Italian painter, and his paternal grandfather, Giovanni Luigi Bugatti, was an architect and a sculptor, to sum it up, the Bugattis were a family of artist.
Ettore Bugatti came of age in the 1890's, a time when automobiles started to appearing on streets across Europe, at the time of the early years of cars, only the wealthy cold afford them, automobiles back then in those times were only play things for the rich, who liked to decorate them with flowers and ribbons and then show them off in elegant parades, this was also true for Ettore's Milan hometown, where he saw them passed by everyday, inspite them being rich men's toys, Ettore was transfixed by Automobiles and wanted to be part of this growing industry and age.
but his father thought that Ettore should raise his sights higher and become an artist like his family.
Ettore tried to please his father and also try to become a skilled sculptor but his heart just wasn't set on sculpting, he didn't have the conifdence and believed that his brother was the better artist, so he left the traditional side of art (painting, sculpting) to his brother and he seeked out his own artistic outlet, that outlet being cars.
in 1898 at the age of 17 years old, Ettore got into motorsports but he had to start at the bottom, he purchased a motorized tricycle powered by an engine transfixed on the rear axle driving the rear wheels, he took it apart learning how it works and teaching himself mechanical tinkering and put it all back together and then raced it to some success, winning a few races but inspite of that, he wasn't with it's performance.
believing he could do better, he modified his tricycle adding an extra engine with both engines powering the rear wheels individually, as a result, he was much faster and therefore won a few more races.
he then upped the ante by building a traditional four wheeled vehicle with four engines powering all four wheels individually, but that one however didn't work, all wheel drive back then when it was still in it's infancy was too cumbersome and difficult to drive.
after his quad engined racer, he built a new car called the Type 2, and took it to the 1901 International Exposition in Milan, Italy, his innovative new car won the City Cup and the a medal from the Automobile Club of France, it also won him a 7 year contract the Deitrich Motor Company.
he soon discovered that working in a factory wasn't for him, he was interested in the design process, not manufacturing, Bugatti left Deitrich and moved through succession of design and engineering jobs, he continued designing cars for himself.
he eventually developed a car that he thought he could manufacture on his own, the Type-10.
he found an abandoned dye works building in the Alsace town of Molsheim, France and he approached a local bank for funding.
fortunately for Ettore, the banker had two sons who were car fans, therefore the deal was done, Bugatti would get the funding he needed to start his own car company.
in 1909 he founded "Automobiles Ettore Bugatti" but we know it today as simply "Bugatti".
soon he had a new car and his factory, all that was needed now, was to promote his new company, racing would be the best kind of promotion for any car maker and was primary proving ground for the automobile and car companies, he then decided he would build race cars, Bugatti would go on to build some of the finest racing machines that ever competed and still compete today in organized events.
in 1911, Ettore entered a modified Type-13 in the French Grand Prix, the crowds that watched little Type-13 were amazed, no one at the time had ever seen such a little car go so fast.
the Type-13 was powered small high reving engine fastened inside a small light bodied car, as a result the car had a really good power to weight ratio which was the secret that made it fast and agile while other car makers were using big heavy engines in big heavy bodied cars.
his Type-13 finished the race in second place, not a bad start for the young Italian and also proved a great success as well, in spite of not winning the race, people started placing their orders for their own Bugatti automobile right away.
the racing publicity led to more sales, soon the factory expanded and more workers were hired.
Ettore kept on improving his cars, he soon developed a 100 horsepower car called the Type-18, this car was considered to be world's first super sports car or super car as we call it today and perhaps the most famous example of the Type-18 is Black Bess, a Bugatti Type-18 that was owned driven by woman driver named Ivy Cummings, she was known for her daring driving skills, she won the Bexhill Speed Trial two times in June and September 1923, the september race she won driving Black Bess.
in 1914, Bugatti's racing activities were cut short by war, world war 1 (known as the great war and the war to end all wars) had begun and his factory which sat on the border of Germany, was at the center of it all.
it wasn't safe for Ettore to stay in his home at Molsheim, he buried three of four new race cars he had been working on and used the fourth one to drive off to Milan with his wife and two kids riding with him (oh yes I forgot to mention, Ettore got married to a woman named Barbara Maria Giuseppina Mascherpa, and they had two daughters named L'Ebe and Lidia, two sons, Jean and Roland, Jean would be a key figure for the Bugatti car maker).
during the great war, Ettore developed a revolutionary airplane engine that would allow a machine gun to fire the propeller without shooting it off mid flight, that pretty much was the only contribution he made to the war effort as far as I know.
after the great war had ended in 1918, Ettore and his family moved back to Molsheim and started to rebuild the Bugatti car company, one of his first jobs was to dig up the cars he hid from the Germans during the war, he rebuilt them and started to race again.
in 192o, one of these Bugatti Type-13's won the first Grand Prix race held at Le Mans, in 1921 at Brescia, Bugatti's Type-13's finished in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, an amazing accomplishment that earned the nickname Brescia.
Bugatti's road cars were quite often raced by wealthy owners, their winning streaks meant that Bugattis won hundreds of races during their time on the track.
he was famous for producing race cars and selling them which was considered quite unusual for race car manufacturer to produce race cars and then sell them to outside customers, some that may not even have any racing experience at all but Bugatti did just that.
if you were a customer shopping for a Bugatti back then, you were encouraged to see the race car that competed and won or even was part of the racing team, you could buy that Bugatti race car and it would be all yours.
in 1924, supercharging engines were becoming all the rage, but Bugatti objected to the use of superchargers, he thought of supercharing an engine as a short cut that a good engineer should avoid, in order to compete with the supercharged cars, Ettore used his creativity to developed a very fast race carcalled the Type-35, complete with a new engine and a streamlined body, the car featured what would then become a Bugatti design trademark, the horseshoe shaped radiator grill, this reminded Ettore of his the artistic designs of his father, Carlo.
the Type-35 was ready for the Grand Prix of Leon, France in 1924, these cars were amazing, they were fast, capable of going from 0 to 60 miles per hour in a little over 6 seconds and can reach a top speed of nearly 125 miles per hour, by today's standards that may not sound very fast, but back then in the 1920's, this would be considered a super car.
the Type-35 was one of Bugatti's most successful race cars, developed by Bugatti with race car driver and master engineer Jean Chassagne who also the car in it's first race.
the Type-35 won over 1,000 races between 1924 and 1929, some of their victories include five consuecutive wins at the Targa Florio from 1925 to 1929, they won the Grand Prix World Championship in 1926 after winning 351 races and setting 47 records in two years prior, there's quite a bit on the Type-35 to talk about and there are a handful of different versions of this car as well, so I may do a seperate review on that particular car later on.
continuing the story now, in 1926, Bugatti produced a touring car called the Type-40, it wasn't very fast but wasn't built to go fast nor was it considered very stylish either by 1920's standards, Bugatti asked his 18 year old son Jean to work on it's design, he created a body for his sister's car, like his father and grandfather, Jean Bugatti was an artist, his talent for design earned him a place in the family business, but he started at the bottom, his job at first was to learn how to build cars.
just like all the other workers that at the Bugatti factory, Jean wnet into the factory and there he learned all the skills needed to build a car, he was happy to learn all that he needed to know about the car business but his real dream in life was to race.
Ettore knew how dangerous racing was and therefore wouldn't allow his son to compete.
Ettore lost his brother Rembrandt to suicide, he couldn't bare the thought of losing his son, but Jean ignored his father and secretly started his own speed runs, he raced his Type-43 between Molsheim and Paris where he would meet show girls for a night out on the town and then race home.
on the track, Bugattis were losing to supercharged race cars, Ettore soon re-evaluated his notion against supercharging engines and added a supercharger to his engine, in 1929, Bugatti offered superchargers for his Type-35, creating a lightweight 140 horsepower race car that destined to win races.
the newly supercharged Type-35's 1st and 2nd place at the 1929 Monaco Grand Prix, he was back in the winner's circle, racing wins lead to car sales but Bugatti also used the personal touch to sell his more expensive models, he would invite perspective buyers to his estate, put them up in aguest house and over a long weekend of hunting, dinning, and relaxation convinced them that Bugatti's cars were the greatest cars in the world, one guest however suggested that he didn't have a Bugatti made specially for her, she wasn't interested in a race car, she instead wanted a grand touring luxury car.
Ettore went over his designs and started to put together a design of the grandest luxury car ever made, it was called the Type-41 Royale.
the Type-41 Royale was meant to be a car for kings, the longest, largest, and most powerful car ever made, six prototypes were built, and several made with bodies designed by his son Jean.
in Bugatti fashion, it was not just to be any big car out there, it was to be the biggest and most luxurious car on the road as well as the fastest grand touring car out there, suitable for royalty, and that where the car gets it's name "Royale", as a final touch, Ettore paid homage his late brother Rembrandt by making a small copy of one his animal sculptures, the standing elephant, as the hood ornament for the Royale, inspite of the car's top notch luxury, performance, and styling, only 2 Royales were sold, they were just too ostentatious for a world gripped by an economic depression, today, Type-41 Royales sell for between 15 to 20 million dollars each at auction.
their beautiful custom built bodies further established Jean's reputation as a designer and helped to secure Bugatti's larger than life legend.
while Ettore was stalled in the luxury car trade, his race teams were still winning, in 1930, French driver, Rene Dreyfus won the Monaco Grand Prix in a Type-35B (another variation of the popular Type-35 racing model).
Bugatti was on still on top in the motor racing food chain, but other car makers were catching up, Ettore needed a more powerful engine to stay competitive, in 1931, Bugatti developed the Type-51, a race car powered by a twin cam 8 cylinder engine, in it's racing campaign, the Type-51 claimed 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th at Monaco, Bugatti had succeeded in creating the best race cars in the world, he later followed up with the development of a series of winning cars including a 300 horsepower all wheel drive Type-53, it's two wheel drive cousin, the Type-54, and the Type-55.
but Bugatti's winning streak would be in danger, Ettore didn't have the resources to keep on competing against newer cars that were coming out of Germany, starting in 1934, two mighty German automotive powerhouses, Mercedes Benz and Auto Union (Audi), were developing race cars that took the European Grand Prix racing scene by storm with record setting power and speed, and advanced futuristic styling, all funded by goverment subsidies, they known as the Silver Arrows.
Bugatti just didn't have the level of performance to compete against these sleek and powerful cars, therefore, Bugatti had to focused on building attractive road cars.
in 1934, Bugatti made the Type-57 Touring car, it became the most popular model ever created, a year later, three Type-57 SC Atlantics were built with customized body work by Jean, these showed off Bugatti's shear artistry of their design work with avaiation inspired riveted fenders and streamlined bodies making for unique look that helped them completely stand out, today, these cars are coveted car collectors such as Ralph Loraine, who had a completely restored Atlantic that prizes at prestigious car shows such as the annual Concours De Elegance.
an interesting thing about Bugatti owners today is that some of them not only have an interest in stylish artistic looking cars but also have interest in other visual arts, artist, and architects as well, people that have love and passion for art have a fascination for Bugatti's which doesn't surprise me at all, Bugatti was created by an artist after all and the cars produced by the marque were designed by artist.
Ettore had truly lived up to his family's heritage of artistry and proved that cars can be as beautiful as they are fast.
while building his cars Ettore Bugatti had created a dynasty in the small French province around his factory, but however, his kingdom was about to fall, Ettore always thought that his workers were extended family to him, but in the mid 1930's, unionization, standards on wages, standard for vacation and benefits started to take root and spread throughout France, and to his his dismay, not all of them but some of his workers decided that they wanted to have a union and Ettore Bugatti was against the union.
but in the end, the workers won their union, a crushing blow to Ettore, as much as I like unionization depending on how it's used in a responsible way, I do have to feel sorry for Ettore, he may have been businessman running his own business, but he was a really good man, treating his customers well, treating his workers well, he was someone I wouldn't have minded working for if I was living back in his time.
he felt betrayed by his own workers who felt unhappy with his methods and he spent more time away from Molsheim and left charge of the factory to his son Jean.
Ettore moved to Paris where he concentrated on designing new products, anything that moved like a boat, bicycle, aeroplane, or even a high speed train, nearly everything moved, had the special Bugatti design touch, it was perhaps one of the most creative periods of his life.
while Ettore kept himself busy in Paris, Jean was trying to build car that could compete with the high performance German cars of Mercedes Benz and Auto Union, in 1939, two drivers from the Bugatti factory team showed that while the Germans owned Grand Prix racing, they can still be beaten, they outdrove Auto Union and Mercedes Benz and captured a race victory at Le Mans driving a Type-57G, a car that was essentially a Type-57S with an aerodynamic body placed over it, this car and their victory gave the team hope.
however with the outbreak of war in Europe in the summer of 1939, racing's days of activity were numbered, there was one last race for Bugatti, it was in a seaside town in France, Jean was testing one of the cars that raced at Le Mans and the Bugatti factory driver was not available at the time to test the car, so Jean decided one evening to test the car himself, he took the car onto a road often used by Bugatti as their private test track that ran between Dorlisheim and Molsheim, Jean cherish the time he could use on this road to push a car to it's limits just like he had done when he younger and was racing in younger years racing to Paris for his dates with show girls.
but tragically, this run would be his last, on the day he was testing the car, he was not alone on the road, a mailman on a bicycle insited on going onto to that road and riding his bicycle down that road even though he was cautioned that there was a car on the road going very fast and that it was going to be dangerous for him to be on that road, but the mailman forced his way on the road, Jean came around the turn and over an incline, saw the mailman, and swerved out the way to avoid hitting him, he lost control and crashed the car into a pear tree, Jean at age 30 was killed instantly from the crash while the mailman lived, today, a small stone memorial adorned with a plaque bearing his name and face stand on the spot where he lost his life.
a month later, world war 2 had begun and once again, the Bugatti factory was taken over by the Germans when they conquered France, when the ended in 1945, Ettore was ready to get back to work, but because he was Italian and Italy was a recent enemy of France and the other allies during the war, the French goverment refused to give him back his factory.
Ettore fought to appeal this ruling, after Ettore made presentation at the appeals court, his chauffeur had an idea, "let's go see Molsheim" he said, and so Ettore and his chauffeur visited Molsheim, and then visited the runned down factory and the spot where his son Jean died.
he rode in one of the Royales that didn't sell and he kept, Ettore couldn't go inside his factory but he could see it and see the spot where his son died, he was able to see Molsheim inspite it's war torn condition and it was quite a traumatic experience for him.
Ettore collapsed and his chauffeur helped him up and back into his car and they drove back to Paris, there Ettore fell into a coma, and in August 1947, he died, never knowing that the French appeals court accepted his appeal and gave him back his factory, it was the saddest end to the life an extraordinary man who relentlessy pursued his automotive dream.
others tried to keep the Bugatti marque alive and keep the factory going and produce new cars that would keep the legend alive but their efforts were fruitless, the last Bugatti automobile built was in 1965 on a new chassis and was developed by Italian coach builder "Ghia" for s former head of Chrysler's design department Virgil Exner, it was revealed at the Turin Motor Show in 1966 and then faded into history.
others tried to revive the brand, in the early 1990's, a team of engineers and designers were assembled to create a new Bugatti and is one of my favorite models, the EB-110, it was beautiful as it was fast, but the cost of sustaining the company and producing this car was too great and marque once again went out of business.
nearly a decade later in the mid 1998, the Bugatti marque was revived once again when Volkswagon bought the rights to the marque, after constant delays, the next new Bugatti was unveiled, the Veyron, a 250 mile an hour supercar that was powered by a 1,000 horsepower 8.0 liter W-16 engine, if you have a spare 1 million+ dollars?, you could own this car.
on March 1, 2016, at the Geneva Motor Show, Bugatti revealed a new model, the Chiron, another favorite of mine, this car boast the same 8.0 liter W-16 engine but was given more horsepower, boosting it 1,500 and is also capable of reaching 250 miles per hour+.
then on August 2nd, 2019, Bugatti acheived the impossible, a specially prepared road legal Chiron reached a top speed 304 miles per hour, they had become the first car manufacturer to produce a road car that can go 300 miles per hour, and afterwards, they decided to stop and not persue any higher speed records, they had nothing left to prove.
Bugatti has been a car maker that creates images of fast cars with sleek yet artistic styling, excellence, and luxury, it's a brand that's larger than life that creates cars that are larger than life, there's no telling what Bugatti will do next in the future or what the future will hold for Bugatti, but I'm always excited to see what they will come up with next.
well, that concludes my review, may you live on forever Bugatti, for an eternity, you and your fast, beautiful cars.
now, if you excuse me, it's for me to head off to a classic motorsports reunion at Goodwood.

oh yes one other thing, while a lot of us probably will never be able afford to buy or even rent a Bugatti, they do sell accessories, one way everyone can show off their Bugatti pride, I believe the lego Bugatti sets are still available on Lego's website and their stores, even Mattel produced a new Bugatti collectible one time last year, so there are lots of ways to show off your Bugatti passion without even having to try save up and buy a real one, soo, that's rally cool, oh and of course, as some of you may obviously already know, Bugatti is back in racing but not competing in real life races, instead they're competing in virtual online Gran Turismo events including the official FIA-GT World Tour, so you can still drive Bugatti even though it's not the real deal.
okay that's I'm gonna say further, so I'll shut up and move right along to working on my next review, feel free to check out the links I posted in the description below, see you next time. ;3

this review photo was in shot in GTSport
GTSport, Gran Turismo, the name and game content are property of Polyphony Digital, this photo was shot and used for the sake of reviewing purposes only under the FAIR USE LAW.

you can even see more classic Bugatti models right here in this wikipedia article as well too :3

and there's also their official website :3

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