Showing posts with label Bugatti. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bugatti. Show all posts

Bugatti EB110

Bugatti EB 110 1990s French supercar

The 'EB' in Bugatti EB 110 stood for Ettore Bugatti - the firm's founder. On the 110th anniversary of his birth, the new supercar was unveiled. Fittingly, the launch took place in Paris - since Bugatti was a French firm. When it went on sale - in '91 - the EB110 had a price tag of £285,000. But, if the standard EB 110 was not to your taste, you could always stump up another £50,000 - and drive off in the Supersport version. The latter's 611bhp output delivered 221mph! The stock EB 110's top speed was 212mph. If you had the money - do the math!

Superstar designer Marcello Gandini was recruited to style the EB 110. His mock-up, though, was deemed too radical by Bugatti's top brass. The brief was passed to Italian architect Giampaolo Benedini. Clearly, he was able to style cars, as well as buildings! The aluminium body he drafted was breathtaking. Even the car's engine was a work of art. Its V12 layout took in 4 turbochargers and 60 valves. There was a 6-speed gearbox - and 4-wheel drive. Handling was precise - to put it mildly!

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In '87, entrepreneur Romano Artioli had stepped in to rescue the struggling Bugatti brand-name. He built a state of the art supercar factory - in Campogalliano, Modena, Italy. Benedini - the EB 110's designer - had previously architected the factory in which it was built! The EB 110 thus became a sort of French/Italian hybrid - the only Bugatti model to have done so. To head up the engineering team, Artioli had hired acclaimed technical director Paulo Stanzani. The EB 110's four-year run stretched to '95 - when Bugatti was wound up. 139 EB 110s were built. Among their owners was a certain Michael Schumacher. The ultimate seal of automotive approval? Sorry - off hand, I cannot think of a better one!

Bugatti T251

Bugatti T251 1950s French F1 car

The Bugatti T251 was designed by Gioacchino Colombo. He had formerly worked for Ferrari. Fifties F1 cars were front-engined. Or, they were until Columbo came along. His T251 broke with that tradition. Its straight-eight engine was placed behind the driver. The 5-speed Porsche gearbox - and final drive - were unitary with the motor. That allowed for weight distribution ahead of its time. It all sat in a tubular space-frame chassis. Which was, in turn, hitched up to deDion axles. The fuel tanks flanked the driver. Another harbinger of F1 things to come.

The catalyst for the T251 was Jacques Bolore. He had recently married into the Bugatti family. It was not long before Bolore was influencing the way Bugatti was run. Since founder Ettore Bugatti's death - in '47 - the firm had put racing on hold. Bolore, though, had visions of Bugatti back in F1. Enter the T251! It was unveiled in late '55 - at an airfield, close to Bugatti's Molsheim base. It was there, too, that the car was first put through its paces - though not until March of the following year. Tester was Maurice Trintignant. The T251 was duly entered for the French GP, at Reims. Not, however, without qualms. T251 testing had revealed flaws. Designer Columbo - and driver Trintignant - maintained that more development was needed. But, Bolore's mind was made up. He wanted to go racing. And - in terms of executive clout - Bolore was now in Bugatti's driving seat.

Two 251s were taken to Reims. As the race got underway, the cars' avant-garde layout seemed on the money. Traction was noticeably improved - especially out of slower corners. High-speed handling, on the other hand, was hairy. The 251 had qualified 18th out of 20 starters. Ironically, it was to retire after only 18 laps. The pretext Bugatti gave was that the throttle was sticking. But, it was clear - to anyone with eyes to see - that the T251 was way off the pace. And - with Bugatti's coffers depleted - there was no more money for development, anyway. All a bit of an anti-climax, then - as far as Bugatti's return to top-flight racing was concerned. Sadly, Jacques Bolore's beloved T251 project turned into something of a damp squib!

Bugatti Veyron

Bugatti Veyron 2000s French supercar

Supercar superlatives abound with the Bugatti Veyron. The list of ways in which it outstripped virtually every other car on the planet is a long one. Top speed - 253mph. Peak power - 987bhp. That was produced by a W16-cylinder engine - in effect, two V8s conjoined. Cubic capacity 7,993cc. The Veyron had 4 turbochargers. It used a 7-speed sequential gearbox ... hooked up to 4-wheel drive. Its motor was cooled by 10, yes, 10 radiators. 0-62mph came up in 2.46s. 'Active aerodynamics' kicked in at 137mph. As tech spec for a roadster goes, it does not get much better than that! The Veyron's high-performance price tag? €1.1m. Bargain!

Volkswagen took over Bugatti in '98. Of course, they would have been looking to make an impact. But it took them seven years to do so. Come 2005, though, and a factory had been built for a game-changing supercar. Just 300 Veyrons were made. They did not, in fact, make much profit. Costs incurred by a car like the Veyron are not easily recouped. As a loss leader for Bugatti, though, the Veyron did fine.

The prototype Veyron debuted at the '04 Paris Motor Show. It was a dazzling affair! The Veyron's bodywork alone was breathtaking to behold. Molsheim, Alsace - the French firm's HQ - had served up a stunner! The Bugatti faithful were suitably blown away. To true believers, the Veyron was little short of a miracle on wheels!