To fully understand the story of the Bugatti Veyron supercar, first it’s necessary to understand a bit about the company founded by Ettore Bugatti in 1909. Ettore Bugatti came from a family of artists, and art has featured prominently in the design of not just Bugatti automobiles, but in every aspect of their creation.
Ettore Bugatti even went so far as to design his own machine tools, although he lacked any kind of formal training in mechanical engineering. Ettore’s son, Jean, took the company in a new and even more artistic styling direction, and many traits found on the Bugatti Type 57 (like the falling character line, or the central ridge) were employed on the Veyron.
Even Bugatti’s favored two-tone paint scheme was brought forth on the Veyron, as a nod to the marque’s storied past. Like all Bugatti models, the Veyron was designed to be “Pur Sang,” or “Pure Blood,” built entirely without compromise to be the finest automobile in the world.
Sadly, Jean Bugatti’s death in 1939 left founder Ettore Bugatti without an heir, and the Second World War saw Bugatti lose his factory at Molsheim. The company struggled financially following the death of Ettore Bugatti in 1947, and last exhibited at an auto show in 1952.
Numerous attempts to revive the brand were made over the years, but none were successful until the Volkswagen Group purchased the rights to the Bugatti name in 1998. While it would have been easy enough to begin building Bugattis on an existing assembly line, Volkswagen made an unsuccessful attempt to acquire the original Molsheim factory.
Today, Veyrons are assembled in a factory adjacent to Ettore Bugatti’s former guest house, which now serves as the company’s headquarters. While Bugatti probably doesn’t contribute a significant amount to the Volkswagen Group’s bottom line, its presence as a halo brand and its contribution to design and engineering make a justifiable defense for the brand’s revival.