Wednesday 30 March 2011

Ettore Bugatti - Le Patron

Ettore Bugatti, often referred to by staff as “Le Patron”, was born in Milan, Italy in 1881.

He apprenticed at a bicycle factory, where he designed his first motorized vehicle. Subsequently, he worked as an automobile designer for the Dietrich and then the Deutz car companies.

Blue Bugattis at Eau Rouge - 1934 Belgian Grand Prix
 Pen&ink, markers, Prismacolor white pencil and pencil on archival white stock 11.75”x 9”
© Paul Chenard 2010
Limited editions available.

In 1910, he started on his own in Molsheim, France, where he designed the Type 19 for Peugeot, called the “Bébé.”

At the same time, Bugatti was successfully racing a Type 13 “Brescia,” built for competition. This little racer carried the famous “horseshoe” radiator that became an earmark of Bugatti quality.

From the early 1920s to the early 1930s, he developed ever more refined and successful racers, such as Types 18, 35, 35B, 35C, 35T, 37, 37A, 39, 51, 54,and 59, as well as road cars, such as Types 40, 41, 50, 55, and 57.

There is a legend that the shades of blue of the Bugatti racecars were based on blue of the 1930’s Gauloise cigarette packages. Madame Bugatti would pull out her Gauloise package and compare it to the colour being used and have it “adjusted” to match the package.

Bugatti’s son Jean was a dynamic catalyst for change and development within the company. With his death in 1939 in a testing accident, and the ruin of the Molsheim factory during the Second World War, the company fortunes started to diminish.

Philippe "Phi-Phi" Etancelin on his way to winning the 1930 French Grand Prix in Pau, driving his 2-litre supercharged Bugatti Type 35C.
 My first scratchboard illustration 7"x 5" (17.8cm x 12.7cm)
© Paul Chenard 2010

This illustration is available.

Ettore Bugatti passed away in Paris in 1947 at the age of 65.


Todo Motor said...

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Art Tidesco said...

Nicely illustrated blog Paul :-) said...

Thanks Art, very much appreciated.
I was lucky enough to be in a small village in Spain when the Bugatti Club of Italy showed up. You can read about it here: