Entrepreneur Romano Artioli acquired Bugatti rights in 1987 and set about resurrecting the iconic French marque by building expensive supercars that paid homage to the most famous of motoring names. An architect-designed factory arose near Modena, in an area already populated by the likes of Ferrari, Maserati and De Tomaso, and the great adventure was soon up and running.
Those talented designers Stanzani and Gandini (creators of the Lamborghini Miura and Countach) were hired, and in 1989 they presented plans for (according to Bugatti boasts) the world’s most technically advanced sports car. With suitably symbolic drama, the Bugatti EB110 was introduced in Paris and Versailles on 15 September 1991, 110 years to the day after Ettore Bugatti’s birth.
This mid-engined coupe had a 60-valve V12 with four turbos, coupled with a six-speed gearbox and four-wheel-drive to deliver sensational performance. The lightweight body was fabricated in carbon fibre and suspension was double-wishbone. The EB110 was long and low, having an aircraft-style cockpit with rounded glass front accessed by a pair of Ganclini’s famous upward-opening doors. A nice touch was provided by a glass engine-cover that provided a view of the impressive power plant. Another neat idea was the electronic rear wing that could be raised and retracted at will.
The following year the Bugatti EB110 SS appeared. This was even lighter and faster than the base model, with the ability to go from sitting on the tarmac quietly growling to a howling 60 mph (97 km/h) in a tad over three neck-snapping seconds. But Romano Artioli was about to learn the harsh lesson that producing the ultimate supercar is like trying to fill a bottomless money-pit. The new Bugatti company went bust in 1995 after producing around 140 EB110s (including SS models).
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
1991 (until 1995)
3,499 cc V12 Quad-turbo
Top speed of 213 mph (343 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 4.5 secs
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Always blame the tools! When in 1995 the world’s greatest-ever racing driver crashed his banana-yellow Bugatti EB110 SS into a truck, Michael Schumacher was quick to point an imperious finger at … the Bugatti’s inadequate brakes.