Ettore Bugatti descended from a long illustrious line of artists and artisans, so he was certainly not the first in the family to become world-renowned, but his impact on the world may have been the most lasting. At least it is on asphalt.
Ettore was pure artist but also showed an innate understanding of and fascination for complex mechanisms from a young age, and by the time he was 16, he was apprenticing for Milanese bicycle manufacturers, Prinetti & Stucchi. While he was apprenticing, he built his first motorized tricycle powered by two engines. This extraordinary achievement was soon followed by his first automobile in 1900, designed and built at just 19 years old.
His talent was unmistakable and his career accelerated. He established his own eponymous automobile manufacturing company in the early 1900’s, and true to his artistic heritage, his cars were hand-crafted like no others in automotive history. The level of detailed craftsmanship was astonishing, the design style was supremely unique, and their power was palpable. By 1925, Bugatti was winning over 75% of all major races, and Bugatti quickly became a household name. Bugatti’s cars became so famous that royalty, movie stars and captains of industry sought them so they could associate with the very best. To call Bugatti a genius would not be far off the mark.
The Bugatti T35 was the phenomenally successful racecar that started the Bugatti legend. It won over 1,000 races in its day, BUT even if it hadn’t won a single race it would still rank as one of the most beautiful pre-war motorcars ever built. It was lithe, purposeful and notable for its distinctive horseshoe arched radiator. The truth is, however, it was ridiculously successful on the race track, this was the era (the 1920’s) that Grand Prix racers really were heroes.
Bugatti 57 SC, Atlantic 1937
One of the most bizarre, elusive and expensive cars is the Bugatti 57 SC Atlantic. With its low stance, powerful engine and lightweight construction, this speedy automobile could reach 123 mph and is considered by many to be the first supercar ever made. Today, only two cars remain of the original four that were produced.
It’s unlikely you’ll be able to pick up an original, but you can enjoy this exquisitely detailed miniature made of more than 1,700 parts.
Bugatti 57 SC Corsica Coupe 1938
There’s no question that a Bugatti is a sight to be seen and the Bugatti 57 SC Corsica Coupe is no exception. This bespoke, eye-catching and dramatically beautiful automobile won the Pebble Beach Car of the Show award in 1998. The brilliant silky blue finish and matte silver trim with its spectacular crocodile interior were a clear show stopper. As Ettore Bugatti once said, “Nothing is too beautiful, nothing is too expensive.”
This dazzling model of 1,780 parts is a feast for the eyes, evoking the same dignity and soul as the original.