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- Post is under moderationPerte de contrôle / #Bugatti / #Bugatti-Chiron
L’avènement de la voiture autonome ne cesse de me questionner. Pas vraiment sur l’aspect technologique mais plutôt sur la façon dont on tente de nous l’imposer et ce que cela cache. L’idée est comme souvent de nous faire croire à un progrès en matière de sécurité et un confort dont on ne pourrait se passer et, effectivement, sur le papier, pouvoir continuer à dormir/lire/travailler/jouer (etc., etc.) alors que vous êtes dans votre voiture a quelque chose d’assez attirant. S’entendre dire que la technologie va pallier vos errements ou ceux des autres usagers est là aussi un argument que l’on peut difficilement rejeter. En focalisant là-dessus, les acteurs du secteur s’arrogent une adhésion massive de la population qui ne va pas pousser sa réflexion plus loin.
Lorsque Google et sa home page sans pub ou Facebook et ses “amis” sont apparus sur les écrans d’ordinateur, ou lorsque les smartphones ont débarqué, tout le monde a naïvement cru à la philanthropie des propositions. On sait maintenant que le seul intérêt de ces entreprises est de connaître les moindres faits et gestes de leurs utilisateurs. En fait, toutes les évolutions du monde automobile actuel, souvent liées à la connectivité, cachent des objectifs qui dépassent largement le bienfait qu’elles sont supposées apporter. Les boîtes noires censées vous protéger ne vous surveilleraient-elles pas ? Les voitures connectées supposées offrir le Wi-Fi et des services inédits ne sont-elles pas avant tout pistées 24/24 ? Les radars “sauvant des vies” ne sont-ils pas plutôt de belles machines à sous ? La voiture électrique est-elle vraiment LA solution ou un extraordinaire enjeu politique et commercial ? Et cette voiture autonome supposée vous affranchir des tâches pénibles de conduite, en aurez-vous toujours le contrôle à l’avenir ?
C’est peut-être difficile à concevoir pour les générations hyperconnectées, mais le concept de conducteur autonome, et plus largement de citoyen en capacité de déconnexion, me paraît beaucoup plus sain que celui de la voiture autonome. Ne perdez pas le contrôle.
Méditez tout ça sur les plages avec ce beau numéro estival bourré d’engins pour conducteurs responsables réfractaires à l’idée de lâcher le volant ! Bonnes vacances.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationDrive-my drives world's fastest supercar. The power to impress. Robert Coucher discovers that what's truly remarkable about the new Veyron Super Sport is not its sheer speed, but the civilised way in which it achieves it. / #2011-Bugatti-Veyron-X16-Super-Sport / #2011 / #Bugatti-Veyron-X16-Super-Sport / #Bugatti-Veyron / #Bugatti-Veyron-Super-Sport / #Bugatti-Veyron / #Bugatti /
Let's not waste words. The new 2011-Bugatti-Veyron-X16-Super-Sport is the best supercar in the world. Priced at a cool £2 million and with just 30 to be constructed, already 24 have been bagged. Fittingly, it's the Veyron's swansong.
The changes over the regular' car include an uprated #W16 , 8.0-litre quad-turbocharged engine that produces 1183bhp, up by some 196bhp thanks to bigger turbos, bigger intercoolers and better breathing. Torque has also risen to a staggering 1105lb ft, all delivered between an easy 3000 and 5000rpm.
To handle this 20% increase in grunt the SS's drivetrain has been extensively re-engineered, with a tougher gear-set in the sevenspeed #DSG gearbox, as well as uprated brakes, suspension and steering. Crucially, the aero package has been adapted to suit this car's astonishing (potential) 268mph top speed.
The ultra-high-speed Veyron SS is designed to be a totally useable road car and this is what makes it so impressive. You climb into the well-made but understated interior, fire it up. Select Drive on the auto box and trundle off. The steering is light, the ride is comfortable, the engine sounds powerful but muted, the brakes are viceless and visibility is perfect out of the front and acceptable to the rear. The Veyron is more Bentley than it is Porsche in terms of comfort and refinement, which is a real achievement.
But find an open road and allow the speed to rise over 180km/h - about 110mph - and the SS switches into Handling mode. The ride height drops and the rear wing deploys. Touching a paddleshifter mounted on the steering wheel seamlessly switches the Bug from auto to manual. Depress the accelerator and as soon as 3000rpm spools up on the rev counter (the red line is at a lowly 6500rpm), which it does very quickly, then wham, the 1105lb ft of torque hits the tarmac and the SS is immediately at warp speed. But the deep rumble from the W16 engine remains subdued and the Bugatti does not lose its composure one iota as the superb DSG gearbox whips through the gears almost imperceptibly. The SS tracks down the road at impossible speed but the steering remains light and linear and the huge carbon ceramic brakes are totally reassuring as they evaporate huge speed with disdain. The Bugatti might weigh a chunky 1838kg but it never feels like it on the road.
The Veyron's all-wheel-drive chassis does a valiant job of flattering the driver, making progress on any sort of road surface seem easy. And of course, this is all happening at speeds well beyond the capability of any Ferrari. Porsche or Bentley. And that's the surprise and the real attraction of this monster car. It is so powerful, yet so refined that you soon start to drive it like a gentleman, enjoying its supple ride, quiet and comfortable interior, and immense ground-covering abilities. It makes small aircraft appear horribly antiquated - it is not only the best supercar in the world, it is one of the best GT cars as well.
Above How many Super Sport buyers will have the restraint to opt for a discreet colour scheme like this one, we wonder' The SS hardly needs to advertise itself.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationLONG LIVE THE KING
Frankfurt Gran Turismo concept previews design language of the next Veyron / #Bugatti-Veyron-II / #Bugatti-Chiron / #VAG / #VW
Nothing in the motor industry stays still for very long. The #Bugatti-Veyron is now over and in its place is about to come the next Bugatti hypercar. It’s believed to be called the Chiron, named after 1930s Bugatti racing driver Louis Chiron.
Some fortunate #Bugatti customers have enjoyed an exclusive preview at the beautiful Bugatti mansion in Molsheim, and the asking price is rumoured to be around ¤2.2 million. Meanwhile, mere mortals got a taste of what’s to come when Bugatti translated from the digital world the Bugatti racer that had been developed for the video game Gran Turismo. ‘This project showcases Bugatti’s new design language, which we have developed to celebrate this new chapter in our history,’ says Bugatti president Wolfgang Dürheimer.
So, what do you get for your black credit card-wilting outlay? A full 1480bhp and the promise of a top speed of 288mph with tyres specially developed to prevent them exploding at this ultra-velocity. The Chiron is a heavily developed Veyron so it retains the quad-turbocharged 8.0-litre, #Bugatti-W16 engine, four-wheel-drive system (with torque vectoring) and seven-speed, dualclutch transmission.
These pictures (below) are of the Gran Turismo concept, but those who have seen the Chiron say it is instantly recognisable as a Bugatti thanks to its signature horseshoe front grille and well-planted stance. The carbonfibre bodywork is more angular than before and double-barrelled headlights add menace. There are large vents in the front wings as well as air scoops on the roof, and the four round tail-lights are replaced by a full-width LED light-bar embedded in a silver carrier. The exhaust is integrated in a new end panel shaped like a stylised ‘B’.
The revised W16 engine will feature cylinder deactivation, electric-actuated turbocharging and direct injection. Bugatti is planning to build 500 examples and the Chiron will be launched at Geneva in 2016. The King of the road is back, long live the King!
Above. Until the new #Bugatti-Vision-Gran-Turismo arrives (expected to be called the Chiron, at the #2016 Geneva show), this Gran Turismo concept unveiled at Frankfurt is the biggest clue as to what comes next.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationBUGATTI TYPE 35 AND VEYRON Past master and last-of-line meet in California
THE KINGS AND I
As Bugatti prepares to move into a new era, Robert Coucher drives an early masterpiece and the end-of-line Veyron back-to-back / Photography Dominic Fraser
The Bugatti Veyron is history. The King of the Road is dead. It was first launched ten years ago, and Bugatti has produced only 300 Veyron coupés and 150 roadsters. The cars are all sold and no more are to be constructed. We are at the end of this particular era of technical tour de force. The diminutive #Bugatti Type 35T you see here was also an engineering marvel when it was launched in the early 1920s, and is arguably one of the most successful racing cars ever, with more than 2000 victories and podium finishes, including five consecutive wins on the Targa Florio, the toughest road race of them all.
So, two completely different motor cars from opposite ends of the automotive timeline. It is incredible to think that the Veyron has been around for a decade, and this Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse is the last of the illustrious line – and the Veyron is still the fastest car in the world. The World Record model holds the highest top speed – electronically limited to 268mph to prevent the tyres disintegrating! And this Grand Sport Vitesse holds the top speed record for a roadster at 254mph.After a decade dominating the high-speed, high-tech automotive world, the Veyron is still… the daddy.
The gestation of the Veyron was not easy. In the 1990s Volkswagen Group supremo Ferdinand Piëch decided a 1000bhp 400km/h supercar would be a good idea. Having been the brains behind the all-conquering Porsche 917 and Audi Quattro, he’s the sort of fellow who thinks at that rarefied level. He charged his top engineers with delivering the project and, after a year expending maximum brainpower and engineering skill, they failed.
So Dr Wolfgang Schreiber was brought in as chief engineer and Le Mans racer Thomas Bscher was appointed as president, and the über-complicated Veyron came to fruition and blew away everything that had gone before. Among car enthusiasts the Veyron was met with mixed reaction. Yes, its performance statistics were unbelievable and it pushed the boundaries of the hypercar beyond comprehension. But to some it seemed too big, too complicated and too much. A completely different animal to the lean, minimal and beautiful (mostly) vintage Bugattis of the past. But these armchair critics had probably never slipped down behind the thick-rimmed, EBembossed steering wheel of a Veyron. Trust me, you’ll never experience anything else like it out there in the mad, bad world.
With those 450 examples now built and sold out, the model certainly found the clientele it was aimed at. There are urban myths about Bugatti losing money on every Veyron but, at €2 million a pop, depending on specs, that’s almost a billion into the Bugatti coffers. As successful as the great Type 35? Probably. Indeed, the Veyron is expensive to run, with a full service at around £14,000 and a set of tyres costing £23,000, with new rims required every five tyre-changes at £7000 a corner. Oh yes, and at full chat it will drain its fuel tank in eight minutes flat. But as the owners probably run thirsty private jets and superyachts as well, so what?
The Veyron is often compared to the legendary McLaren F1 (of which only 106 examples were ever constructed), the car that held the supercar mantle until Piëch and his boys unceremoniously yanked it away. Gordon Murray’s F1 is different to the Veyron, being light (1250kg), pure and untainted by such driver aids as traction control. Hell, it doesn’t even have servo-assisted brakes. Back in 2010 we did a track test with Rowan Atkinson comparing his McLaren F1 against a Veyron brought along by test driver and ex-Formula 1 and Le Mans racer Pierre-Henri Raphanel. Up at Rockingham Motor Speedway, the track was treacherously wet. Rowan, being Rowan, gave both cars the beans (sorry) and, while the all-wheel-drive Veyron remained clamped to the glistening tarmac at stupendous speed, the McLaren was immediately sliding off-line at some very adventurous angles.
I’ve had the good fortune to drive an F1 on fast country roads through France and it’s a superb machine with that naturally aspirated 627bhp 6.0-litre V12, which sounds soulsoaringly wonderful. But on tricky roads it’s a handful. Think of an early Porsche 911 with way too much power. The McLaren is astonishingly fast but I had problems keeping up with a Ferrari 599 on the unknown roads. With the normally urbane and smooth owner sitting next to me fast turning pale I was circumspect, especially when he told me he’d just taken the F1 to McLaren for a bit of servicing and sorting out. The bill was around £20,000. Hmm, these hypercars are all expensive to run and, now that McLaren F1s are valued at around £8 million, well, a sub-£1-million, pre-owned Veyron looks like good value no matter how many tyres you shred.
I drove a Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse last year on the Mille Miglia, taking a morning’s break from competing in a 1931 Bugatti Type 51 racer. Manuela Hoehne, Bugatti’s head of communications, gave me the key on the second day of the Mille and let me loose through the Italian mountains. On a particularly challenging section of road we came up behind mybête noire… a 599GTO.
Its driver clocked the big Veyron in his mirrors and went into full-blooded attack mode. He drove the Ferrari well and absolutely flat out. He cut the apexes, flinging dirt at the Bug, and used every millimetre of the road, slewing the 599 at ten tenths. In the Veyron I clicked down a gear and watched the antics at about six tenths. The Veyron idly toyed with the 599 without even beginning to try.
So here we are in California on the quiet and genteel 17 Mile Drive near Monterey (in the Land of the Free, the armed guards check you in and out at the security gate) with this Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse and the well-used Type 35T. And riding shotgun to show us how it’s done is Le Mans winner Andy Wallace (he piloted the fearsome ground-effect 240mph TWR Jaguar XJR9 in 1988). Without wanting to blow hot air up his intake restrictor, Andy is a gentleman and tremendously overqualified to show a bunch of hacks around these great cars. But he remains polite, patient and amusing and is incredibly well informed about everything Bugatti.
Now I’m not going to kid you that we laid all 1200bhp (metric) of Veyron power (and 120bhp of Type 35 grunt) down along the guntoting enclave of 17 Mile Drive but it makes a dramatic backdrop to these dramatic motor cars and I hope you enjoy Dominic Fraser’s photographs. Andy has driven many properly fast cars at insane speeds but he is clearly taken with these Bugattis.
The Veyron looks menacing but the finish of the matched carbonfibre-weave bodywork is lustrous and the two-tone blue colour scheme looks smart and expensive. Against it, the faded and patinated Type 35T looks almost like a child’s toy car. But don’t be fooled, it is anything but.
Says Andy: ‘The Veyron is set up to understeer slightly but this can easily be balanced by the throttle and the turn-in is razor sharp. The engine has huge reserves of torque and the steering is terrifically accurate and communicative. The Grand Sport Vitesse has a slightly softer damping set-up than the coupé, which gives it a very composed ride, so the car is not in any way intimidating and can be threaded down a road with accuracy. The really amazing thing is its sheer traction. Hop in and I’ll show you.’
The cockpit is very low, the seats are mounted low in the frame and I find it amusing that on this €1.9-million car they are adjusted manually by pulling on the lever at the front of the squab. Good old-fashioned weight-saving to prune the Bug’s kerbweight down to 1990kg! The interior is quite simple but beautifully hewn. The leather buckets are offset by blue stitching and that massive steering wheel is a work of pure art. ‘Being so low-slung helps the handling as the car’s centre of gravity is as near to the ground as possible,’ says Andy, as he fires the 8.0-litre W16 engine. The sound is astonishing. It is unlike that of any other motor car. It’s a hard, aggressive, loud monotone. The engine has four turbochargers and their whooshing overlays the mechanical thunder.
Andy snicks the delicate shifter into Drive and eases away. The flat engine note climbs as the seven-speed dual-clutch ’box slurs up through the cogs. The road clears and Andy looks at me. Here we go. I know what’s coming so I brace myself and tense my neck muscles as tightly as I can. With a monstrous roar the Veyron launches and, yep, my head smacks back onto the headrest. Hard.
The raw acceleration is quite stupendous. Your brain takes a couple of milliseconds to catch up with the speed of movement as your eardrums are assailed by the mighty bellow from behind. Le Mans winner Wallace was being gentle up until now but he’s morphed into a focused racer as he firmly takes control of the 1184bhp Bug. And when it is time to slowdown hedoessowithabsoluteconviction. He stands on the brake pedal and the huge carbon-ceramic discs cut the speed with such ferocity I’m slammed up hard against the seatbelt. Oof.
This Veyron experience is as overwhelming as always. ‘The tyres are not up to temperature just yet so the gearbox is selecting second gear to allow the most traction from a standing start,’ says Andy. I’m not looking forward to the full-on first gear thrust, I can tell you. And no, we won’t be troubling the special key that is required to unlock speeds of over 375km/h.
Andy then lets me take the wheel and I’m reminded of the Veyron’s beautifully fluid and feelsome steering, the awesome brakes, forgiving suspension and the pure rush of driving such a machine. When left in automatic it’s happy to potter but use the paddles and it’s supersonic. Bear in mind the Veyron’s top speed is 100mph higher than Concord’s landing speed. Ample sufficiency.
Climbing out of the recessed Veyron and into the Type 35T is a reverse shock. You feel perched and exposed in its tight cockpit, with your feet scrabbling for room on the oil-kissed bare aluminium gearbox case. Whippet-slim Andy leaps behind the wheel and deftly sets about the start-up procedure. Kill switch, ignition, magnetos and fuel switches – I pump the dash-mounted fuel pump up to pressure – before firing up the 2.3-litre straighteight, which burst into angry action. The whole car shivers and shakes with mechanical energy. The exhaust is deliciously raspy and loud through the delicate twin tailpipes, and the view through the aero-screen and down the long, louvred bonnet with its leather straps is emotive.
Julius Kruta, head of tradition at Bugatti, freely admits this Type 35T (‘T’ for Targa Florio) is something of a bitsa, but they’re all real bits and it’s used properly by the enthusiastic Bugatti staffers who are lucky enough to take it on the Mille Miglia and other historic events. Incidentally, Pierre Veyron was an early Bugatti development engineer and driver and he won the 1939 Le Mans with Jean- Pierre Wimille, co-driving the rather bulbouslooking Type 57G ‘Tank’. He is honoured with the latest Bugatti being named after him.
The Type 35 has its pedals in the normal layout – many of its contemporaries have the throttle in the middle – but the gearshift pattern is the ‘wrong’ way around, with first gear to the left and back, third back and right. No matter, Andy guns the straight-eight, eases it into cog one via the long shifter poking out through the aluminium bodywork, and the lightweight 750kg Bug roars away with glee. Immediately he’s ‘on it’, enjoying hustling the little Bug through the curves with beautifully clean gearshifts. The skinny tyres offer little grip and soon we are sliding neatly through the corners.
The T35 is superbly balanced with 50:50 weight distribution and, when I take my turn behind the large-diameter, thin-rimmed wooden steering wheel, it is incredibly alive and involving. The brakes are cable-operated but they work. You need to get your head around the gearshift pattern and the crash ’box. It doesn’t require force and the trick is to let the shifter linger in neutral, doubledeclutch, and then use your fingertips to snap it into the next gear. Best not to keep rubbing the gear selector up against the cogs.
The steering is quick and direct and the gear ratios are tightly stacked but whine loudly in third. The ride is very good for a car of this era and you can feel its racing pedigree. But it’s the jewel-like engine that’s the real joy. It has lots of grunt and is cracklingly eager to rev and makes driving down any road a total pleasure. Impressive for a 90-year-old machine.
While both of these motor cars are Bugattis, they are not really comparable. Yet both exhibit engineering of the highest standards and both break the rules, the Type 35T being the first race-winning motor car you could use effectively on road and track, and the Veyron because it redefined any previous envelope of performance.
Which to have? Well, obviously, both. Which one would I like most? The Type 35T, because it is one of the greatest vintage motor cars ever and I could have all sorts of fun with it, popping to the shops, blasting around the Mille Miglia or sliding around a racetrack with the Vintage Sports-Car Club nutters.
The Veyron, on the other hand, is an expression of utterly astonishing automotive engineering but, as I’m not part of the jet set, it’s not for me. Le roi est mort, vive le roi… Turn to the next page.
Right and below. An 8.0-litre quad-turbo W16 versus a twin-cam straight-eight: the elder is simpler and more purist in its approach, but there’s no denying the appeal of that thundering 1184bhp.
TECHNICAL DATA 2015 #Bugatti-16.4-Veyron-Grand-Sport-Vitesse / #Bugatti-Veyron / #VAG / #VW
ENGINE 7993cc W16, DOHC per bank, four turbochargers, electronic fuel injection and engine management
POWER 1184bhp @ 6000rpm
TORQUE 1106lb ft @ 3000-5000rpm
TRANSMISSION Seven speed dual-clutch, four-wheel drive
SUSPENSION Double wishbone hydraulic with three height settings
BRAKES Carbon-ceramic discs; rear spoiler acts as air brake above 120mph
STEERING Rack and pinion, power-assisted
PERFORMANCE Top speed 254mph. 0-60mph 2.6sec
TECHNICAL DATA #1925 #Bugatti-Type-35T / #Bugatti-Type-35
ENGINE 2262c straight-eight, OHC, twin #Solex carburettors
POWER 120bhp @ 5200rpm
TORQUE 100lb ft @ 4000rpm
TRANSMISSION Four-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
SUSPENSION Front: hollow axle, leaf springs, friction dampers. Rear: live axle, cantilevered quarter-elliptic leaf springs, friction dampers
BRAKES Drums, cable-operated
STEERING Worm and roller
Top speed 120mph
‘CLIMBING OUT OF THE VEYRON AND INTO THE TYPE 35T IS A REVERSE SHOCK. YOU FEEL PERCHED AND EXPOSED IN ITS TIGHT COCKPIT’
Left and right A tale of contrasts: nine decades separate Type 35 from the last of the Veyrons, which has ten times the power but also three times the weight. Interior character has evolved from raw racer to first-class luxury.
‘ANDY WALLACE HAS DRIVEN MANY PROPERLY FAST CARS AT INSANE SPEEDS BUT HE IS CLEARLY TAKEN WITH THESE BUGATTIS’Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationThe #Bugatti-Vision Playstation concept points to 1500bhp / 1100kW, 286mph / 460km/h #2016 #Bugatti-Chiron / #Bugatti / #Bugatti-Vision-Playstation / #Bugatti-Vision-Gran-Turismo
With the arrival of LaFerrari, McLaren’s P1 and Porsche’s 918, the #Bugatti-Veyron became the forgotten hero of speed. Despite boasting four turbochargers, 16 cylinders, more power and a significantly higher top speed, the hybrid hypercar triumvirate suddenly rendered the Veyron a product with its roots based in the 20th century.
The Veyron-replacing Chiron took a step closer in September with the Frankfurt motor show reveal of the Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo for Playstation gamers. Bugatti insiders admitted that the Vision’s styling, while drawing inspiration from some of the firm’s classic racing cars (Type 35 and Type 57 G Tank) provided hints at the new model’s design direction. Strip away the Le Mansinspired aero addenda and the Vision provides strong clues to the Chiron, which will be based on a revised version of the Veyron’s carbonfibre and aluminium structure. According to our information, the Vision’s dramatic C-shaped scallop in the flanks is a certainty for production.
The Chiron will also be powered by a revised 8.0-litre, quad-turbocharged #Bugatti-W16 from the Veyron. In a nod to the current hypercar heroes, expect some form of hybridisation. Company insiders have given strong indications that the Chiron’s W16 will make a peak of 1103kW (1500 metric horsepower) and 1500Nm. That prodigious power is put to the ground via allwheel drive and the first 0-62mph (100km/h )is rumoured to arrive in as little as 2.3 seconds. The Chiron keeps piling on the speed and is said to hit 160km/h in under 4.5 seconds. Top speed was the Veyron’s biggest drawcard, and the Chiron doesn’t disappoint with a 460km/h vmax.
The Chiron is likely to make its debut at the Geneva motor show in March 2016, with first deliveries later that year or in early 2017. Bugatti has already shown the finished car to several perspective clients at its Molsheim facility in eastern France. These clients will pay at least $2.8 million (plus local taxes) for a Chiron and insiders suggest at least a dozen have already signed up. Bugatti built 450 Veyrons during its decade in production (2005-15) and while Wolfgang Dürheimer, President of Bugatti Automobiles, says the brand must remain the world’s most exclusive, it’s been suggested that the production run for the Chiron will be expanded to 500 units.
Strip away the tarmacscraping, #Le-Mans -inspired aero, and the Vision #Gran-Turismo concept provides our best idea yet as to the design direction of the Chiron. The vented front end and colour scheme draw inspiration from the 1937 Type 57 G Tank (it's worth the Google search).
Cameras replace mirrors for the concept, projecting the combined image on a TFT screen. Don't expect this technology to make production. The full-length LED strip (above), however, is production ready. Based on a revised Veyron structure, the Chiron's basic shape is familiar.
The dramatic C-shaped scallop in the flanks is a likely starter for the production Chiron. Aside from being a signature design flourish, the functional scoop is set to provide up to 40 per cent of the cooling requirements for the 1103kW, 1500Nm quadturbo W16.
The Chiron’s W16 will make a peak of 1103kW and 1500Nm.
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- Post is under moderationDrive-My design consultant Chris Hrabalek discusses the finer points of automotive design. Torino Design ATS Wild Twelve Concept.
At a time when the who-iswho of the motoring world focused all its attention on innovation competing neck-on-neck at the 24h of Le Mans race, Torino Design and Automobili Turismo e Sport (ATS) used a much smaller venue, the Parco Valentino Salone & Gran Premio in Turin, to unveil their Torino Design ATS Wild Twelve Concept. The new car is based on the carbon chassis of an early ’90s Bugatti, 'wild' indeed.
ATS was a small Italian manufacturer of sports and racecars, based in Poneccio Marconi, near Bologna. Famed for its creation following a ‘palace revolution’ in 1962 by the former Ferrari employees #Giotto-Bizzarrini, Carlo Chiti, Fausto Galassi, Girolamo Gardini, Enzo Selmi, and Romolo Tavoni, ATS remained active for only a very brief two years. Perfectly coordinated with the marque’s founding 50th anniversary, ATS once again re-opened its gates – even acquiring and disposing of the rights to the De Tomaso brand, along the way – to try and re-launch new products. Prior to an unfortunate management dispute between its owners, which had the company re-locate to the Canary Islands, of all places, ATS briefly promoted an ATS Sport 1000, an ATS 300 Leggera Roadster and a retro 2500 GT as their core line-up.
The 2015 #Torino-Design ATS Wild Twelve Concept is yet another direction that ATS could potentially take. Created to highlight design studio Torino Design’s 10 year anniversary of activity, this ATS is technically speaking a lot more ambitious than the aforementioned iterations. Powered by a hybrid power-train, based around a V12 engine with two turbo-chargers powering the rear wheels, and two electric motors powering the front wheels, the Wild Twelve claims a combined system power of 860PS with a maximum torque of 918Nm and a top speed of 390km/h.
Impressive figures. Looking at the styling of the ATS Wild Twelve, a certain proportional familiarity becomes apparent when the creators mentioned that the car is to be manufactured in Campogalliano, Italy. Campogalliano? Carbon chassis? V12? As the plot thickens, it becomes apparent that the ATS Wild Twelve is the latest reincarnation of chassis and engine bits, originally engineered for the early 1990s Bugatti EB110 – only to be later reassembled in the form of the mid-’90s Dauer 110 and 2000s B-Engineering Edonis – it seems the #Bugatti EB110 has more lives than a cat...
In its latest reincarnation, the design of the ATS Wild Twelve is certainly more bland than the Edonis; hopefully creating less dislike with regard to its styling from potential prospects. Unfortunately, as the Wild Twelve seemingly lacks 'Brand DNA', the styling of the concept is very brandinterchangeable; neither iconic nor charismatic. It looks like one of those rushed student-projects that get shown on a university exhibition stand. On the outside of a motorshow.
Unfortunately, the styling of the #Torino-Design-ATS-Wild-Twelve-Concept ultimately lacks desirability and with #Bugatti-EB110 prices going through the roof in recent months, one wonders if it would not make more economical sense to sell the NOS (new old stock) EB110 parts as spares, rather than base a 'new' hypercar on them. Any new hypercar featuring a quarter of a century aged carbon and resin bits, surely can not be considered a real threat to a #Ferrari-LaFerrari , #McLaren-P1 or #Porsche-918 . / #2015
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- Post is under moderation1938 #Bugatti-Type-57C Cabriolet enjoying the Florida sun in an Art Deco classic. Style & substance. While visiting Florida’s Amelia Island Concours, Robert Coucher takes time out to try a very special Bugatti. Photography Dirk de Jager.
Who, in the 1930s, would offer an elegant four-seater cabriolet powered by a supercharged, eight-cylinder, double-overhead-cam engine, with Grand Prix racing pedigree? Such excess at a time when the world was attempting to recover from the Great Depression and just about to go to war again. But Bugatti was no ordinary car manufacturer - it had a single-minded history of exotic engineering wrapped up in artistry.
Yet even Bugatti was in a bit of a mess come the end of the 1920s. The company was producing an eclectic range of exotic and massively expensive motor cars. The ludicrously huge 12,763cc Type 41, known as the Royale, was a flop after Ettore Bugatti managed to shift only three examples and he was then diverted into building the Autorail Automotrice Rapide rail car for the ETAT railway company.
Ettore's eldest son, Gianroberto Carlo Rembrandt Bugatti, known as Jean, was probably not as talented as his father when it came to artistic skill. Yet Jean was certainly his equal as an engineer and is recognised as saving the company with the Type 57, regarded as one of the best Bugatti models. Jean died in a car crash on 11 August 1939 behind the wheel of the winning Le Mans Bugatti, at only 30 years of age. He is credited with the Bugatti wins at Le Mans in 1937 and 1939 and some say the Bugatti era died with him.
Until 1932 Bugatti was constructing seven different models of motor car, but the economic crash of 1929 put an end to that. Jean Bugatti launched the #Bugatti-Type-57 at the 1934 Paris Salon de l'Automobile. The plan was for various specifications: the Type 57, 57S - S denoting surbaisse or lowered chassis; 57C denoting compressor, and 57SC being the most sporting.
Under Jean's influence Molsheim managed to modernise its automobile production programme and the Type 57 was the result: a sophisticated and fast road tourer, not a thinly disguised racing car, but nor was it a chauffer-driven limousine like the Royale or Type 46 that had preceded it. As the first example of an owner-driver automobile for more straitened times, if you will, the thinking behind the Type 57 was that the owner could take advantage of France's fast and open roads and enjoy such drives as Paris to Monaco in 12 hours.
The example you see here, chassis number 57748, is a Third Series 57C - known as a Stelvio because of its open four-seater coachworkby Gangloff. The magnificent engine is a robust, supercharged 3.3-litre straight-eight with gear-drive double overhead camshafts fed by a Stromberg carburettor, developing 160bhp. It has an optional Cotal four-speed pre-selector gearbox and, being a late-series 57, its engine is rubber-mounted for smoothness. Furthermore, the Bugatti benefits from hydraulically operated drum brakes and a stiffer chassis. But as part of cost-cutting exercises, the 57 does without the previous, expensive #Bugatti alloy wheels with integrated drums and instead features centre-mounted Rudge Whitworth wire wheels.
This Type 57C enjoyed long ownership with collector and Bugatti historian Miles Coverdale of Long Island. He acquired the Bugatti in the early 1960s and kept it until his death in 2000. The 57C was in his ownership for four decades, along with a number of other Bugatti models, and it certainly looks like it has led a gentle life.
Impeccably finished in tasteful dark blue with a dark blue cabriolet hood, the 57C is a classic expression of pur sang. With its steeply raked one-piece windscreen, faired-in front headlamps and teardrop wings, the Bugatti is both elegant and rakish - a combination that's difficult to achieve with open four-seaters. With its hood folded the car appears clean, with all material stowed under the tonneau cover. Erected, the hood adds to the Bugatti's elegance, again a very difficult feat with a soft- top. The traditionally horse-shoe shaped radiator, vented front bumpers - which allow the twin horns full vocal expression - and a sporting exhaust pipe allude to the Bugatti ethos of speed and handling.
We find ourselves on the deserted South Fletcher Avenue in Fernandina Beach, which is the old part of Amelia Island, Florida, away from the smart hotels in the Island Plantation development. This being the weekend of the Amelia Island Concours, many elegant motor cars are seen out and about but this Bugatti with its flashing chrome wire wheels looks the most striking against the quiet and slightly faded backdrop of the island. It's an Art Deco-styled machine that deserves a suitably 'Deco location, which we find with The Surf restaurant situated along the beachfront.
The Bugatti has well-stuffed front seats, a dashboard filled with Jaeger instruments and a beautiful wood- rimmed, four-spoke steering wheel mounted high. The driving position is sit-up-and-beg and that big wheel is close. Slide the protruding ignition lever to retard, increase the revs on the idle lever a tad and twist then push the centrally mounted starter key: a deep, slow- building whirr comes out from under the floorboards as the starter motor engages and ignites the straight-eight.
This supercharged, double-overhead-cam, wet-sump 3.3-litre immediately lets its Grand Prix bloodline be known: it sounds deep, powerful and vigorous. Now it's time to deal with the Cotal pre-selector gearbox. There's a floor-mounted lever that you push forward to select the forward gear (neutral is central; pull it back for reverse). Depress the floor pedal (in the conventional position, with brake centre and accelerator to the right), then move the little column-mounted Cotal lever up and into first gear, ease off the clutch and away it goes.
This is a 'self-changing' pre-selector; as soon as you snick the little lever the gearbox selects the next gear immediately without the need for the foot pedal. Once you get the action into your head, the gearshifts are fast and far superior to the more usual, non-synchro 'boxes of the time. It really is a cinch to use.
The big eight-cylinder engine has dollops of torque and sounds busy, but then you realise it will rev all the way to 5000rpm, which is amazing for a car of this vintage. The steering response is sharp and immediate and the drums are strong and inspire confidence. Suspension damping can be adjusted via the knurled Bakelite knobs mounted next to the steering column.
The Gangloff coachwork has clearly been inspired by the ideal of comfortable and elegant touring. But the chassis and dynamic responses of the supercharged Bugatti remain very, very sporting. That's not to say the car is highly strung. On the contrary, it's torquey and docile at low speed. But the engine wants to rev and the ability of the chassis allows you to savour its urge.
As the revs rise (and rise), you can feel the Bugatti start to tingle - the straight-eight's vitality fizzes through the chassis and up through your feet to your fingertips via the steering wheel, and the roar from the exhaust is intoxicating. The Bugatti bellows with intent so there's no real need to resort to using those twin horns mounted in the front bumpers - everyone can hear you coming!
THANKS TO Bonhams auctioneers, www.bonhams.com.
This Bugatti will be for sale at the Bonhams Greenwich Concours d’Elegance Auction, USA, on 31 May.
Above. The Bugatti’s stylised Art Deco elegance is most at home beside the ocean in Florida’s Amelia Island, which offers the architecture to match.
'This being the weekend of the Amelia Island Concours, many elegant ears are out and about but this Bugatti looks the most striking’
The #1938 #Bugatti-Type-57C-Cabriolet
ENGINE 3257cc straight-eight, DOHC, #Stromberg updraught carburettor, #Roots-supercharger
POWER 160bhp @ 5000rpm
TORQUE 180lbft @3500rpm
TRANSMISSION Four-speed Cotal pre-selector, rear-wheel drive
STEERING Worm and wheel
Front: beam axle, semi-elliptic leaf springs, Telecontrol dampers.
Rear: live axle, reverse quarter-elliptic leaf springs, Telecontrol dampers.
BRAKES Hydraulic drums
Top speed 105mph
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- Post is under moderationI WAS THERE
The birth of 1990s Bugatti - and its eventual demise - is an intriguing chapter in the story of the supercar. Gianni #Sighinolfi witnessed it all.
Gianni Sighinolfi is one of the very few who, when talk turns to the Artioli-era Bugatti, can say: 'I was there.'
Sighinolfi, now 65, was one of the first to join the company - and in a way he never left. After Bugatti Automobili's bankruptcy in 1995, he co-founded B Engineering, close by in Campogalliano, to service EB110s. Today, if you own one of these cars, he is the go-to guy for maintenance, repairs and spare parts.
'It was not very difficult to remain involved,' he says, 'since we are a very small club. After all, from December #1991 to September #1995 , only 140 cars were built - 102 GTs, two of which have been updated to SS specification, and 38 Supersports. I know them all, because of my work in Bugatti, and because the build sheets are still available.
'Every single one was different. A customer could choose the colour, the materials for the interior, the rims and so on. There aren't two EBs that look the same, and that makes everything easier, because you can immediately recognise them, knowing the history of every single one.'
Sighinolfi's involvement began in the late '80s, when Romano Artioli started recruiting his team to resurrect the Bugatti marque. It included Paolo Stanzani (from Lamborghini), #Nicola-Materazzi (Lancia, Ferrari) and #Mauro-Forghieri (Ferrari, Lamborghini).
'I was coming from 20 years at Maserati,' says Sighinolfi, 'and entered the new company as test driver and in charge of the development of the new car before being appointed responsible for the production line.
'We were all astonished by the love and the passion that was given to every single detail of the new company. We were all coming from places where, if you had a desk and a window close by, you could call yourself lucky. At Bugatti, there was an architect, Giampaolo Benedini, to design the new building, with the aim of giving the perfect working environment to every single man. Today this is not new but, back then, in the Modena area, it was pure science fiction.
'Every detail of the building was considered: the tiles had the Bugatti logo on them, the ventilation and the heating system were deeply researched to obtain the best comfort, and natural light was looked for as the best possible light. I still remember the beauty of the design team room, with an incredible window to let the sunlight in. Benedini was so good that when Marcello Gandini's design of the EB was not approved by Artioli, he was put in charge of it. He is, with the internal centro stile, the real father of the final shape.'
Meanwhile the engineering team was hard at work, led by the so-called 'three musketeers': Benedetti, Bevini and Pedrazzi. They had left Lamborghini to set up their own company, Tecnostile, and now joined Artioli to create the new Bugatti.
'We built one prototype after another, in total four, to develop components and parts in a quicker way,' recalls Sighinolfi. 'While one was stressing the transmission, another was developing the engine or the aerodynamics, or the electronics. The development team was amazing. After #Bugatti closed, colleague and friend Loris Bicocchi went on to become the #Bugatti-Veyron test driver, Dieter Gass became #Toyota-F1 team manager, and Galletti went on to found his own company.
'Galletti was in charge of the development of the software for managing every function in the car. He was still at university when he joined, and the project became his graduation thesis. It was so good that even today I have never heard of an F.B with ECU problems.'
Not every component was so reliable. The main nightmare has always been the cooling,' says Sighinolfi. 'We spent a lot of time fixing the system. The heat produced by the four turbos gave us many challenges. In the end, and you still notice it looking at the car from the back, we had only one option - to make holes everywhere. The rear spoiler played a part, too. When it is in its raised position, it not only helps to increase the stability of the car but leaves an extra big hole to dissipate heat. That's why EB drivers once in a while check the functioning of the spoiler light in the dashboard. If it doesn't light, and you don't notice and drive with the spoiler down, you cook everything.'
In fact reliability is generally good - perhaps surprisingly so for an Italian supercar with so many innovations. Regularly serviced, the V12 is virtually bulletproof. 'When Bugatti went broke I bought parts to be used for future maintenance,' says Sighinolfi. 'I spent a fortune on engine components, thinking the five-valve heads would be a weak point. I still have almost all of them. To my knowledge, only one car suffered an engine failure, a few years ago when after an alcoholic dinner an owner drove home without going above first gear.'
How everything went so bad for the company is a mystery. The company had orders for 20 cars to produce; the #Bugatti-EB110 had just passed the homologation test for the American market, and the parent company had won an order from the Italian Army for 380 Suzuki Santana/Samurai vehicles with special transmissions (Artioli was the Italian importer for Suzuki).
'I was there when the court officials arrived,' says Sighinolfi. 'We were loading the racing cars on the truck to go to Le Mans. It was 7.30am on Saturday, so already this was amazing, because public offices are usually closed and need special orders to be kept open. And they impounded everything, virtually stopping any activity.
'We went bankrupt with so much money that the company was able to pay 100% of the employees, including retirement fees, 100% of the debt with privileged creditors such as banks, and 30% of all other debts. If today you went to any car manufacturer in the world and asked them to do the same, they wouldn't be able to do it. To me, the real reasons are to be looked for away from the money...' Perhaps we will have to wait a little longer for the full story behind this most enigmatic of supercars.
Above. #Gianni-Sighinolfi : one of the original #EB110 test team, now helping to keep them on the road.
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- Post is under moderationBlue blood. Fast, furious and misunderstood: the inside story of a supercar great. An all-time great yet misunderstood - until now. It was the fastest, most advanced car in the world - but its looks split opinion and sales bombed. In fact the EB110 is an all-time great. Here’s why. Words Richard Heseltine. Photography Paul Harmer, Mitch Pashavair.
There is little about the Bugatti EB110 that doesn't invite hyperbole. That and profanity. Drive one, and talk tends to be short and exclamatory. It's difficult not to ransack the cliche cupboard when describing its incendiary acceleration. Then there's the styling, which is oddly attractive in the best way, but which continues to polarise opinion. Yet the EB110 wears its weirdness without affectation; there is nothing cautious or bet- hedging here. When it was unleashed in 1991, it represented more a leap forward than a nostalgia trip. This was the ultimate marque revival, so the #Bugatti-EB110 had a lot to live up to. It tanked - but whether success eluded this remarkable machine, or it eluded success, one thing is clear: it was, and remains, brilliant.
In a very roundabout way, it was #Ferruccio-Lamborghini who initiated the EB110. By the mid-80s he was no longer involved with the marque that bore his name, but the industrialist-tumed-vintner still enjoyed brainstorming with like-minded car types. He also harboured ambitions of becoming a manufacturer once again. As such, he was introduced to #Romano-Artioli , then one of Europe's most successful Ferrari distributors, with assorted agencies in Italy and Germany. This self- styled entrepreneur also owned several pre-war Bugattis and dreamed of reviving the marque.
A discussion at the #1986 Turin motor show between Lamborghini and Artioli about reanimating Bugatti led to further talks, with the nucleus of what we now know as the EB110 emerging from them, although the former soon lost interest in the scheme. Undeterred, the immaculately coiffured Artioli persuaded French state-owned industrial giant Snecma to sell the rights to the name. This was no mean feat, given that it had steadfastly refused prior overtures from established - and homegrown - firms. Bugatti Automobili was registered in Italy in October #1987 . All that was needed now was a car to sell.
While Lamborghini may have exited the scene, other 'names' were sweet-talked into sharing Artioli's vision. A roll-call of superstars was recruited, including ex- Lamborghini man Paolo Stanzani as technical director. Unfortunately, this highly respected engineer didn't gel with the starry-eyed Artioli and was replaced by #Nicola-Materazzi . This was no bad move, given that Materazzi was formerly project leader on the Lancia Stratos and also heavily involved in developing the #Ferrari-Testarossa , #288GTO and #F40 models for production. Styling great Marcello Gandini, by then a freelancer, was employed to shape the car. No expense was spared, a state-of-the-art factory being erected in Campogalliano on the outskirts of Modena in which to build the new Bug (the architect, Giampaolo Benedini, just happened to be Artioli's cousin).
The EB110s specification made other supercars look unimaginative. The basic layout was devised by Stanzani, early prototypes featuring aluminium monocoques, although these were deemed insufficiently rigid so French aeronautics company Aerospatiale was tapped to help develop and produce the carbonfibre tub. Then there was the engine, a 3.5-Iitre, all-alloy, 60-valve V12 equipped with four tiny IHI turbochargers. Power (up to 603bhp for the Supersport version) was transmitted to all four wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox, while suspension was by conventional double wishbones with twin spring/damper units, and the carbon tub/superstructure was wrapped in a hand-formed
aluminium skin. Brembo provided the brakes, while Michelin developed special tyres for a machine that, during the homologation stage, established a production car top speed record of 212.5mph. What's more, Artioli insisted that the EB110 would be sold with a three-year warranty covering all servicing costs, including consumables such as brakes and tyres. The would-be motor mogul was determined that his brave new world would live up to the #Bugatti legend; that he would forge a new chapter in marque lore with a no-excuses supercar.
There was, however, one slight stumbling block - the car's styling. Gandini may have penned many landmark supercars, but he chose to distance himself from the EB110. Artioli felt that the prototype's shovel nose and scissor doors made it look too much like a Lamborghini. He had a point, given that magazines ran spy shots in the belief that they had scooped a new Sant'Agata product. Artist and patron had a falling out after Gandini refused to rework his design. The task then fell to Benedini, who had no prior experience of styling cars. His take on the theme was in turn tweaked by others, the end result being a mite compromised.
Nonetheless, the car was introduced amid much hoopla. With a grand unveiling at the Place de Defence in Paris on 14 September #1991 to mark #Ettore-Bugatti 's 110th birthday (hence the initials and numerical designation), all looked rosy: the #EB110GT was officially the fastest production car on Earth and arguably the most sophisticated. Then the world economy turned turtle. Artioli's prosperous Suzuki import concession was extinguished after the yen collapsed, although he still had the means to acquire Lotus in August #1993 . Somehow his buccaneering spirit would eventually win out, and win big. It had to.
WHAT CAME NEXT?
WHEN BUGATTI Automobili SpA tanked in #1995 , it wasn't the end of the EB110 - not even close. A number of partially built cars, and a large quantity of spares, were acquired by Dauer Racing of Nuremberg, Germany, which had made its name building six #Porsche-962 -based road cars in the early 1990s; it even claimed overall victory in the #1994 Le Mans 24 Hours with one of these supposed GT cars. Now company principal Jochen Dauer followed through by launching the Dauer EB110 in 2001.
Carbonfibre was used for all body panels, which resulted in a weight saving of 230kg over the standard EB110. In addition, Dauer tweaked the 3.5-litre V12, improving gas flow within the turbo installation, which helped increase peak power to 645bhp at 8000rpm. An optional sports exhaust system and a modified ECU meant 705bhp was possible and, in that spec, the Dauer EB110 managed 0-60mph in a verified 3.3 seconds. It wasn’t all about speed, though, cabin upgrades including a Kenwood sat-nav system.
The most extreme variation on the EB110 theme, however, was the Edonis (pictured right) from Italy’s B Engineering, a company that employed many former Bugatti employees, including Nicola Materazzi.
While the Edonis used an EB110SS chassis, engine capacity was increased from 3499cc to 3760cc and two larger IHI turbos replaced the original quartet from the same manufacturer. The Edonis was claimed to produce 680bhp at 8000rpm and 542lb ft of torque at 3200rpm, and to have a top speed of 227mph. In addition, the four-wheel-drive system was replaced with a simpler (and lighter) rear-wheel-drive transaxle, which shaved 70kg off the donor car’s weight.
The most radical part, however, was the carbonfibre body, which bore only a passing resemblance to the car that bore it, Evo magazine describing it as being ‘seemingly constructed entirely of cooling ducts'.
B Engineering planned to build 21 cars, with monocoques made by Bugatti subcontractor Afrospatiale. With a #2001 launch price of around £450,000, it remains unrecorded whether this figure was ever reached, although the car was still technically available as late as 2006.
Except it didn't: Bugatti was on borrowed time from the get-go. The proposed Giorgetto Giugiaro-penned #EB112 super-saloon was quietly dropped as production of the EB110 coughed and spluttered, sales never getting near the once-envisaged 300 units per year. The first delivery was made in December #1992 , the last in September #1995 . The final tally was only 102 'entry-level' GT editions, along with 38 Supersports.
But that wasn't quite the end. Following the bankruptcy sale, former Le Mans-winning entrant Jochcn Dauer bought a batch of partially built cars and assembled them, while B Engineering developed the EB110-based Edonis (see panel, previous page). Volkswagen subsequently acquired the rights to the Bugatti name for an undisclosed sum (rumoured to be around £20m) and sunk vast numbers of euros into creating the awe-inspiring 16-cylinder #Veyron .
The sad part is that the EB110 deserved more. The example pictured here was once Artioli's personal car and, while arbiters of beauty might purse their lips in disgust, the styling is as compelling as it is left-field. The passing of time has certainly softened opinions, and it's no more challenging than a great many supercars that followed in its wake. It's also a lot smaller than you remember; being five inches shorter than a Ferrari 458 Italia and only 0.1 in wider.
This SS edition - 603bhp rather than the 553bhp of the GT, carbonfibre panels rather than ally - is revelatory. Everything feels meticulously honed and focused rather than lashed together as with some supercars from the period. That said, the cabin is disappointingly normal given the external drama. Somehow you expect something a bit more outx6. Pull down the scissor door and the base of the window is at neck level, which is slightly disconcerting.
Headroom is surprisingly tight but the leather-dad seats are ultra-comfy, the pedals are only slightly offset towards the centreline and the instruments are all visible. It even has proper ventilation, something of a novelty for exotica of this vintage. All-round visibility is a mite compromised, though, but that does rather come with the territory. There are a few ergonomic quirks, but you would almost be disappointed if there weren't. The biggest is the positioning of the interior door release handle, which is concealed under the armrest (and we do mean 'concealed').
This being a supercar built before starter buttons inexplicably made a comeback, you fire up the EB110 using a key. And while you might expect the V12 behind you to erupt with a surround-sound fanfare, there's just a muted burble. It's all very civilised. Ease in the dutch, give it some gas and heading out over calloused UK roads immediately inspires confidence: there are no creaks, groans or clunks through the structure. The suspension soaks up the worst road imperfections and, at moderately enthusiastic speeds, the EB110 is remarkably easy to drive. It doesn't feel intimidating. The gearchange is super-slick while the power-assisted steering, just 2.8 turns lock-to-lock, doesn't feel edgy.
So far, so ordinary. Then comes the good bit. Hit 4000rpm and the turbos start to inhale air. Acceleration builds abruptly but effortlessly. Back off and you can hear all four huffers exhale sequentially left to right, left to right. Power on again, keep the throttle nailed open this time and forward thrust is astounding. So often with machines of this type, fast doesn't feel fast, but this is one supercar in which you do get pinned back in your seat. Peak torque (479lb ft) arrives at 4250rpm and the four-wheel-drive transmission and broad Michelins ensure otherworldly levels of grip.
There's also laughter-inducing - and seemingly never- ending - boost, but without any faltering or flat-spots: you're almost left feeling detached from the surreal madness of it all. That a car packing more than 600bhp can be this easy to drive - so refined, so exploitable - is a feat of breathtaking creativity although, remarkably, it was criticised in period for being too refined; for lacking the sense of theatre and bombast expected of a supercar. Like that's such a bad thing.
So why did the EB110 fail? Where do you start? The man who envisaged it succeeded in upsetting the supercar establishment on so many levels, suppliers included. Insiders also claim that Artioli was something of a dreamer, in love with the idea of making cars but not the day-to-day reality. He certainly wasn't alone in that. So many decisions were made on the hoof, and it showed. What actually did for the EB110, though, was timing. Its arrival coincided with a global financial meltdown, demand for supercars falling off a cliff. The early '90s weren't a great time to be a start-up operation, especially one making a technologically daring supercar. You could also argue that vanity got in the way, that the showy factory was perhaps an extravagance too far.
What really rubbed salt into the wounds was the arrival of the #McLaren-F1 . The EB110 was touted as being the best supercar in the world, and in many ways it was. However, once the F1 came on line, it uprooted the goalposts and ran away with them. Even if it hadn't been 'better' per se, it was perceived as such and that perception still holds even today.
And, truth be told, the critically canonised FI was better in just about every quantifiable way. Given that the #F1 has surged past the £5 million mark, you could conceivably buy ten EB110s for the same money.
Which isn't to say that the McLaren is ten times the car. The EB110 combines brain-scrambling acceleration, molten grip and very un-supercar levels of comfort. This is a car you want to keep driving, one that deserves some long-overdue respect. Whether it lives up to the Bugatti legend is a moot point, but what is beyond question is that we would still be raving about the EB110 even if it didn't wear the fabled badge. You ache for its continued company, which says it all really.
THANKS TO Gregor Fisken, www. fiskens. com.
EB110 IN MOTOR SPORT
The EB110 could conceivably have added to Bugatti’s lustre in the Le Mans 24 Hours had fate been a little kinder. Publishing magnate Michel Hommell commissioned Synergie to prepare a Supersport for the 1994 event and, with Alain Cudini, Jean-Christophe Jules' Boullion and the previous year's winner. Eric Helary, on the driving strength, much was expected. However, a petrol leak early on cost valuable time, as did stops to replace the turbos - all four of them (one of them twice over). Even so, the car was running in eighth place overall after 16 hours, only to be forced out following an accident late in the day.
There would be no EB110s on the grid for the #1995 running, although Monegasque entrepreneur (and current Venturi principal) Gildo Pallanca-Pastor did much to publicise the model in the #WSC-GT class that year. He was joined by Grands Prix winner Patrick Tambay for selected rounds, the undoubted highlight being fifth place overall on the Monaco Racing Team's debut at Watkins Glen. That same season also saw 28-year-old Pallanca-Pastor drive his EB110 on the frozen sea in Oulu, Finland, where he established a Land Speed Record for driving on ice: 184.14mph using regular Michelin rubber rather than spiked tyres. The record wasn't beaten until former rally star Juha Kankkunen averaged 199.86mph aboard a #Bentley-Continental-GT in #2011 .
Pallanca-Pastor was then joined by #Olivier-Grouillard and #Derek-Hill for the February #1996 #Daytona-24-Hours . Hill, the son of #1961 #Formula-1 World Champion Phil, who was an advisor to the team, was running in seventh place overall at one point, only for electrical problems to end play after seven hours. A few months later, the car’s owner attended pre-qualifying for the #1996 #Le-Mans 24 Hours. Unfortunately, the car’s monocoque was damaged during a testing shunt with Tambay at the wheel and therefore did not appear in the race itself. There would be no further frontline competition entries for the EB110.
Right and below. Magnificent, in-house-built V12 engine. Four small #IHI turbochargers were the key to extracting 600bhp-ptus from just 3.5 litres. Highlights of a short racing career included an appearance at Le Mans in 1994, where the car ran as high as eighth.
ENGINE 3499cc all-alloy 60-valve V12, four #IHI turbochargers
POWER 603bhp @ 8250rpm
TORQUE 479lb ft @ 4250rpm
TRANSMISSION Six-speed manual, four-wheel drive
STEERING Power-assisted rack and pinion
Front and rear: double wishbones, coil springs, adjustable gas dampers, anti-roll bar
BRAKES Vented discs
PERFORMANCE Top speed 218mph
‘THIS IS A CAR YOU WANT TO KEEP DRIVING. WE WOULD STILL BE RAVING ABOUT THE EB110 EVEN IF IT DIDN’T WEAR THE FABLED BADGE'
'THAT A CAR PACKING MORE THAN 600BHP CAN BE THIS EASY TO DRIVE - SO REFINED, SO EXPLOITABLE - IS A FEAT OF BREATHTAKING CREATIVITY’
‘THE 12 WAS EQUIPPED WITH FOUR TINY TURBOCHARGERS...
THE EB110'S SPECIFICATION MADE OTHER SUPERCARS LOOK UNIMAGINATIVE!
Right and opposite. Race-style seats in this #EB110 Supersport are surprisingly comfortable. Looks are ageing well - largely because the Bugatti was relatively restrained in an age of Teslarossas, Diablos and XJ220s.
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