In all my years of going to top-tier automotive events, the Bugatti EB-110 had somehow managed to elude me. So, when I heard there would be an EB-110 GT up for auction at the Greenwich Concours this year, I was excited to finally lay eyes on one of these early 90’s unicorns.
The Bugatti marquee has had three different incarnations over the years, the original cars were French, the second generation was Italian, and the third (current) generation is German. The EB-110 came about as the second incarnation of the Bugatti marquee in 1987. Based in Modena, Italy, 139 total EB-110s were produced between 1991 and 1995, before the company went bankrupt while trying to grow too quickly.
At the time, the Bugatti EB-110 was just as much a hypercar as the Veyron or Chiron are today. It was the most technologically ambitious contender, with a 550hp quad turbo 3.5L V12 and all wheel drive. Flat-out, it was right up there with the fastest cars on the planet, with a top speed of 213 mph.
Keep in mind, the McLaren F1’s incredible 240mph record wouldn’t be set until 1998, and in the early 1990’s anything that could crack 210 mph was considered other-worldly. At the time the EB-110 was the fastest car made in Modena, a step above the Ferrari F40’s 201 mph, or the Lamborghini Diablo’s 202 mph. In terms of top speed, it’s main rivals were the Jaguar XJ-220 and the McLaren F1. The Jaguar XJ-220 actually was officially recognized as the fastest road car in the world in 1992 with a run of 217 mph, but they had to raise the rev limiter to get there. Prior, un-altered runs yielded a V-max of 212.3mph, so if we’re comparing two showroom stock cars, the Bugatti and the Jag were neck and neck as the fastest cars in the world. Unless, of course, you came across the odd McLaren F1…
So what are my thoughts on finally seeing an EB-110 GT in person?
It’s fantastically early-90’s in the most wonderfully quirky ways. It’s uses pretty much the same design the Lamborghini Countach pioneered, complete with scissor doors, but it’s a little more rounded. It’s the perfect shade of bright french blue, and it’s interior looks comically cheap and thrown together, with an afterthought of class added in. I mean, look at all those crappy plastic buttons within the wood trim (or at least I hope it’s real wood). The interior design is very far from elegant, especially by modern standards, but I absolutely love it because it’s so “of the era.” I wouldn’t change a single thing.
I also have a special bond with the Bugatti EB-110 because it was the first 1/18th scale model car I ever had as a kid. I remember it was just the coolest thing with the doors that went up, and it’s robot-looking fascia. It’s actually one of the first cars I could identify, even before I had ever heard of a Lamborghini or a Ferrari.
The Bugatti EB-110 represents a very oddball supercar niche. It’s incarnation of Bugatti went bankrupt in 1995, and the modern Bugatti is a whole new venture under Volkswagen Group. I’m not even sure where one could find parts to maintain this car, but where there’s a wallet, there’s always a way. This blue EB-110 GT wound up selling for a healthy $605,000 at the Bonhams auction this year, and I think it’s a decent buy at that price. This is a unique car of it’s era, and it can never be replaced in the way the Chiron can replace the Veyron. It was a peer of the McLaren F1 and Ferrari F50, but it will cost you many millions of dollars less, and may even turn more heads.
Such a thrill to finally see a Bugatti EB-110 in person. Enjoy the rest of the photos.