By on November 8, 2018

Long before Bugatti released the record breaking Veyron, it produced a slightly less famous supercar. It’s the angular two-door which was simultaneously the beginning and end of an era in Bugatti’s history.

It’s the EB110, from 1993.

Bugatti got its start in 1909 with founder Ettore Bugatti at the helm. The French company (headquartered in Germany) built various roadsters, touring cars, and an expensive luxury saloon at the height of the Great Depression. After spending most of the 1940s not producing anything, Bugatti managed three more cars through the Fifties before calling it quits in 1963. The Bugatti name was sold to luxury manufacturer Hispano-Suiza. Everything was quiet until 1987, when Bugatti emerged under a new owner — Romano Artioli. Mr. Artioli had big plans for his new asset, and set to work on a brand new supercar.

That car was the EB110, and it debuted in Paris on September 15, 1991. The date was significant: it was exactly 110 years after the birth of Ettore Bugatti (1881-1947). The car was significant, as well. In true supercar form, the engine resided in the middle of the car, boasting 12 cylinders.

Each of those cylinders enjoyed five valves and their own throttle body. Straddling the engine, quad turbochargers encouraged things to move along a bit faster. Though displacing just 3.5 liters, 552 horsepower was extracted from this Italian power plant, and all of that power was distributed to all four wheels via a six-speed manual transmission. 0-60 miles an hour passed in just 4.4 seconds. The EB110 would travel on to a top speed of 210 miles an hour.

The EB110 was joined in Bugatti showrooms (wherever those were…) by a more powerful brother known as SS. That one turned up the boost, increasing horsepower to 592 and the top speed to 216. Impressed, Michael Schumacher bought one for himself, bringing media attention to the company. Bugatti also raced the EB110 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1994, and at 24 Hours of Daytona in 1996. Meanwhile, a recession set in across North America and Europe, and there were a few problems over at the bank.

In 1995, Mr. Artioli decided one auto brand was not enough for him, and decided to purchase struggling automaker Lotus. At the same time, Bugatti was dumping dollars into the EB112 sedan. Something had to give, and that something ended up being everything. In September 1995, Bugatti ceased all operations and declared bankruptcy.

Lotus was eventually sold to Malaysian automaker Proton. A furniture company purchased Bugatti’s factory, and then went bankrupt itself before it started producing any cars. Again, Bugatti entered a state of slumber, falling into the careful hands of Volkswagen in 1998.

The first Bugatti since 1963 ended as the only Bugatti under the company’s third owner. This silver over grey example, which originated in Japan, was for sale on eBay recently, asking the noble sum of $975,000. And it sold.

[Images: seller]


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24 Comments on “Rare Rides: The Forgotten Force of the 1993 Bugatti EB110...”


  • avatar
    JimC2

    I hadn’t forgotten about this car- R&T drooled over it when I was in high school and I drooled over it a bit too. ISTR the Jag XJ220 came out around the same time, with a similar top speed.

    There is something pretty special about a speedometer that goes up to 400!

  • avatar
    Gedrven

    5 valves? Free breathing. Four turbos? Lots to breathe. Twelve tiny cylinders? Turbine smoothness and fast revving. Twelve throttle bodies? Pointless showing-off; with forced induction, they add nothing. One-off (right?) engine and drivetrain? Good luck getting parts!

    I find the exterior over-wrought in an 80’s Hot Wheels sort of way, and the interior clean but bland. Squint, and you’ll see the dashboard out of a contemporary Toyota truck, plus a $20 eBay fake wood kit.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “Good luck getting parts!”

      I’d be surprised if any of these cars have over 25,000 miles on them. I’d also think anyone with the means to buy one has the connections needed to get a part.

  • avatar
    bluegoose

    The EB110 bears a passing resemblance to the 1990 Nissan 300ZX.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      The 300ZX was a pretty exciting car in 1990. At the end of the malaise era when 0-60 under 10 seconds was something special, the 300ZX (contemporaries like the Dodge Stealth/3000GT also come to mind for me) was a sort of everyman’s supercars… even if buying one would cost everyman about a year’s worth of income.

      Around the same time, along came a new crop of supercars like the EB110 that could do 200mph… not 180, 190, 197mph, but 200. What a thing to aspire to, even if one would never actually own one!

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Oh yes, I remember this, and the EB112 project. I’m still disappointed that the new Bugatti hasn’t produced the Galibier sedan.

  • avatar
    Car Guy

    Many years ago I knew a guy who worked at Roush Engineering in Michigan and he told me about them testing one of these on the chassis dyno. As the story goes they blew up the motor while testing and Jack himself was none too happy since it turned into a peeing match with Bugatti over who was responsible. Probably one of few cars available to test and helped the company into bankruptcy……

  • avatar
    Garak

    Compared to what other supercar manufacturers were building at the time, that thing is ugly. It looks like a movie prop, or something from a video game. Also, what’s with the awful dash? Out of fake carbon fiber stickers?

    Not bashing the technical aspects, just the looks.

  • avatar
    whynot

    Ettore Bugatti is Italian born but Bugatti the company (the original company that is) is French, not Italian.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    From the listing:
    “…consistent fueling is available.”

    Discuss.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Bugatti sure knows how to make some ugly cars. I say that only because they’ve also made some of the most beautiful as well

    1938 Bugatti-Type-57 owned by Ralph Lauren ($40 million)
    https://cdn.motor1.com/images/mgl/P0oV8/s3/2013-384916-ralph-laurens-bugatti-atlantic-57sc-at-2013-concorso-deleganza-villa-deste-271.jpg

    and this

    1929 Royal Bugatti Type 41
    http://www.bugattipage.com/newspics9/t46-46065.jpg

  • avatar
    azfelix

    Brings back a fond memory seeing a silver example used as a prop for a custom mobile carrier/garage trailer at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale many years ago. Just a fancy bauble for an extraordinary toy hauler. It was in the elevated position on the rear lift. There may have been a 959 there too.

  • avatar
    phlipski

    Wow! That thing has NOT aged well…. It looks like something Mosler tacked together…


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