Rare Rides: The Forgotten Force of the 1993 Bugatti EB110

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides the forgotten force of the 1993 bugatti eb110

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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  • Azfelix Azfelix on Nov 08, 2018

    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.

  • Phlipski Phlipski on Nov 10, 2018

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

  • Cprescott Lucid has the right idea about building cars - I agree that these have a presence to them and certainly make all Teslas look like cheap golf carts with doors in comparison. I hope Lucid survives because they actually build luxurious products and not pretenders like Tesla.
  • Cprescott Well, the shift in 1977 to the down-sized T-Bird was a great move - it did not diminish the T-Bird as clearly there was more in kind with the 1958 than the 1976. Sales were golden for that clever shift. What really did damage was that "thing" that was the Fairmont based one - that was hideous. I was surprised that the Futura wasn't really a T-Bird - a bit of work on the front and rear made it a clear kinship to the prior generation one and the Futura sold very well. I loved the Lincoln Mark V and all of its air craft carrier bulk - the next generation was okay and I owned a 1985 Town Car and loved that car (30 mpgs on the highway and able to drive one's livingroom with you!). Wish I still had it.The Mark VII was an incredible effort IMHO.
  • Arthur Dailey Ford by messing around with its market positioning and adding different models destroyed any prestige/panache associated with the Cougar which was originally regarded as 'a gentleman's muscle car/coupe'. As for the T-Bird, I had considerable driving time with a 'big Bird', and subsequently had a 'Torino Bird' which was a very good looking car for the time but mine was plagued with mechanical issues. The following generation known as the 'box Bird' was a disaster, both in looks and style and moved the 'Bird downmarket. I never drove the next generation 'aero Bird' but did later have a very rare FILA edition of the 'super Bird' generation. For the time it was a very competitive vehicle. Just wish that I had more driving/riding time in an LSC. For my money the last 'great' Lincoln coupe.
  • Ehaase Chinese Ford Escort because I wish entry level cars under $20,000 were still available.
  • Ajla Yaris hybrid