The History of Bugatti

Jean Bugatti am Typ 41 Royale

In the mid-1990s, Bugatti existed only as an automotive legend in the history books. Yet the myth of the luxury sports car from Molsheim lived on, with the 500 Bugattis still in existence bearing witness to outstanding engineering and ground-breaking design concepts in the automobiles of a past era. In 1998, Volkswagen took the opportunity to breathe new life into the ninety-year history of this grande marque of the past. Like the acquisitions of Bentley and Lamborghini which were completed the same year, the Bugatti takeover was part of the Volkswagen Group’s strategy of establishing a luxury segment and harnessing a small but steady demand potential. In addition, the revitalisation of this traditional luxury brand was intended to reinforce the technical expertise and innovative strength of Europe’s largest car-maker. The prestige gained in this way was to reflect on the Group’s mid-class offerings and to enhance public perceptions of the Volkswagen Group’s transition from a global volume manufacturer to an integrated alliance of brands with strong individual identities. At the top end of its car range, the Volkswagen Group was able to present Bugatti as an exquisite calling-card with the potential for redefining the boundaries of automotive engineering and design.

Typ 13
TYP 13
Ettore Bugatti
Jean Bugatti am Typ 41 Royale

Even though victory on the race track boosted awareness and sales of the sportsters from Molsheim, Bugatti’s company was anything but profitable. He was always developing new products and these projects devoured the income from the 350 vehicles sold by 1914. In that year, the onset of the First World War brought a temporary end to automobile production at Molsheim. Bugatti made ends meet by designing aircraft engines and selling lucrative licences. As a result, he had the capital required to recommission his old factory in 1919.

The early 1920s were the ideal time for Bugatti to start production again. Modernity was replacing tradition and technology inspired art. Bugatti’s cars seemed ideal for this “golden” epoch. The uncompromisingly aesthetic design of his vehicles was in tune with the spirit of the age and his racing successes underscored the creativity of Bugatti as a designer. The resulting reputation, high standards of workmanship and exclusiveness of his cars, produced in very small series, made Bugattis status symbols of the highest prestige. In addition, the entrepreneur Ettore Bugatti succeeded in tailoring his models to the individual wishes of his prosperous and often famous customers using a kind of modular component kit principle which meant that different chassis could be combined with two engine variants and various types of body.

The specified fuel consumption and emission data does not refer to a single vehicle and is not part of the offer but is only intended for comparison between different types of vehicles. Additional equipment and accessories (additional components, tyre formats, etc.) can alter relevant vehicle parameters such as weight, rolling resistance and aerodynamics, affecting the vehicle's fuel consumption, power consumption, CO2 emissions and driving performance values in addition to weather and traffic conditions and individual driving behavior. Further information on official fuel consumption data and official specific CO2 emissions for new passenger cars can be found in the "Guide to fuel economy, CO2 emissions and power consumption for new passenger car models", which is available free of charge from all sales dealerships and from DAT Deutsche Automobil Treuhand GmbH, Hellmuth-Hirth-Str. 1, D-73760 Ostfildern, Germany and at