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Ettore Bugatti: the story of a great Italian genius

Ettore Bugatti: the story of a brand of success 

Ettore Bugatti, known as the founder of one of the most important and prestigious Italian brands in the world, was an inventor and a visionary. Thanks to his revolutionary ideas, over the course of his life he trademarked more than 1000 patents and has introduced concepts such as aerodynamic and lightness, in order to make vehicles’ performance better. This year we celebrate the 140th anniversary since his birth; so let us find out about the great Italian innovator Ettore Bugatti. 

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Ettore Bugatti was born on the 15 of September of 1881 in Milan in a family of artists: son of Teresa Lorioli and Carlo Bugatti, the latter being the man who invented the racing bike and furniture and jewel designer, he goes to the Academy of Brera. He soon discovers his true passion, which is not art but mechanics.

Little Ettore Bugatti’s potential soon showed up: already as a young kid he could fix smal engines without any training and when he was 16 years he started an apprenticeship in the Prinwtti and Stucchi company. 

Only a year later he managed to design his own motor tricycle, taking part in competition from Paris to Bordeaux.  The following year he created the first automobile. 

Thanks to his talent he was soon noticed by the De Dietrich company, specialized in the chemical and energy sector and car manufacturer at the end of the 1800. Among the innovations introduced by young Ettore Bugatti, there was the fact that he made the driving position closer to male maneuvering easier and to improve car aerodynamics

Ettore Bugatti, i 140 anni del genio visionario dell'auto
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Come nasce l’azienda Bugatti

The company Bugatti was created in 1909 when Ettore moves to Alsazia, in Molsheim. A few years later he designs a car that will be manufactured under license by Peugeot, such as Type BP1 Bebè: then, when World War II began, he built airplanes and aircraft engines.

At the end of the war, Ettore Bugatti to increase the succes of his brand, he concentrates on motor sports and between the 1920s and 1930s his cars dominate all Europe: one of the episodes to remember is the achievement, in 1925, of the first of five Targa Florio. 

Unfortunately, it start also a moment of crisis for Ettore Bugatti: in 1939 his son Jean dies in an accident. A few years later World War Io begins: France is occupied by the Germans and the Molsheim’s factory was seized by the Nazis. 

Ettore, at this point, prefers to sell it at half price instead of loosing it all. At the end of the war, exactly for this reason, Ettore Bugatti is accused of collaborationism and is out on trial: in 1947 he dies in the American hospital of  Neuilly-sur-Seine, a few months before being acquitted of all the charges. 

Ettore Bugatti, not only cars 

Despite being famous especially for his cars, actually Ettore Bugatti was a true inventor and innovator. In fact he designed a railway carriage, an airplane, bikes and even a toy car. He also designed doors, armchairs, surgical instruments and also riding tools, his genius in fact led to the development of all these things.

One of the curiosities linked to his person is that he loved pasta, rigorously prepared by his Italian chef: to convey the strong personality he had, here is an interesting anecdote. One day Ettore Bugatti went out to buy what he needed to cook: he was supposed to buy some eggs but he returned home very upset as the price of eggs had gone up again. So he decided to create his own chicken farm and even designed a chicken coop with wheels. 

Another curiosity is that he loved to add basil to pasta, basil was not grown in the areas surrounding Molsheim: he designed and built a conservatory where he planted his basil song with other plants, in order to have fruit and vegetables. 

As you might have gathered, Ettore Bugatti was one of the most particular and interesting personalities of the early ‘900: his genius was characterized by a a border line perfectionism, which can be summed up in his quote: “ A technical product is not perfect until it is not esthetically impeccable”. 

Founder Ettore Bugatti | Jean Bugatti | Classic cars, Bugatti, Bugatti cars
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Cover Image: Milano CityRumors

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