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The Story of the Bugatti EB112 Saloon

Bugatti EB112 Saloon

Car enthusiasts by now know of the rumors regarding the EB112 saloon. The unicorn, dating back to the early 1990s when Roman Artioli was still in charge of the Bugatti trademark, is allegedly available for sale. A lot has happened since then including, Bugatti going bankrupt. Luckily, one thing remains unchanged; the pride that comes with owning a Bugatti. As you check your bank balance to ascertain if you can call this rare Bugatti your own, here is the story of why there are only three Bugatti EB112 saloons that exist.

It All Begins With Artioli

Artioli was born close to Mantua, Tazio Nuvolari’s home town. Due to his exposure to racing drivers and race cars, Artioli developed a love for cars. By the time he turned 12, he knew his future would be all about engines and cars, thanks to another eye-opening experience after reading a book on driver’s licenses. The Italian studied mechanical engineering after Bugatti inspired him. He then began working at car repair shops but heard that Bugatti had stopped production in 1952, five years after its founder’s death. Thus Artioli vowed to bring back Bugatti to its former glory regardless of how long it would take; he was only 20 years old then, but the young man meant every word. Therefore, he started working extra hard, importing vehicles from Japan. According to dlmag, he grew his import business to become the largest Japanese cars importer in Italy. He operated one of the largest Ferrari dealerships worldwide and was the first Italian to deal in General Motors vehicles. He also went down in history as the first to import Maruti and Suzuki cars to Italy. He was raking in loads of money thus had a private collection of Bugatti cars. Of course, his dream to revive production at Bugatti never faded. By the mid-1980s Artioli was negotiating with the French government to sell the brand to him. In 1987, after nearly four decades of working towards his goal, Artioli bought the Bugatti trademark and founded Bugatti Automobili S.p.A.

From EB110 to EB112

Bugatti had built the brand’s first car in Molsheim; thus, Artioli wanted to revive production at the same location. Unfortunately, there were no production halls or engineers; therefore, he settled for Campogalliano within the same area where Lamborghini, Maserati, and Ferrari are built. Artioli sought the help of his cousin, architect Giampaolo Benedini, to design the buildings and test tracks. Benedini also designed the EB110. The Italian car enthusiast said that although production was less, they would not compromise on innovation and quality. The development of the world’s fastest and best supercar began in 1988 and was launched in 1991 on what would have been Bugatti’s 110th birthday; hence, the name EB110. According to The Gentleman Racer, 77 hand-selected vintage vehicles were on display, and Artioli went a step further to get the original door from Bugatti’s Molsheim factory for the grand opening. EB110 was so fast that even Michael Schumacher, a former racing driver, went to Campogalliano immediately after the launch to get his. According to Yahoo, Artioli wanted to add a four-door salon to the lineup hence commissioned Giorgetto Giugiaro to design a saloon version of the EB110. Consequently, the Bugatti EB112 saloon debuted in 1993 at the Geneva Motor Show. The retro-styled saloon was reminiscent of older Bugatti versions. The body was made from aluminum, and it had carbon chassis. The all-wheel vehicle featured a horseshoe grille, six-speed manual transmission gearbox, and six-liter V12 engine. It could reach a top speed of over 180mph and accelerate to 62mph in 4.3 seconds. Consequently, Automobile hailed it as the world’s most beautiful car.

EB112 Saloon Never Sees the Light of Day

Despite all these praises poured on EB112, the vehicle remained a concept and never reached actual production. The Italian economy suffered after the Gulf War, and sales declined. Artioli had amassed huge debts after investing over $30 million in Lotus and, on September 25, 1995, filed for bankruptcy. In 1996, he sold the majority of his shares in Lotus to Proton, a Malaysian car company, and used the money to cover the losses incurred. In 1998, Volkswagen acquired the Bugatti trademark rights, shelving Artioli’s plan of following up the EB110 with the EB112. By the time of the acquisition, the production of one prototype (chassis no: 39001) had been completed. It was built by ItalDesign and finished in burgundy; the company retained ownership of the prototype. According to Classic Car Curation, the production of two other prototypes was still underway. When Bugatti’s assets were auctioned and Gildo Pallanca Pastor, a Monaco-based entrepreneur, acquired them, one of the lots comprised the two unfinished prototypes. He took them to his Monaco Racing Team workshop, and their production was completed in 1998. He kept one (chassis no: 39003) for himself and delivered the other (chassis no: 39002) to Chevalley, Swiss Bugatti importer, in 2000, nearly seven years since it had been ordered.

EB112 Now For Sale

According to Today in 24, chassis no: 39002 has made a comeback. It was sold to a Russian collector who is now ready to part with it after barely making use of it. Since its registration in Switzerland in 2003, it has only accumulated 3,900 kilometers. When it was exhibited at the Geneva Classics Motorshow in 2006, its speedometer read 3000 kilometers. The dealer, Schaltkulisse, has not listed the price, but proceeds from selling the car are so lucrative that even dealers are now getting greedy. A German dealer sold the same Bugatti EB112 saloon to another individual despite having finalized a deal with someone else four days earlier. There was no formal contract, but the seller and buyer were content with the arrangement. It is not clear if the claims as published by TheSupercarBlog.com are true, but you should be prepared to part with over $2.4 million. The other two vehicles are apparently still owned by Italdesign and Pastor.

Benjamin Smith

Written by Benjamin Smith

Benjamin Smith is one of the managing editors of Moneyinc. Ben's been focusing on the auto and motorcycle sector since 2005. He's written over 1000 articles in the space and continues to learn about it each day. His favorite car is "any Bugatti" and he's a die hard Harley Davidson fan.

Read more posts by Benjamin Smith

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