Bugatti is buzzing these last few weeks. After launching La Voiture Noire earlier this year, in which Volkswagen finally pays respect to the Bugatti legacy, stories about a new special-edition to be launched at Pebble Beach Retroauto (15-17 August) are no longer fiction, but fact.
Word is Bugatti will present a tribute to the iconic Bugatti EB110 in Monterey, California. The EB110 of course is one of the most impressive car designs of all time; it doesn’t need an introduction. This supercar wouldn’t have been created if it wasn’t for one man: Romano Artioli. He’s the man responsible for reviving the iconic Bugatti brand in the 1990s.
“Romano Artioli is living Bugatti history,” former Bugatti President Stephan Winkelmann said earlier this year in a statement when Romano Artioli visited the factory in Molsheim for the first time. “Thanks to his restless efforts and at his hands our brand was revived in the modern-day era, and it is truly an honor to receive him here in Molsheim.” This Classic Driver article sums it up quite nicely.
Artioli accomplished this not only for Bugatti, but also for Lotus. In that same era he owned Lotus Cars, lived in England with his family and was supported by his daughter Isabella as Personal Assistent. It can’t be a coincidance that during his reign at Lotus, the Lotus Elise saw the light of day. Another iconic sportscar, and one that most probably saved Lotus from bankruptcy.
The Artioli-name lives on in every Elise that has been sold; granddaughter Elisa, after whom the Elise was named, still propagates the ideas and values of her grandfather with her nickname ‘IamLotusElise’ on Instagram and Facebook. She drives her silver Elise across Europe to keep the memory alive.
What is it that makes men like Romano Artioli reach the pinnacle of sportscar design? To analyse this, a lot of paperwork needs to be done. Or not. Because at the end of the day it’s quite simple. It’s al about the heart. Il Cuore. Just as it was with Colin Chapman and Ettore Bugatti. The urge and strength to follow your dream and to realize it, to conquer headwind and foul play. The heart is where it all starts.
At 86, this heart still beats like the heart of that young man who was amazed and impressed by the art of the Ettore Bugatti cars. He can’t attend the launch of the new Bugatti, the-very-special-one, but he will watch online when the cover is pulled of the successor of his EB110. Now it’s to Bugatti, for the second time in this anniversary year, to pay respect and hommage to it’s past.
If you want to read more about the Bugatti and Lotus story in the words of Romano Artioli himself, then buy ‘Bugatti & Lotus Thriller‘. In other words, ‘the story of a boy with a dream on four wheels’. The English translation is in progress.