Bernard Canonne ©2014, courtesy of RM Auctions
Bernard Canonne ©2014, courtesy of RM Auctions
Italian Ferrari dealer Romano Artioli dreamed of resurrecting one of the most storied marques in automotive history: Bugatti. Artioli’s Bugatti Automobile SpA was established in October 1987, and construction of a new, state-of-the-art factory in Campogalliano, Italy, began the following year. When it was ready, the EB110 — Ettore Bugatti 110, honoring the great man’s 110th birthday — debuted on September 15, 1991, in front of the Grande Arche de la Défense in Paris. The EB110 GT was a supercar in the truest sense of the word, as it was powered by a 3.5-liter V12 with four turbochargers, which was an industry first. Mated to a 6-speed manual transmission, it was capable of producing 560 horsepower, sufficient to move the EB110 GT to a top speed of 213 mph. The angular, modern styling was penned by Giampaolo Benedini and Marcello Gandini, and it bore Gandini’s signature “scissor doors,” which only added to the model’s exotic looks. Unfortunately, due to the effects of a worldwide economic recession, the success of the new Bugatti proved short-lived. The manufacturer went bankrupt in 1995, and its assets were sold to Jochen Dauer, whose resources allowed for an additional 11 production cars to be completed before production of this fascinating supercar ceased for good. On May 11, 1993, this car, finished in the incredibly rare shade of Verde Scuro, was delivered to its original owner, a German enthusiast by the name of Polhmann. It is believed to have later passed through the care of owners in Austria and Monaco before coming into the ownership of its present caretaker, an enthusiast based in Italy. EB110s have always had a strong following, as they provide incredible performance even by today’s standards. Even though Artioli’s Bugatti was short lived, it still carried on Bugatti’s tradition of creating the finest sports and racing cars for the most discerning of clients. The odometer on this example reads just over 24,000 kilometers (14,912 miles) from new, and when considering its striking dark green finish and incredible condition, this is truly an opportunity not to be missed.  

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1993 Bugatti EB110 GT
Number Produced:139
Original List Price:$350,000
Tune Up Cost:$3,500
Chassis Number Location:In left door jamb
Engine Number Location:Right-hand side of engine block below exhaust
Club Info:Club Bugatti France
Investment Grade:B

This car, Lot 123, sold for $385,294 (€280,000) including buyer’s premium at RM Auctions’ Monaco sale on May 10, 2014.

It is acknowledged today that the Bugatti EB110 is a car worthy of carrying the legendary name, and that the Bugatti dream of Romano Artioli came from a place of serious respect and understanding. That the cars are recognized and included in the ranks of the Bugatti Club of France tells much about the quality of the EB110 and the work that Artioli’s team carried out to create it.

So, now comes the question of its longevity on the collector car scene. As a curiosity, like a DeLorean or a Studebaker Avanti, it would always have a certain following and retain a certain level of value. But as almost all Bugattis are considered to be blue-chip collectibles or nearly so, what of this one? Add to that the rarity of contemporary classics.

While it possesses a noble name, it is still an orphan car, as the bloodline was irretrievably broken in the 1950s. So has the appeal endured and is the EB110 GT likely to become as desired a collector’s item as the Bugattis of the 1920s and 1930s, not to mention its contemporary — the McLaren F1?

Slowly drifting upward

Since 2000, when the first listing appears in the SCM Platinum Auction Database, the EB110 GT has traded in a fairly narrow, slowly upward-drifting range from just under $200k to just over $300k at public auction and at dealers. The uprated SS model, of which just over 30 were made, has sold for a bit more. However, as one of those sales was of an SS owned by Michael Schumacher for over $700k, the average became a bit skewed. The sale of our subject car seems to be right in line with the prevailing trend of incremental upwards growth.

Bonhams sold another EB110 GT in Monaco at their sale here in May 2007, and comparing the two sales demonstrates the effect of that slow but steady increase — even taking into account currency exchange fluctuations, which must be done in cases such as this. The car from 2007 sold at €199,913, or $259,200, this one for €280,000, or $385,294. The exchange rate in May 2007 was €1.00=$1.29; this May it stood at €1.00=$1.37. Looking at the result in euros, this car sold for 40% more than the 2007 example and in dollars 48% higher — with the difference attributable to the loss in buying power of the U.S. dollar.

By any measure that’s a healthy appreciation. When I looked at this car in Monaco, I was struck not only by the good condition, but that it had the feel of a regularly, if gently, used car. Having covered an average of only 1,142 km (709 miles) a year, it was hard to tell when that use came, but the car didn’t seem to be a static display piece. The colors were also quite attractive. The dark metallic green suited the shape well — better than the most-often-seen French Blue. Darker shades seem to unite the design elements in a way not seen in brighter ones.

Rapidly passing on the highway

In fact, the weekend in the Principality featured another dark-hued EB110 GT, driven by SCM’s own Simon Kidston, who found his to be the perfect conveyance for a quick dash from Geneva to Monaco and back. The road to Monaco from Italy is the A10 highway, evocatively named “Autostrada dei Fiori” or “Highway of the Flowers.” It winds sinuously along the coast, through short tunnels which reveal stunning deep, green valleys on one side and the shimmering Mediterranean Sea on the other.

One always stays alert on Italian highways for faster traffic approaching in your mirrors, but I was quite startled to find mine being rapidly filled by a dark, low shape coming at considerably more than the 150 km/h (93 mph) our Fiat 500L was traveling.

In a flash, I darted into the right lane and hoped the car would be by me before I rear-ended the little pickup in front of me and sure enough, the maroon Bugatti EB110 flashed by in the blink of an eye. Later, I saw the car parked near the casino and commented that it was the car that had passed us on the road earlier.

When I ran into Simon at the RM Auctions preview and happened to mention my encounter, he grinned and said, “Oh yes, that was me — but Emanuele (his colleague at Kidston SA) was behind the wheel!” Emanuele shyly smiled and slowly shook his head “no.” Whoever was at the helm, it was certainly clear that the EB110 GT is a powerful car that can be used as it was intended.

Coping with an orphan

So are there any challenges with actually using an orphan quad-turbo V12 supercar on a regular basis on the open highway? In the spirit of “Ask the man who owns one,” I asked Simon.

Simon is someone who wouldn’t “own any car I can’t use.” So, Simon finds that driving his EB110 both fast and often is quite natural. Regarding service, he maintains it at the original dealer in Geneva — which might not be an option for someone living in Chicago, who would also be a bit further from a company called B Engineering in Campogalliano, Italy. Set up by former employees — including the head of production of the Artioli operation, whose showcase factory is steps away — the company maintains a large stock of spare parts.

As for driving it fast, Kidston declared, “At 280 kilometers per hour, it was still accelerating.” He admitted that most owners don’t use their cars the way he does, although he thinks running costs are lower than those for a McLaren F1 or Porsche 959. It is a shame that we never saw the prototype EB112 4-door model enter production. A faithful updating of the ‘conduite intérieure’ such as the Bugatti Type 57 Galibier sedan of the 1930s, it could have been an amazing creation, a true 4-seat supercar.

A very collectible orphan

My answer to the question posed above is that as an appraiser doing my market research and analysis, the data lead me to conclude that indeed the EB110 GT has successfully crossed the divide from curiosity to serious collector interest. How far it continues to appreciate will, I believe, be seen in why new owners buy their cars and how they are used. Because of their rarity and the short production life, there is not much information about their dynamic capabilities. It is those above all else which make these cars desirable.

I am reminded that they were sold new with a no-cost, three-year service plan. They were meant to be driven. If more people use them as Simon Kidston does his, their esteem is bound to rise higher. This should be called bought just right, and I understand the SCM Pocket Price Guide is being adjusted. ♦

(Introductory description courtesy of RM Auctions.)

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