Ettore Bugatti – aka Le Patron – used to ride his horse alongside the production line in Molsheim, Alsace, his exacting gaze sizing up everything from beneath the brim of his bowler hat. But then Ettore always did have a finely-crafted sense of the ridiculous; from his fantabulous Royale model, to boats, planes, trains and furniture. Did I mention furniture? Oh wait, that was his dad, Carlo.
Anyway, given the prodigious oeuvre and idiosyncrasies of Le Patron, the idea of a £2.5 million, 261mph supercar seems not (quite) so daft. Plenty of today’s designers have egos enough to imagine they control all they survey, but Ettore really did. He studied at the Academy of Art at Brera in Italy, which left its mark on everything he produced; superlative design as the key to great engineering.
photo: Credit: Dominic Fraser
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