The Alsatian village of Molsheim secured its place in automobile history with the arrival of Ettore Bugatti in 1909. Bugatti laid the foundation for his life’s work in a former dyeing factory. Backed by enough credit to build ten automobiles and five airplane engines, he began his work on making the modern, aesthetic automobile a reality.
But the plant in Molsheim was never a mere factory. Ettore Bugatti considered his factory building a work of art in itself. He not only put great emphasis on the perfection of his vehicles – every tool had to be worthy of an artist, as well. He even meticulously designed the shiny brass fittings of the oak doors in the factory and the custodian’s cottage, following his inspirations.
Cleanliness was one of the top priorities in the factory – directly after assembly, every component was thoroughly cleaned of fingerprints. This same painstaking attention to detail can also be found today, in the newly established atelier where the Veyron 16.4 is manufactured. It is an unusual, almost laboratory-like place, that is deliberately not meant to resemble a factory.
Molsheim was designed for self-exhibition right from the beginning. With the acquisition of the decorative Château St. Jean, the Hostellerie du Pur Sang and the museum for the sculptures of his late brother, Rembrandt Bugatti, Ettore created a prestigious location for entertaining merchants, taking photographs and, naturally, receiving customers – in fact, the clientele were quite eager to come in person to pick up their automobiles in Molsheim, as everyone wanted to see the legendary “Usine” and the founder of the company.
This tradition has continued at Bugatti – many customers from the entire world pick up their Veyron 16.4 directly in this small Alsatian town.
|Alsace at the dawn of the 20th century, at the time still a part of the German Reich, was a stronghold of the textile industry. The Schlumpf brothers were also part of this metier and were true Bugatti enthusiasts. These two businessmen made their fortune in textiles and invested it in automobiles – mainly made by Bugatti. Today, these classics have been painstakingly restored and make up the Schlumpf collection at the Musée National de l’Automobile in Mulhouse.|