Originally from Milan, Ettore Bugatti settled in Molsheim in 1909. He bought the Hardtmühle and, backed by a team of highly skilled workers, started up his own «Bugatti» factory.
He produced over 7,800 cars under the trade name, including the mythical Bugatti Type 35 and other versions, which scored over a thousand victories between 1924 and 1939 during Grand Prix car races such as Le Mans.
In 1926, another emblematic Bugatti car was produced : the Royale. Only six of them were built and, in 1930, they cost three times more than a Rolls Royce. We owe the «standing playing elephant» to Ettore’s younger brother, Rembrandt, and his talent as an animal sculptor. Used as the radiator cap, this sculpture became the famous mascot of the Royale.
Throughout his life, Ettore Bugatti was an ingenious and prolific inventor, interested in different means of locomotion. Car-making certainly benefited from his many talents, but he also designed a railcar, commissioned by the French national railway network, driven by the same engines as the Royale. In 1935, he achieved a rail speed record at nearly 200 kmh.
Other fields also caught his imagination, such as air and maritime navigation.
The development of the Veyron 16.4 by Bugatti Sas is one of the key milestones of 21st-century automotive engineering.