Bugatti is often mistaken for an Italian automaker. It is a company founded (and currently located) in France. Bugatti boasts a rich racing heritage that dates back to the early 1900s.

A brand of automobile this innovative and unique demands that it be serviced by a specialized firm. No firm in the United States is more capable of outstanding Bugatti service, repair, modification and tuning than Forza Performance and Tuning in Clearwater, Florida. The Exotic Car Doc, an ASE L1 Level Certified Master Tech with more than two-decades of experience, brought Forza to the Gulf Coast with a purpose. He would provide exotic car owners with a service and repair experience that would be a significant upgrade over that of the dealership. He has accomplished that purpose.

The idea of a Bugatti automobile dates back to the year 1900 when a young man by the name of Ettore Bugatti first envisioned building a car around an internal combustion engine that had struck his fancy. Only a year later, with the help of the Gulinelli Brothers, Ettore debuted the world’s first Bugatti. It won the T2 Trophy for construction and design at the International Exhibition.

Riding the wave of success created by his first vehicle, 21-year old Ettore co-signed (with his father) a contract with De Dietrich Company to produce Bugatti vehicles. When this endeavor failed, Ettore entered into a new contract with Emi Mathias. This union failed as well. Unencumbered by his setbacks, Ettore secured financial assistance from Vizcaya and founded Automobiles Ettore Bugatti; his own plant dedicated to the mass production of Bugatti vehicles and engines. The plant was in Molsheim, Alsace, France. The year was 1909. By 1910 five Bugatti cars had been built and sold. Ettore’s assistant, Ernest Fredrich, began to campaign Bugatti automobiles on various types of racing circuits. Bugatti won several races – including the French Grand Prix – in 1911. He also entered into a contract with Peugeot to manufacture the Bebe Peugeot with a Model 19 engine.

In 1913, Bugatti began producing aircraft engines to aid in the war effort. This helped to stabilize the company which was able to hire more employees and boost production with the additional capital. By the end of World War I, Bugatti employed more than 1,000 workers at their Molsheim plant.

Bugatti won the Voiturettes Grand Prix during the 1920s. They also introduced the first Bugatti with aluminum spoke wheels (Model 35) and the 29/30 race car during those roaring twenties.

In the 1930s, it seemed that Bugatti was getting financially whole with the production of rail cars and trains, when their workforce went on strike. Disgruntled employees demanded that Ettore pay them higher wages and that working conditions be improved. He clashed with workers and eventually moved his personal offices to Paris. During the latter part of the decade, Ettore won the Le Mans race and lost his son Jean in a car accident.

Extremely distraught over the death of his son, and with his company in shambles due to the production shutdown, Ettore Bugatti died of lung disease in 1947. The business continued to spiral downward until it ceased operations in 1952. In 1955, Roland Bugatti attempted to revive the brand with his Type 251 race car. Production of the car never took hold and the project was eventually scrapped. The 1960s saw Bugatti sold to Hispano-Suiza. They used the facility to manufacture airplane engines and parts.

An Italian entrepreneur acquired the brand in 1987 and renamed it Bugatti Automobili SpA. In 1989, plans for a new Bugatti were rendered by Lamborghini Countach and Lamborghini Miura concepts. Three years later, in 1992, the company introduced its new production vehicle; the Bugatti EB 110 GT.

The EB 110 GT was lauded as the most advanced sports car ever produced but poor economic conditions squelched sales and led to a complete shut down in 1995. The Volkswagen Group acquired Bugatti three years later and began churning out innovative concept designs such as the EB118, the EB218 and the 18/3 Chiron. In 2005, the release of the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 finally gave the company another taste of success. The Veyron was instantly popular and a total of 420 units were sold by 2013. Each unit was sold for approximately $1,376,961.00.

Now a wholly owned subsidiary of the Volkswagen Automotive Group, Bugatti is one of the most successful French automobile manufacturers. Bugatti also has two subsidiaries of its own; Bugatti Engineering GmbH and Bugatti International S.A.

As an experienced Bugatti specialist, the Exotic Car Doc is very aware of a few interesting things about particular Bugatti models. For instance:

  • The exterior hull of the Bugatti Veyron is primarily welded together. There are only fourteen bolts used in the exterior composition of this high-performance vehicle and the entire rear shell must be removed in order to service the engine
  • Bugatti automobiles use special Michelin PAX tires which can only be purchased through France
  • While most vehicles use a single radiator, the Bugatti Veyron uses twelve small radiators to cool its 16.4-liter (W12) 987hp engine. Each radiator takes approximately 15-hours to construct
  • During vehicle production, the fuel tank of some Bugatti models takes more than 8-days to weld