The Bugatti EB110 is as close as you’re ever going to get to an “unloved Bugatti.” Now it’s beloved, of course, for its quad-turbo V12 that gulped fuel through 12 individual throttle bodies, and its all-wheel-drive and its cheese-wedge styling. But back when it first debuted in 1991, there was a global recession going on. A bunch sold, of course, but the EB110 wasn’t enough to keep the company out of bankruptcy. So here’s some happier times in 1989, with a bunch of Italian engineers doing what I guess you could call “winter testing.”
Winter prototype testing here at the tail end of 2019 is a very serious affair, with very serious engineers using very serious equipment to do very serious tests, all while they wear their very serious faces. But Bugatti in 1989? We’ve got guys doing snownuts and snowy drag races and a guy just being like “okay I’m gonna just stop really hard, see if the ABS works.”
And then they just fall over. Remember to watch it with subtitles, unless you speak Italian.
It’s simply wonderful, and frankly it’s all the winter testing I would ever do. Maybe this is why I don’t run a successful car company? I dunno, gotta think about that one.
One of the best bits about this video, though, is how the cars look. The EB110 prototypes look almost, but not quite, like actual EB110 production cars. That’s because they were styled by Marcello Gandini, who also designed the Lamborghini Countach and Miura. But much like what happened with Gandini’s original design of the Lamborghini Diablo (which was thrown out, and which eventually became the Cizeta-Moroder V16T), Gandini’s original design of the EB110 was thrown out, too.
So it’s not just a joy to see everyone so happy, so full of promise as they re-launch Bugatti for the umpteenth time, but it’s also fascinating as a bit of little-seen automotive history.