Bugatti has always been an international brand, reflected even in the biography of the company’s founder. Ettore Bugatti was an Italian from Milan, who founded his automobile company in the formerly German region of Alsace, which became French after the First World War. He felt closely linked to France and, shortly before his death, he obtained French citizenship.
In all classic automobile nations – Germany, England, France and Italy – the brand has attracted attention and found loyal customers. Of the three sold specimens of the legendary Type 41 “Royale”, the embodiment of luxury, one each went to France, Germany and England.
The international character is most impressive in the racing world. In those days, the nationality of a racecar driver was signalled by the colour of his car. Red represented Italy, England was green, Germany was white and French racing cars were blue. Contrary to other car manufacturers, Bugatti sold his racecars to private drivers, and also supported several of them with his own mechanics and extra parts. As each driver had a car in his country’s own colour, Bugatti cars were racing in all colours and celebrated their successes for all countries. Bugatti’s own factory team competed mainly for France. It only competed for Germany before the First World War.
In 1929, as a private driver with factory support, the British racer “Williams” won at the first Grand Prix of Monaco in the British racing green. The enthusiasm for Bugatti in England is especially great. This is also where the first Bugatti club, the “Bugatti Owners’ Club”, was founded in 1929, which still exists today. The hill climb track, “Prescott Hill Climb”, which is owned by the club, is still actively used in the summer.
The rebirth of Bugatti was also international. In the 1980s, the Italian Romano Artioli decided to revive the company. In celebration of Ettore Bugatti’s 110th birthday, he introduced the EB110, of which around 150 specimens were produced in total. Despite this, Artioli was not able to establish the brand on a long-term basis and had to give up his efforts in 1995. In 1998, the German automobile manufacturer Volkswagen reopened Bugatti in Alsace – and history came full-circle. Still today, the story of the Bugatti brand revolves around the four classic automobile nations.
In front of Château St. Jean