Have you ever wondered what happens to the parts left over when a company stops producing a car? One day they are making cars and the next they are not. Obviously in some sort of utopian business environment only enough components would have been ordered to make the desired amount of cars. However, we all know that no such world exists. I assume that normally these extra parts are shipped off to become spare parts to repair vehicles later on. What happens though when the company itself completely stops? Just such an occurrence happened when Bugatti S.p.A went out of business at the end of 1995.
Bugatti S.p.A is a different company than the top of the range Volkswagens that we know today. The company I am talking about made the Bugatti EB110. Made in the early 1990s, it has been largely relegated as a footnote by automotive historians. In reality it is a truly exceptional car whose only failing was being released at the same time as the greatest supercar in history, the McLaren F1. This iteration of the Bugatti company was made up of some of the absolute rock stars of the automotive engineering world. When the company went out of business a group of them formed their own company called B Engineering and based it in the automotive holy city of Modena, Italy. They realized what an outstanding platform the EB110 had been and they were not about to let it fade away. Instead they would create a totally new car based on that platform. The name of this phoenix would be the Edonis.
They were able to purchase more of the carbon fiber tubs that had been designed for the EB110 from the French rocket company, Aérospatiale. B Engineering also was able to secure the engine from the now defunct EB110. However, that is about all the cars share in common. It is kind of ironic because though the Bugatti EB110 is an older car than the Edonis it is in many ways more advanced than its younger sibling. One of the complaints about the EB110 was that it was "too good." What does that mean? How can a car be too good? One of the core philosophies that I constantly espouse is that being faster, more refined or more tractable does not necessarily make a better car. B Engineering decided to get back to basics with the Edonis. Gone was the triple differential AWD system enter a basic RWD layout. The EB110's V12 engine was fiddled with. They lost two of the car's original four turbochargers and increased displacement to 3.76 liters. They may have removed two of the turbochargers but they did turn up the boost those two turbos made by quite a bit. When I say quite a bit I really mean it. Can you fathom a 3.7 liter V12 with 36.7 pounds of boost!
Though the design is extremely modern and aggressive the manufacturing techniques of the body are rooted in the origins of coachbuilt motorcars. Extremely talented workers hammer sheets of aluminum over wooden bucks. It is literally that low tech....sheet of aluminum + dude with a hammer = supercar body.
The Edonis achieved its goal of reimagining the EB110 with the sort of manic levels of Italian passione that the EB110 had failed on. The resulting car was properly mental. But then again what were you expecting? It is amazing what the result is when you apply 720 HP to a 1500 kg mass. The Edonis was the first car to wear the PAX system tires that were developed by Michelin. These were the super advanced new tires that would, years later, allow the new (VW owned) Bugatti Veyron to achieve its world record top speed. As I mentioned the Edonis was in some ways a step back compared to the EB110. One of these was 0-60 time. The EB110 used its super advanced four wheel drive system to record a ballistic time of 3.1 seconds. Despite the cutting edge tires (in size 335!) the 720 HP and 590 lb ft of torque the new V12 produced was just too much power for the rear tires to handle and according to reviews will instantly spin out all the way up to fourth gear. Like so many other projects like this a combination of poor business decisions, bad timing with the economy, and simply being so incredibly exclusive meant that the Edonis died after making only a couple examples. In my opinion though it was not a failure at all. Rather it is proof that we can still make insane cars with old world techniques. I wonder what the boys at B Engineering could do with another technologically overstuffed car....Ferrari LaFerrari?