Despite going out of business and being revived more times than we can count, Bugatti celebrated its 110th anniversary last month by presenting a 3D-printed model of its iconic Type 35 racer at the Geneva Motor Show.
Beautiful as the so-called ‘Bugatti Baby’ may be, we don’t think it’s up there with the French-German-Italian marque’s most spectacular models. From the full-sized Type 35 to the contemporary 16C Galibier concept, the brand has certainly put its name to some striking – and often ahead-of-their-time – vehicles.
Here, we take a look at our five favourites. See if you agree!
The plucky Type 13 has arguably the best backstory of any Bugatti. Built in 1910 and entered into Le Mans the following year, it looked massively out of place alongside its much larger rivals, but battled through to finish second after seven hours of racing. Production was halted by the outbreak of World War I, so three full cars-worth of parts were buried near the company’s factory in Molsheim – only to be exhumed when the fighting ceased and made into brand new Type 13s.
Type 57 S
One of the most iconic Bugattis ever built, the 57 S was a real labour of love. The “S” in its name stands for “Surbaissé” (“lowered” in French), referencing the car’s ground-hugging form. However, the act of taking the original Type 57 and reducing its height proved tricky; the rear axle had to pass through the car’s bodywork rather than sitting beneath it, and a new lubrication system was devised in order to cram the engine under the lower hood. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the original run of the Type 57 S was limited to just 43 models.
Type 101 Coupe
The successor to the Type 57, the Type 101 came in five different body styles – four-door saloon, cabriolet, two-door coach, roadster and coupe. All were characteristically stunning, but the latter was the best of the bunch (in our eyes at least). Incidentally, Nicolas Cage was among the few lucky owners of the coupe’s 1951 Antem-bodied version (although he’s now sold it).
Fast forward a few decades and we come to the Veyron. We could hardly write a list of iconic Bugattis without this behemoth. The vanilla model boasts an eye-watering top speed of 253 mph, while the amped-up Super Sport is recognised by Guinness World Records as the fastest street-legal production car in the world, topping out at more than 267 mph. No wonder it was named Top Gear’s Car of the Decade for 2000-09.
Will this spectacular motor ever see the light of day? First unveiled to a handpicked audience in Molsheim back it 2009, it was expected to launch in 2014-15. Then it was cancelled in favour of the successor to the Veyron, the Chiron. It was resurrected in 2016, with then-Bugatti chief executive Wolfgang Dürheimer revealing it would be priced similarly to the Chiron. Three years later, still no Galibier. But if it ever launches, we promise it’ll be worth the wait. Just look at it!