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Ettore: the man behind the Bugatti legend

All too often, we meet here to talk about cars, but today I suggest we take a minute to take a picture of one of the personalities responsible for this amazing journey the auto industry has travelled. So today we celebrate Ettore: the man behind the Bugatti legend.

Ettore Bugatti’s keenest creed was that an automobile was more than a means of conveyance. It was an artifact that symbolized the perfect harmony between technology and aesthetics. Born on September 1881 into a family of artists in Milan, Ettore Arco Isidoro Bugatti worked as an engineer, designer and technical manager for the factory De Dietrich before becoming the founder and owner of the legendary car manufacture that bears his name.

His passion for both technology and art were revealed early in Ettore’s life: at the age of 17, he started working for an Italian manufacturer of bicycles and tricycles, Prinetti & Strucchi, and he soon developed his first invention, a motorized tricycle propelled by two De Dion engines. In 1900 he launched his first automobile, courtesy of the count of Gullinelli, a patron who acknowledged the huge potential of the young Milanese.

Though he never relinquished his Italian origin, Bugatti moved to Alsace and France would remain his adoptive country till his death at 65.

Ettore Bugatti’s portfolio is outstanding. His hallmark automobiles were the models T13 (which he started working for on his own, in an old workhouse, and the Bebe model he designed for Peugeot. Passionate about racing, he designed light and elegant sports models that earned him countless prizes and awards (both for engineering and for racing). In the 1930’s, his fame and creativity was at its peak with the development of the Royale engines. Bugatti Type 57 used an undercarriage conceived by Jean Bugatti, his son.

His legendary Royale 41 is a symbol of high class cars, impressive by both its capacity and design. It featured the first representation of what would later be the Bugatti symbol: an elephant created by his brother, artist Rembrandt Bugatti.

The man Ettore surprised everyone with his generosity, but also with his straight-forward, a bit proud style. He married Barbara Maria Giuseppina Mascherpa in 1907 and she would give him 4 children: 2 girls and 2 boys.

Bugatti, the man and the legendary car, will always stand for elegance, proficiency and luxury. Today, the notorious Bugatti Veyron is the fastest car in the world.

If you ever visit Ettore’s native Italy, be sure you can rent a car and visit Milan anytime!

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