Base Model: CSR2 110 Ans Bugatti
Photo: CSR Racing 2 Press
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Automakers often turn to past glories to draw inspiration for new models. Yet the surprise for the new Bugatti Centodieci, which has just been unveiled at Pebble Beach during Concours d’Elegance week, is which former model has played muse to it: the Centodieci pays homage to the EB110, as its name (which translates to “110”) suggests.
Although one of the fastest cars of its era, the EB110 has never been regarded as a success. The Bugatti brand had been lying dormant for decades before it was revived by Italian businessman Romano Artioli in the late 1980s. An all-new factory was constructed at Campogalliano, Italy, near Modena to make the new model, which featured such innovative technology as a carbon-fiber core structure and a 553-hp 60-valve quad-turbocharged V-12.
Timing was not on its side. The EB110 launched after the speculative bubble in supercar values had popped, and it always struggled to sell. Just 139 examples were built over the next four years until Bugatti collapsed into bankruptcy. Volkswagen bought the Bugatti brand in 1998, but the Veyron and then Chiron had no technical relationship to the EB110, and production was shifted to another new factory in Molsheim, France.
The plant at Campogalliano remains empty and derelict, although vandals are kept at bay by a dedicated groundskeeper. When Volkswagen bought the brand, the company ordered the vast Bugatti logo on the side of the factory to be painted over, but after two decades it is now showing through again. While there is no formal link between modern era Bugatti and this former incarnation of the brand, the connection with between Centodieci and EB110 means that this is where a small group of journalists, including C/D, were bought to see the new car for the first time.
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