Believe it or not, Bugatti actually had a rather long and roller-coaster-like lifespan before the Veyron was ever a glimmer in Volkswagen AG’s eyes. In fact, Bugatti outdates its ownership group by roughly 28 years, as VW was founded in 1937 and Bugatti in 1909. Unlike VW, though, Bugatti never fully recovered from WWII, and fizzled away into automotive has-been in the 1950s, despite a few ailed comebacks in the late-`50s and early `60s.
When Romano Artioli bought the rights to the Bugatti name, his first release under the newly acquired name was the extremely advanced 1991 Bugatti EB110 GT . Unfortunately, the EB110 GT, despite its advancements, never really took off, which was mostly attributed to the global recession at the time taking its toll on the automotive industry.
The EB110 GT lasted through the 1995 model year, but only a total of 84 of them were ever built within those five model years. In addition to the 84 completed models, there were 11 incomplete models that were purchased by B Engineering during Bugatti’s bankruptcy proceedings, which later became the basis for the Edonis sports car.
As you can see, the EB110 GT had a storied and tragically short life that was chock-full of unrealized potential, due to economic woes
On either side of the hood, near the front, you will see recesses that appear to be air ducts of some sort. These ducts almost resemble those found on the front of the Ferrari Enzo, only smaller and to the outside of the headlights.
The front of the EB110 GT nosedives at a fairly sharp angle, giving this supercar a wedge design. The only grille on the front end is integrated with the front bumper and is a two-bar style. On each side of the grille are air ducts to provide extra cooling to the braking system.
Down the side you’ll see the vertical opening doors, much like Lamborghinis of the era. It also features another set of air ducts directly in front of the rear wheel, which cool the rear brakes. An odd thing – and slightly tacky – is the addition of a two-piece side window, similar to the system found on the defunct Subaru SVX. This system has a window within a window, with the innermost window rolling down and the outermost one remaining fixed.
The entire body is made from lightweight aluminum panels. Making the EB110 GT even more unique for its era is that these aluminum panels come mounted to a carbon fiber monocoque chassis. The EB110 GT was the first car ever to use a carbon fiber monocoque, which French aviation company Aerospatiale built for Bugatti.
The exterior of this supercar was not only advanced and very sexy for its era, but it also carries well into the modern era. We can say with plenty of certainty that very few people with basic car knowledge would place the EB110 GT as a mid-1990s ride.
The interior of this 1994 Bugatti EB110 GT is relatively tame compared to its exterior. It features dual leather racing-style seats, which are adjusted via electronic controls mounted next to the seats, and burled wood grain trim around the instrument cluster and center stack.
Just like the exterior, the entire interior is fitted in grey, though several varying tones of grey. The steering wheel is a surprisingly simple tri-spoke wheel with the famed “EB” logo in the center. The dashboard, glove box door, and center console are wrapped in medium-grey leather with white stitching.
Also included on this supercar is an automatic climate control with a digital interface. A neat thing about the climate control system is that the defrost vents are moveable, just like the main vents, so you can direct the air to the exact point you need to on the windshield. If you have ever owned a car with a slow-sloping windshield like this one, you can appreciate that, as they are famous for fogging up and taking forever to clear up.
The audio system is a Nakamichi brand and includes a standard tape deck. From the looks of the tape deck, there must be a CD changer mounted in the EB110 GT, as it has CD changer controls.
The interior is one of the few areas that the EB110 GT just does not stack up well against the more modern supercars. Driving a supercar with a tape player is about as odd as you get.
Let’s have a look at what really makes a supercar super, the engine and drivetrain.
This 1994 EB110 GT has a compact 3.5-liter DOHC engine that somehow manages to house a total of 12 cylinders. What’s even more amazing is that this lightweight and compact engine also manages to pump out 561 horsepower at 8,000 rpm and 456 pound-feet of torque at 3,750 rpm. The only reason this V-12 can hit those numbers is thanks to four, yeah we said four, IHI turbochargers forcing air into the intake. This 561 horsepower wallops its closest competitors at the time, the Lamborghini Diablo and Ferrari 512M, by a whopping 36 horsepower and 28 pound feet, and 128 horsepower and 89 pound-feet, respectively.
To boot, the Lamborghini has 2.2 liters of additional engine displacement and the Ferrari has 1.4 additional liters. That is quite a feat, but it goes to show what a little boost can do to a well-tuned machine.
Hooked up to this compact powerhouse is a six-speed manual transmission, giving it one extra gear over the Diablo and 512M. The transmission was engineered so that when you shifted at peak power, the following gear would place you at roughly 3,500 rpm, placing you just before the peak torque range. This definitely helps deliver head pinning acceleration.
To make matters even more exciting, the Bugatti EB110 GT also comes with an advance all-wheel-drive system. This AWD system throws 73 percent of the engine’s power to the rear wheels and 27 percent to the front wheels at all times. This allows a slight oversteer without sacrificing acceleration traction.
The engine and drivetrain combines to propel this 3,567 lb. supercar to 100 km/h ( 62 mph) in just 3.6 seconds, so we can estimate its 0-to-60 mph time at about 3.5 seconds. It also hit a top speed of a 213 mph. These ratings are 0.4 seconds faster to 60 mph and 3 mph higher than the Diablo, and 1.2 seconds and 16 mph higher than the 512M. Those are quite impressive numbers against the top supercars of its it era.
On the front and rear of the EB110 GT, you have hydraulic Brembo brake systems. The front and rear rotors measure in at 13.07 inches in diameter, giving the 110EB GT plenty of rotor for the pads to grab onto.
At each front corner you’ll see a 9-inch x 18-inch BBS wheel wrapped tightly in high performance Michelin Pilot SX rubber and on the rear you’ll find 12-inch x 18-inch BBS wheels with the same Michelin rubber. The tires on the front measure in at 245/40ZR18 and the rears are a massive 325/30ZR18.
With only 39 percent of the weight of this supercar in the front, it is obvious that Bugatti was more interested in creating a power house supercar than one that is nimble. This means that this car is definitely tuned more for a straight track than the twisty stuff.
Picking out a supercar is definitely a dilemma that anyone would be happy to have on their hands. The deal here is that this Bugatti is a 17-year-old supercar that was way ahead of its time. Unfortunately, it comes close but does not quite stack up to modern day competitors, but that is not the point here. The point is that you will be getting an extremely rare model that is nearly what you would get today, for a fraction of the prices of these top-lever supercars.
It is likely that this Bugatti will continue to rise in value each year, whereas the Ferrari 599 and Lamborghini Aventador will drop significantly once you purchase them. The true test is if you can live without the modern amenities included with the 599 and Aventador in order to enjoy this collectable relic?
If so, you get the TopSpeed seal of approval on this purchase. You simply can’t beat the price for the dollar and the fact that it will go nowhere but up in value from here.