1994 Bugatti EB110 GT
“Insert the key with its huge leather ‘EB’ fob, and the V12 starts instantly with a muted rasp but accompanied by plenty of mechanical whir from behind… After a few laps, I feel confident enough to nail the throttle on the short straights, and the performance takes on another dimension. The explosive delivery is awesome as the combined thrust and traction launch the EB110 NASA-style to the next turn… The engine note transforms into a distinctive snarl at the top end, but more interesting is the dramatic flutter of the wastegates when you come off the throttle into bends.
“Today the Italian Bugatti looks great value, particularly when you consider that you could buy most of the SS production for the price of an F1.” Mick Walsh, Classic & Sports Car, June 2014
The Bugatti EB110 benefitted from the talents of engineer Paolo Stanzani and stylist Marcello Gandini, co-creators of the iconic Lamborghini Countach. Beneath the skin there were similarities, the short-stroke V12 engine with forward mounted gearbox having been pioneered on the Sant’Agata supercar.
Had the EB110 stopped there it would have constituted a remarkable enough debut for a fledgling manufacturer, but Stanzani added five valves per cylinder, four turbochargers, a bespoke six-speed gearbox and four-wheel drive. A carbonfibre chassis built by Aerospatiale, compact overall dimensions and excellent traction combined to ensure exceptional agility, grip and balance no matter what the conditions. With 542bhp available, the Bugatti EB110 could reach 100km/h from standstill in less than four seconds on its way to 343km/h, eclipsing the Ferrari F40 as Italy’s flagship supercar of the 1990s.
While, understandably, headline writers emphasised its performance to the exclusion of almost everything else except the price ($456,000), the EB110 was also a well-built product possessing a roomy and lavishly equipped interior.
We have verified from factory records that 102 examples of the EB110 GT model (17 experimental cars + 84 production cars) and 38 of the stripped-out SS variant (4 experimental, 4 racing + 30 production cars) were built, 1992-1995, for a grand total of 140 Bugatti EB110s of all types. That’s about a tenth of Ferrari F40 production, by comparison, making it considerably rarer than any of its rivals except the contemporary McLaren F1.
Michael Schumacher tested an EB110 against its rivals for a German magazine and was so impressed that he bought one for himself.
This Motor Car
Bugatti EB110 GT chassis ‘39052’ was built in 1994, finished in the elegant and subtle colour scheme of silver with grey leather. Our client bought ‘39052’ via Kidston SA in 2014, when it had been in European ownership, sharing a garage with an EB110 SS which its custodian had decided might be regarded as extravagant. The previous owner had already spent €11,800 with B Engineering in Campogalliano, Italy (staffed by the car’s original build team) on service work, and prior to sale had the car serviced once again at a cost of €7,564, work that included all fluids changed, 12 new spark plugs and a new right-hand-side exhaust pipe with catalysts and pre-catalysts. The latter part cost €1,700 + tax alone.
On purchase in summer 2014, the current owner entrusted B Engineering once again with the task of bringing ‘39052’ totally au point. Works completed included: stainless steel exhaust box and other exhaust fabrication; new headlamp glass; new air-conditioning radiator; a re-gas of the air-conditioning; paintwork correction and polishing. This work totalled €6,235.
The total mileage covered to date is c.17,000km.
This EB110 GT looks fabulous value compared to its contemporaries (think Ferrari 288 GTO and F40, Porsche 959 and 993 GT2 for starters) and will reward the keen driver with useable performance which even now few cars can challenge.
We’ve covered many miles in Bugatti EB110s, enjoying long journeys that included at least one from Geneva to Monaco and back, so we should know!