As the saying goes, Rome was not built in a day. The Bugatti family worldwide is celebrating 114 years to the day that Jean Bugatti was born, a man whose automobile creations were exceptional, daring to break norms and conventions. Today, his work continues to inspire the team at the home of Bugatti in Molsheim.
Ettore Bugatti’s first son, Gianoberto Carlo Maria Bugatti, was born in Cologne, Germany, on January 15, 1909. In Molsheim, he became known as Jean, the French equivalent to “Gian”. Having grown up surrounded by a family of visionary artists, Jean benefited from an upbringing that would allow him to flourish as an automotive engineer. It quickly became evident to many that his mind was free from the usual set of norms and design conventions.
“Jean Bugatti was an artist of the highest order that so happened to craft his work in the automotive sphere,” says Christophe Piochon, President of Bugatti Automobiles. “And for that, we can all be thankful, because Jean’s work was extraordinary; his conceptions at the time weren’t just forward-looking, they were otherworldly.”
As a young man, he ambitiously added a new dimension to the Type 41 Royale his father presented to the world in 1926, designing the Type 41 Royale Roadster Esders, an elegant two-seater convertible. And the Esders marked the start of not only Jean’s design journey but the beginning of the Jean Bugatti era of the business, guided by his beautiful designs and ingenious creations. By 1936 Ettore passed the baton onto his son, giving him full responsibility of the company at the tender age of 27.
While Jean’s light shone brightly, sadly its arc was destined to be short. On August 11, 1939, at the age of 30, Jean tragically died in a car accident not far from the Bugatti factory. But Jean’s light will forever shine upon Bugatti, helping to guide the brand as the future plays out. Even on the company’s latest creation – a unique Chiron model called the Profilée, which goes on auction in Paris on February 1 – Jean’s character and body of work is apparent, gracefully shaping the automotive solitaire with a design that is elegant and timeless.
Tosan Aduayi is a veteran motoring enthusiast and writes from Mansfield, Texas – email@example.com