The members of the Bugatti family were graced with a combination of artistic talent and engineering genius that was unique in their time.
The artistic streak first manifested itself with Giovanni Bugatti, an architect and sculptor. Around the turn of the 20th century, his son Carlo Bugatti earned international acclaim with his revolutionary furniture designs made of exotic materials. And then there were his two sons, Ettore and Rembrandt Bugatti, much alike – both showing a knack for design and engineering – but at the same time very different. Contrary to the expectations of Carlo Bugatti – who had envisioned his sons taking the respective career path that the other took – Ettore became the engineer and Rembrandt the sculptor, this latter's work fetching high prices even today.
Ettore was certainly the most famous member of the Bugatti clan. Design, craftsmanship, and high aesthetic standards were the defining elements of his work, and the automotive scene still stands in awe of this legendary engineer. Ettore’s son Jean, who died much too young, could have carried on the family tradition at the crossroads of art and engineering; yet since this was not to be, his younger brother Roland took over the family business after the Second World War. Bugatti was unable to keep pace with industry developments and ceased to be a major player in the automobile world. But unlike legions of former competitors, Bugatti is a brand that will not be forgotten – the legend and influence of Ettore Bugatti live on.