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Bugatti Automobiles SAS
1, Chateau St. Jean, Dorlisheim
67120 Molsheim, France
Phone: + 333/8804809/0
Bugatti, one of the most respected names in automobile history, Has come, once again, to mean the highest level of excellence in automotive engineering and design. The almost one-hundred year history falls into three distinct phases. This is a very short version of that passionate, colorful company history.
Ettore Isidore Arco Bugatti was born in 1881 in Italy but lived most of his life in France. At the age of just seventeen, he started building and racing cars. His successes caught the attention of investors and in 1909 he started his own firm in Moslheim, a town in Alsace.
Between 1924 and 1927 Bugattis won 1,851 races. By the mid-20s the factory had 1000 employees. In Great Britain the Bugatti was the car of choice for its superb handling on winding, narrow country roads.
In an effort to attract the not-so-wealty automobile buyers, the new Type 40 was introduced in 1926 and a chassis could be purchased for as little as $1,770 in Great Britain.
The Type 40 offered a new touring chassis for the 1628cc 4-cylinder Type 37 engine - shorter and lighter than the frame on the 8-cylinder Type 38. It had the traditional handling of a Bugatti - good steering, excellent brakes, and overall comfort.
Production of the Type 40 ended in 1930, and then only 50 of the Type 40A cars were produced in 1931. Its main feature was an American-style, 2-seat roadster body designed by Jean Bugatti, the son of Etorre Bugatti.
The new Bugatti Type 40 engine had a coil instead of a magneto and a lower compression ratio than the Type 37 racing car. The Type 40 could reach a top speed of 75 miles per hour - quite daring for those times and roadways.
World War II took its toll on both the company and Mr. Bugatti and there was very little meaninful production after the War.
In 1986, Italian entrepreneur, Romano Artioli, purchased the rights to the Bugatti name and logo. Work was begun on a car to rival the design and performance of other exotic cars such as Ferrari and Lamborghini. This time, Bugatti would be an Italian made automobile.
Some say there has never been a car that was more overhyped and over-engineered, but you had to admit that the new Bugatti EB110GT was a great looking supercar. The problem was that EB110GT became available just as the European economy was in a downward spiral and most of the probable clientele canceled their orders.
The project staggered on until 1995 when the company declared bankruptcy, and only a handful of cars were delivered.
The trademark rights to Bugatti were purchased by Volkswagen Ag in 1998. In 2001, the decision was made to go into series production of the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 with a maximum of 300 cars. In December of the following year, Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. was established, a subsidiary of Volkswagen France, with headquarters in Molsheim. And nearly a year to the day thereafter, at the end of 2003, Dr. Thomas Bscher took overall charge of the Bugatti project as the new President of Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S.
In September, 2005, the much-awaited Bugatti Veyron 16.4 went into production with plans of delivering the first new Bugatti before the end of the year.