Celebrating 30 years of the Bugatti EB 110
The birthday party was held in the brand's former Italian factory
1991 saw the launch of the first Bugatti presented again since 1956, the record-breaking EB 110, so this year marks the 30th anniversary of one of the most renowned supercars ever. For the occasion, Bugatti enthusiasts joined Romano Artioli, Gianpaolo Benedini and Loris Bicocchi, fathers of the EB 110, in the exact birthplace of what was the fastest car of its times: the former Bugatti factory in Campogalliano (MO), Italy.
The party took place with minimum delay on the exact date, September 15th, which in 1991 also would have been Ettore Bugatti’s 110th birthday. That wasn’t coincidental: Artioli, the entrepreneur who acquired the Bugatti brand in 1987 after an almost secret negotiation with the French government, is a great admirer of Ettore Bugatti’s genius, to the point he had incorporated into the EB 110 production plant, the Fabbrica Blu (Blue Factory), an antique wooden door coming from the earlier factory in Molsheim, through which Ettore had walked.
The plant was inaugurated on September 15th, 1990 and closed in 1995 as the Italian adventure of the brand came to an end. However, the site hasn’t been completely abandoned: the administrative building, the engine and test development area, the production halls, and the test track are still standing, guarded by former facility manager Ezio Pavesi and his son Enrico; the EB emblems can still be seen today so that the factory has turned into a lasting monument to the car that marked the brand’s renaissance.
Ten of the approximately 134 EB 110s made took part in the celebrations: among them, the one-offs EB110 SC GTS-1 and EB 110 LM, developed for endurance racing, and the "number zero", the prototype unveiled in Paris in 1991 which Artioli confessed was completed overnight in the truck travelling through France.
When asked to name a modern car that embodies the essence of the EB 110 nowadays, Artioli couldn’t mention a specific one. Instead, he offered a digression about electric cars, explaining how he does not see electrification as a feasible solution in the long term; Artioli has professed himself a supporter of natural gas as a more viable choice for fuelling cars, citing the world record the EB 110 SS had set in 1994 as the fastest natural gas-powered car, reaching a speed of 344.7 km/h.
Romano Artioli speaking to the attendees
The same record has been recalled by Loris Bicocchi, the test driver who has helped develop the EB 110 and many other supercars, including the Lamborghini Countach, the Pagani Zonda, and the Koenigsegg CXX, to mention but a few. "The EB110 was my best life and work experience, which I still enjoy remembering with affection", Bicocchi had said in a previous interview.
Gianpaolo Benedini, the designer of both the EB 110 and the same Fabbrica Blu, declared himself proud of the still modern-looking design of the supercar. Many of the stylistic tropes of Benedini’s work can be easily spotted in the Bugatti Centodieci, the homage to the EB 110 presented in 2019, that was attending the event.
A Bugatti Centodieci has specifically arrived from Molsheim for the event
The future of the Fabbrica Blu was announced during the same event: the site is going to become a multi-purpose area focused on historic cars, combining shelter, maintenance and restoration services with an exhibition and educational centre. The future of the EB 110 is not hard to imagine.