Off radar

The Fallen Stars
Bugatti EB112

Artioli’s shattered dream

Photo credit: Bugatti Newsroom, Italdesign, Wheelsage

After the rebirth of Bugatti in 1991 with the rear-engined EB110 Granturismo, Romano Artioli’s dream was to bring back the true spirit of the aristocratic brand from Molsheim with the addition of an exclusive sports sedan. The year was 1993 and in the pavilions of the Geneva Motor Show, the EB112 entered, driven and with the engine running to show that it was not a mere display piece. 

The rear window cut out from a longitudinal structural element of the Bugatti EB112 inspired by the famous Atlantic

The design was penned by Giorgetto Giugiaro’s Italdesign and the result was a stunning mix between the past and future: the sloping roof of Jean Bugatti’s 57S Atlantic, rims inspired by the Royale, the double rear window and the classic horseshoe radiator. The mechanics were equally inspired, with carbon fibre and an all-aluminium body shell powered by a 6-litre, naturally aspirated V12 engine derived from the EB110. 

This image of the 57 SC Atlantic, recently exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, highlights the importance of the longitudinal element in the line of the famous model

Production was set to begin in 1995 with roughly 300 units a year, but just a few months before launch, Artioli declared bankruptcy and the dream of Bugatti’s rebirth vanished once again: showing the new model in advance was not sufficient to convince the creditors. 

The characteristic horseshoe shaped chrome grill of the Bugatti (in reality the shape is inspired by the entrance of the Molsheim Town Hall) does not appear with all its traditional grandeur on the EB112

In addition to the Geneva prototype, currently kept in the Italdesign Museum, two other examples were made by recovering unused material after the company folded. Too little for a car that would deserved more and that not even the Volkswagen Group, after taking over Bugatti, decided to propose.

Giorgetto Giugiaro rightly proud of the immediate success of his four-door Bugatti in Geneva, 1993. A car that many were waiting for
In addition to the original example in the Italdesign Museum, there are two other EB112 examples with slight differences in detail typical of models that have not begun industrial production
Note how the wheel rims are inspired by those of the famous Bugatti Royale of the late 20s. Another of the details that linked the past with the present
The Bugatti factory in Campogalliano as it stands today after being abandoned following the bankruptcy in 1995