In 1909, Automobiles Ettore Bugatti was founded in the town of Molsheim. This area of France was part of the German Empire until World War I ended. The first “real” Bugatti, that is, the first car to be offered for sale to the general public bearing only Bugatti’s name, was an evolution of the Bugatti Type 10 known as the Type 13. This car would go on to bring Bugatti a clean sweep of the 1921 Voiturettes Grand Prix in Brescia, finishing first through fourth.
Throughout their history Bugatti automobiles have been associated with speed, precision and beauty. The company’s founder, Ettore Arco Isidoro Bugatti engineered his engines to tolerances so exact, no head gasket was required to seal the top and bottom of them together.
In 1940, the Germans, having occupied France during World War II, forced Bugatti to sell the factory to a German entrepreneur. After the war, Bugatti regained control of his company, but the glory years were pretty much behind him. He died in 1947. The factory limped along for a few more years without him, before closing in 1952. A few middling efforts were made to revive the nameplate with limited success over the years.
Ultimately the company went out of business.
Romano Artioli, an Italian industrialist, revived the marque in 1987 as Bugatti Automobili SpA. The resulting car was the 1991 Bugatti EB110 GT. Producing 553 horsepower from a 3.5-liter quad turbo V12, the all-wheel drive supercar was capable of 213 miles per hour. Unfortunately, when the cars hit the market, a worldwide economic recession did too.
The EB110 never sold very well; Artioli folded in 1997.
In 1998, Volkswagen acquired the Bugatti brand name, established Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S., and proceeded to build the fastest series production supercar the world has ever known. The Bugatti Veyron 16.4 uses a quad turbocharged 16-cylinder engine. The current ultimate iteration of this all-wheel drive sports car makes 1200 horsepower, costs in excess of $2.2 million, and is capable of a top speed of 255 miles per hour.
As you might well imagine, used Bugatti cars, if you can find a Bugatti for sale, command significant prices.