Campogalliano in the province of Modena in Emilia-Romagna is still an important place for Bugatti fans. It is there that the Italian Romano Artioli, in the late 1980s, created one of the most modern automotive factories in the world and the most extreme supercar of its time – the Bugatti EB110.
Artioli built the supercar at the Campogalliano plant for the duration of merely five years, but that time is not forgotten. The buildings still exist and can sometimes even be visited within a guided tour. It is, to this day, truly a stunning complex.
In 1987, Artioli with the goal of building the best and fastest supercar in the world found the holding Bugatti International in Luxembourg. In order to easily acquire highly qualified employees, he looked for a property near Italy’s supercar brands. And that he found it in Campogalliano near Modena. In the neighborhood of Ferrari, Maserati, De Tomaso and Lamborghini, the state-of-the-art car manufacturing plant of the world was built on 240,000 square meters in the following years, directly on the highway 22. This included the main administration building with the design studio, the engine and test development, Production halls, test track, noble canteen and showroom.
«Romano Artioli made a compromise with the plant in Campogalliano. He was well aware of the French importance of Bugatti, but needed the proximity of experienced sports car engineers,” explains Stephan Winkelmann, President of Bugatti. «Through his commitment Artioli revived the Bugatti brand and contributed to the proud history of the EB110. He deserves our respect today.”
Star Architect Designs New Production Facility
Star architect Giampaolo Benedini designed the company headquarters for around 200 employees. His mission: to build a production facility that is beautiful in design and state-of-the-art, yet as modern, avant-garde and unique as a Bugatti vehicle. The blue building of the development department with the Bugatti emblem and the large white ventilation pipes symbolises the heart and soul of the factory.
Instead of long, dark factory warehouses, light floods the rooms and instead of pure production boxes, Benedini designs halls with radii on the edges, giving the walls the ever-famous Bugatti blue or blossom white glow – a juxtaposition of trapezoid elements with the EB logo. Brittle industrial flooring is out of the question and some rooms are carpeted with Carrara marble, crystal and stainless steel and the reception floor is laid with mosaics.
It is in this fully glazed building that the offices for research and development are located. The blinds of the round building with its glass façade automatically adjust to the light of day ensuring the best working conditions for the employees. The first floor offers space for an open showroom, which is predestined for special occasions such as gala dinners or car deliveries for customers. In addition, clearly recognisable structures and many EB emblems are added to the site. A bright, spacious room serves as the central meeting place and meeting place for the Bugatti family: employees, sponsors, customers, visitors and fans. Like company founder Ettore Bugatti, Artioli wanted to bring the employees together as a family, to a larger whole.
French Heritage within the New Factory
The French heritage was evidently demonstrated in the construction and decoration: from the historic plant in Molsheim, Artioli imported an antique wooden door, through which Ettore Bugatti had once stepped, and integrated in his new building as a tribute. In the lobby hung original drawings by Ettore Bugatti, French flags from the brand’s origins, and what’s more, a historic Type 35 was parked. The hall ceiling of the showroom was modelled on a wheel of the historic Type 59.
After three years of construction, the new plant was inaugurated on September 15, 1990 – not a random date. It was Ettore Bugatti’s 109th birthday. To celebrate, a group of 77 historic Bugatti vehicles drove from Molsheim to Campogalliano. A torch hung in front of a radiator – symbolising the rebirth of the brand.
«Giampaolo Benedini designed a modern and stunning architecture for a factory that still looks modern today. It is timelessly beautiful,» says Achim Anscheidt, chief-designer at Bugatti. «Not only that, incidentally, he gave the EB110 the final design touch and created an iconic sports car of superlatives.”
New Supercar Emerges from 1991
A year later, a Bugatti was presented again since 1956; the super sports car EB110. Three vehicles drove on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, on September 15, 1991 – Ettore Bugatti’s 110th birthday. EB stood for Ettore Bugatti, 110 for his 110th birthday. The coupe was a sensation: 3.5-litre V12 engine, five valves per combustion chamber, four turbochargers, permanent four-wheel drive, six-speed gearbox and a power output between 560 and 610 hp. The monocoque was made of carbon making it unique. The EB110 was thus the most modern supercar among its competitors for years to come. From 0 to 100 km/h the EB110 sprinted in to 3.3 seconds and was considered the fastest production car of its time. The top speed was 351 km/h which was a world record for a standard sports car. But that was not all. With the EB110, Bugatti set a total of four world records for the fastest acceleration, the fastest production sports car, the fastest gas-powered sports car and the fastest production car on ice.
But the market for supercars was collapsing at the that time, and demand was falling dramatically. As Artioli could no longer serve suppliers the production facility had to close down. By 1995, only about 96 EB110 GT and 32 EB110 Super Sport were built at the Manufacture in Campogalliano. The luxury sedan EB112 that was presented in 1993 could no longer be delivered. In July 1995, the Italian adventure in Campogalliano came to an end. A last entry in the guestbook of the main building still carries notes from a few guests.
Since then, the factory halls have been abandoned. However, the terrain is still accessible today, remaining as a witness of days passed. The former caretaker Ezio Pavesi continues to care for the work; his passion stemming from his loyalty to the great brand. The Bugatti mind is omnipresent. At the blue-coloured building of the development department, the Bugatti emblem shimmers through, the names of some sponsors scroll slowly.
The Bugatti brand and its current hyper sports cars have been radiant again – brighter than ever. In 1998, the Bugatti myth rose again when the company moved back to Molsheim, France. Since 2005, in Alsace, where Ettore Bugatti founded his company around 110 years ago, exclusive hyper sports cars such as the Chiron1 and Divo2 have been handcrafted. The Château, the North and South Remise and the studio have been the main attraction of Bugatti fans from around the world ever since. Bugatti has deliberately reestablished its French roots in the rebranding and created exactly where the brand was founded in 1909 – and to form further successes.