The Bugatti EB110 was built in honor of the company founder and is considered one of the most important supercars of the 1990s.
Famed for their iconic designs and domination of the race tracks, the Bugatti cars were highly revered in the early 1900s. The brainchild of Italian-born French automobile designer and manufacturer Ettore Bugatti, the automotive marque was originally founded in 1909 in the then-German city of Molsheim, Alsace. Although it started greatly and was poised to achieve amazing feats in the automotive sector, however, the death of Ettore Bugatti in 1947 technically ended the brand’s progress, and it was later sold for its airline parts business in 1963.Nonetheless, the Bugatti brand would have another chance at life. In 1987, Italian entrepreneur Roman Artioli bought the rights to the Bugatti brand and founded the Bugatti Automobili S.p.A. in Italy. Artioli’s revival of the iconic brand led to the production of arguably the most important Bugatti model ever produced, the Bugatti EB110. A mid-engine 2-door supercar, the EB110 is the forerunner of modern Bugattis, and here are some forgotten details about the legendary model.
Famous for amazing Lamborghini designs that include the designs of the Miura, Countach, and Diablo, legendary Italian designer Marcello Gandini is the original designer of the EB110. But Artioli wasn’t satisfied with the original design, wanting a move away from the wedge-inspired shapes of the then supercars.
However, with Gandini’s refusal to make the necessary changes to the original design, Artioli contracted the job to Gianpaolo Benedini. He replaced the network of cooling ducts located on the hood, as well as other required changes on the EB110’s design.
Developmental work on the EB110 was launched in 1987. The team kick-started the project by first working on the engine and the chassis through a team called Tecnostile headed by Tiziano Benedetti, Oliviero Pedrazzi, and Achille Bevini. This was the same team that developed the engine and chassis for the Lamborghini Miura.
Several designers presented their proposed styling for the project, but Marcello Gandini’s version was widely accepted. The prototype was later restyled and had a change of chassis before the EB110 was unveiled on 15 September 1991.
The EB110 is powered by a 60-valve, quad-turbocharged V12 engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission which sends power to all four wheels. Precisely, it is a 3.5-liter engine with a bore x stroke of 3.19 inches x 2.23 inches, and in the EB110 GT, it churned out an incredible output of 553 horsepower at 8,000 rpm and 451 lb-ft of torque at 3,750 rpm.
For the performance-tuned Super Sport version, the engine had a maximum output of 603 horsepower at 8,250rpm and 479 lb-ft of torque at 4,200 rpm.
Many enthusiasts must have forgotten how amazingly the EB110 performed on tracks. The official performance numbers for the two trims are insane. Courtesy of the 553-horsepower producing engine in the EB110 GT, the sports car’s official performance for acceleration from rest to 60 mph stood at 3.4 seconds and a top speed of 212.5 mph.
For EB110 SS, its performance-tuned 603-horsepower-producing engine helps it officially fly from rest to 60 mph in 3.14 seconds while earning it a top speed of 220.6 mph.
Ettore Bugatti, the Italian-born French founder of the Bugatti automotive company, was born on 15 September 1881 and died on 21 August 1947. Hence, while naming the first car produced after reviving the Bugatti badge, the company executives opted to honor the late founder of the original company by adopting his name and birthday.
Therefore, the EB110 stands for Ettore Bugatti, and the car was launched on 15 September 1991, making it exactly 110 years after the birth of Ettore Bugatti.
Artioli wanted to launch the rebirth of the Bugatti at the company’s original headquarters in Molsheim, Alsace, France, however, the region had neither production halls nor enough talented engineers to work on the vision. Therefore, Artioli contracted architect Giampaolo Benedini to design a modern factory for the company.
Notably, the factory was built in Campogalliano, Modena, Italy. Back then, the Modena factory was adjudged the world’s most modern car production plant, it has a test track, and it sits on a 240,000 square-meter land.
Bugatti produced two different trims of the EB110 while its production reign lasted. The first version was the EB110 GT unveiled to the public at the Versailles and in front of the Grande Arche de la Défense near Paris, on Ettore Bugatti’s 110th birthday on 15 September 1991.
However, six months later, a lighter and more potent variant, known as the EB110 Super Sport (SS) was unveiled to an eagerly awaiting gathering of automotive enthusiasts at the 1992 Geneva Motor Show.
The Bugatti EB110 is even rarer than a lot of people think. Having been produced in low volume in the first four years, Artioli’s overzealousness would later get in the way of the model’s continuous production in 1995. Hard times hit the company when its chairman ambitiously acquired Lotus Cars to aid his quest for the development of the EB112, a four-door sedan successor to the EB110.
Coupled with the company’s negative exploitation of its suppliers, Bugatti went bankrupt. Hence, in total, only 139 units of the EB110 were produced.
Italian entrepreneur Romano Artioli had always been a massive Bugatti enthusiast, as seen from his massive collection of different examples of the iconic model. Having been dissolved in 1952, the Bugatti brand had little hope of resurrection.
However, with encouragement from Ferruccio Lamborghini and Paolo Stanzini to take up the project, Artioli vowed to revive the dead brand. He kept his promise by acquiring the Bugatti brand, and the EB110 became the only model of the brand produced during his reign.
Technically, EB110’s production spanned beyond the 1995 bankruptcy which temporarily ended the Bugatti. Notably, Dauer SportWagen GmbH, a German automotive company founded by former racing driver Jochen Dauer in Nuremberg, bought the remains of the EB110 through an auction. Hoping to continue the production of the model, Dauer refined the EB110, offering five units based on the original SS models for sale.
Completed in 2001, the Dauer EB110 featured a four-wheel-drive system, carbon fiber bodywork making it 440 pounds lighter than standard, and a remapped engine with an increased output of 695 horsepower.
Olakunle has contributed as a writer on several platforms over the years. Right from childhood, he’s been fascinated by the world of automobiles. Hence, he finds contributing to HotCars quite interesting – a surreal experience.