On this day in auto history - August 21st

Sat 21st Aug 2021

It was on this day in 1947 that the legendary manufacturer and auto designer Ettore Bugatti passed away at the age of 65.

Born into an aristocratic family in Milan but later naturalised as French, Bugatti joined a bicycle manufacturing firm when he was 17 and had amazingly developed his first automobile before he was 21 - a project which won him an award at the Milan industry fair that year.

By 1909, Bugatti had founded his own manufacturing company and his vehicles enjoyed great success on the track in the 1920’s and 30’s with the phenomenally successful Bugatti Type 35 going down in racing folklore for winning over 1000 races in its time.

The tragic death of Bugatti’s son, Jean, whilst testing a racing car near the company’s factory in Molsheim in 1939 marked a turning point in the company’s fortunes, coming as it did, just at the outbreak of World War II.

With the company’s factory destroyed during the war, the business spiralled into eventual bankruptcy but not before an ailing Ettore Bugatti passed away himself due to a brain tumour.

The Bugatti marque laid dormant for many years but in 1997, Italian entrepreneur Romano Artioli successfully revived the iconic brand to the extent that Volkswagen purchased it the following year.

Under VW’s ownership, Bugatti has released a number of new models, most notably the Bugatti Veyron supercar - the fastest road car in world.