Bugatti celebrates its 110th anniversary in 2019, a real milestone for what is a fascinating and highly influential marque. We will see many special Bugatti events — maybe even a limited edition model — throughout this year, but it’s Jay Leno who has gotten a head-start with a video on the iconic EB110.
If you recognise the distinctive Bugatti Blue EB110 in the video, that might be because it was due to be sold at the Bonhams Scottsdale auction, but lot 64 ended up remaining with its current owner.
Jay Leno has an extensive and well curated collection of cars, but he doesn’t currently own an EB110. Steffan Frisk brought this pristine example to Leno's eponymous show and talks about how it was something of a ‘poster car’ when he was growing up — the seed that influenced his purchase of this special supercar.
Chassis 033GT has special significance amongst its model type, being displayed at the 1993 Frankfurt Motor Show and clocking less than 11,000 miles. Hitting the road to clock a few more, Jay remarks upon how well-proportioned the EB110 is.
"It’s really not that much bigger than a 911 Porsche, it’s about the same size." But, of course, the engine is the dominating feature of the driving experience.
"Once those turbos spool up, it’s really something. The theatrics of this car are great. You’ve got a manual transmission, it feels very visceral. It feels like you’re driving the car and that the car is not driving you."
Though lacking the outward aerodynamic refinement of its belated Veyron and Chiron successors, the EB110 was revolutionary for its time, becoming one of the fastest cars in the world upon its launch in 1991.
213mph came courtesy of a quad-turbocharged 3.5-litre V12 engine that produced 550bhp. Exotic materials such as carbonfibre formed its chassis and new technologies such as active aerodynamics featured in this Paolo Stanzani designed car. The all-wheel drive EB110 was a real tour de force.
Today Bugatti is owned by Volkswagen but, prior to that acquisition, a successful Italian businessman and Bugatti collector was the marques custodian. Romano Artioli had a vision that would see the Bugatti name returned to the upper echelons of automotive royalty.
While a combination of economic recession and high sticker price ultimately brought this chapter of Bugatti history to a close, the EB110 remains a remarkable machine.
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