On March 5, 2022, RM Sotheby’s sold a prototype of the Bugatti EB110 GT for a record $2.1 million, or about €1.93 million. From the era of Romano Artioli, the long eclipsed Bugatti head, EB110 models return to the forefront of collector’s items.
In the late 1980s, Italian entrepreneur Romano Artioli was tasked with reviving the Bugatti brand by restarting production through the EB110 GT and its sportier evolution, the EB110 Super Sport.
Anticipating years of uninterrupted development and production success, Romano Artioli went so far as to have the manufacturer build an ultra-modern and elegant factory next to Modena (not on the original plots in Molsheim, France). His greatness proved his ambition.
The supercars produced at this Italian factory were even more impressive. Named in honor of Ettore Bugatti’s 110th birthday, the Bugatti EB110 was the first model in the line of planned vehicles, built on a chassis originally designed in aluminum by Paolo Stanzani and later redesigned in carbon fiber by Ferrari’s chief engineer Nicola Materazzi. F40. Carbon fiber has since become standard in modern supercars, and it’s worth noting that the construction of the revolutionary chassis was entrusted to the French company Aérospatiale. The advanced composite material, the originally planned aluminum honeycomb, was chosen because it was too flexible for a mid-engined ultra-performance vehicle. This chassis was wrapped in a striking bodywork in the production model that combined elements of a concept conceived by renowned stylist Marcello Gandini with refinements by Giampaolo Benedini (an architect affiliated with Artioli).
For power, the Bugatti EB110 GT is powered by a 3.5-liter quad-turbocharged V12 paired with a six-speed manual transmission. The finely tuned all-wheel drive system, again a forward-looking supercar tech, helped tame the V12’s 553 horsepower, while keeping the EB110 as agile as it was fast.
As with many of these modern supercar designs, the EB110 GT evolved through an elaborate series of prototypes that went through two distinct phases. From 1990 to 1991, several aluminum chassis prototypes were built and covered with Gandini’s original design body, and these cars were given chassis numbers with the prefix “A”, where A stands for aluminum.
In 1991 Materazzi and Benedini conducted a technical and aesthetic evaluation of the original car and by the end of 1992 produced a small batch of secondary prototypes with chassis numbers C (C, referring to carbon fiber). Most of these cars were driven straight during development testing, and others were destroyed during safety testing, leaving very few prototypes in exceptional condition like this model, which sold for a record price on Amelia Island, Florida.
The Bugatti EB110 GT prototype (chassis number ZA9AB01E0NCD39012) is one of the few second-series prototypes that has seen very little driving use. Considered perhaps the least used of the prototypes by many in the EB110 GT community, this rare car is equipped with several unique features (including interior parts and rear grille) and has the distinction of being one of a very few cars. cars used for official factory display and promotional events.
This vehicle was completed in 1992 as a carbon fiber development prototype, built on the No. 12 Aérospatiale chassis and finished in dark green metallic paint and a gray leather interior. Unlike many of these prototypes, this Bugatti has seen very little road testing and has instead been a show and show car.
Among other appearances, the prototype was displayed at the Bologna Motor Show in December 1992 and was also featured in a promotional display at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London in February 1993. In 1994, the body of this model was repainted by the factory. It was at Bugatti Blue for more demonstration opportunities over the next two years, and the vehicle was subsequently selected for emissions testing requirements to meet Swiss and US regulations. In anticipation of this, the car was modified with revisions to the engine, fuel injectors, exhaust system and fuel tanks.
When it was auctioned by RM Sotheby’s in the United States on March 5, 2022, the car had traveled just 1,095 km.
Photos: RM Sotheby’s