Molsheim, 07 August 2014: As part of the Monterey Car Week (11 – 17 August), Bugatti is celebrating the conclusion of its “Les Légendes de Bugatti” edition (Bugatti Legends). One year ago, Bugatti launched the exclusive model series during the Monterey Car Week at the well-known and attended automotive events “The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering” and “Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance” with the first Legend. This year, the crowning conclusion will be held on August 15 at the same location with the world première of the company’s sixth Legend. It honors Ettore Bugatti, founder and patron of the brand, and is based on the historical model Type 41 Royale. As with the five previous Legends, only three of the final Legends model will be produced. It costs €2.35 million net. Bugatti is presenting all six Bugatti Legends together for the first and only time.
“Ettore Bugatti is our ‘patron’. His demand that an automobile be a perfect harmony of technology and aesthetics still applies to us today,” said Wolfgang Dürheimer, President of Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. “Ettore Bugatti always strived for the creation of a total work of art. His ideas and vehicles set the foundation stone for an automobile brand that was lauded then and now as the most valuable in the world. Ettore Bugatti himself is a legend. It was clear from the start that we should dedicate the final Legends model to him personally.”
The “Ettore Bugatti” Legend is based on the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse1, as are all the other Legends. The super sports car is powered by a 1,200 PS, 8-litre W16 engine that transmits an unequalled 1,500 Nm at 3,000 to 5,000 rpm to the tarmac and rockets it
from zero to 100 km/h in 2.6 seconds. With a maximum speed of 408.84 km/h with the roof down, the Vitesse is the world’s fastest production roadster ever built.
Ettore Bugatti – automotive pioneer and legend
Ettore Arco Isidoro Bugatti – his full name – was born in Milan on 15 September 1881, the
second child of this highly creative family. His parents hoped that he would pursue an artistic
career like his father and grandfather before him. But instead he became fascinated with
technology, leaving the “Accademia die Belle Arti di Brera” in Milan to begin, at 17, an
apprenticeship in a bicycle/tricycle factory. There he built his first motorized tricycle, and
soon thereafter his first automobile. The construction was so remarkable that it earned him a
prize at an internationally recognised exhibition in Milan. In the following year, he moved to
Niederbronn in Alsace, where the manufacturer De Dietrich, impressed with Bugatti’s first
construction, trusted him with the management of automobile manufacture. Ettore Bugatti
developed new models and took part in several car races until 1904. After leaving De
Dietrich & Cie, he took on a number of jobs in automobile construction, including a job at the
Deutz gas engine factory in Cologne in September 1907. At this time, Bugatti privately
developed a very light vehicle, the Type 10, which he built a little later under his own name.
He left Deutz in 1909 and leased the empty buildings of a former dyeworks factory in Molsheim (Alsace) and founded his own automotive company. Production of the T13 began
and grew year by year.
Thereafter came other light sports cars and an entry into motor racing. Bugatti enjoyed racing
successes at Le Mans in 1920 and four times at Brescia in 1921. He built the famous Type
35 Grand Prix car in 1925, an automobile that won an incredible 412 races in only its first
nine months. It was during these years that production of those automobiles people
associate with the Bugatti brand was begun. Racing, sport and touring cars of their quality
can hardly be found from any other factory. The prototype for the kingly limousine was
produced in 1926: the Type 41 Royale.
Ettore was a versatile inventor. He not only built cars but also dedicated some of his time to
the construction of trains, aeroplanes and boats. So it was that Royale engines were
produced for the new high-speed train for French railways in Molsheim at the beginning of
Production of the Type 57 began in 1934. This best-selling touring car’s body was designed
by Ettore’s son Jean. Ettore handed over day-to-day running of the business to Jean in 1936,
by which time his son had made a name for himself as an exceptionally gifted designer.
Ettore’s hopes for the future of the company rested on his son’s shoulders. Tragically, Jean
died in an automobile accident in 1939, a heavy blow for Ettore that also had consequences
for the company. Ettore Bugatti died from complications arising from pneumonia on 21
August 1947 in Paris. His business was closed upon sale of the company at the beginning of
the 1960s. It was not until Volkswagen acquired the brand rights in 1998 and began
development of the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 that the foundations for a sustainable and successful
continuation of the brand were laid.
Ettore Bugatti’s legacy is still present today and lives on in the brand.
The Type 41 Royale – automotive icon and “vehicle of kings”
As a young man, Ettore Bugatti had always dreamt of building the most powerful and
luxurious production car the world had ever seen. It was not until 1926 that he was able to
turn his dream into a reality. With the acclaimed Type 41 Royale, he created a car that was in
a league of its own in terms of performance, size, comfort, quality and elegance. For its
prototype, Ettore designed an 8-cylinder in-line engine with an overhead camshaft, a
capacity of almost 15 liters and a monolithic head and engine block. The production version
had a 12.7-liter engine with the three valves per cylinder that were typical for Bugatti at that
time. The engine produced around 300 PS at less than 2,000 rpm. The Royale is also regal
in size: measuring approximately 6.5m long and 4.3m across the wheelbase, it weighs
around 3 tonnes (approx. 6,600 lbs.) and boasts a 190-liter tank. The car’s crowning glory is
its radiator cap which features an elephant sculpture created by Rembrandt Bugatti, Ettore’s
brother. This elephant has since become a symbol that is synonymous with the Bugatti brand
to this day.
The difficult economic conditions in Europe and America at the time meant that Ettore was
unable to achieve his goal of producing the 25 vehicles that he had intended to sell to various
royal families and heads of state. Only six vehicles were built and all of them still exist today.