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The Old Bugatti Factory in Italy Is Just Wasting Away

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author photo by Doug DeMuro March 2017

Right now, you know Bugatti as the manufacturer of the most expensive, exclusive, high-performance cars in the entire world. But did you know Bugatti's former production facility is currently abandoned and rotting away in Italy, with the "BUGATTI" logo slowly fading off the walls?

It's true: The 1990s factory that made the Bugatti EB110, the predecessor of the Veyron, is abandoned and slowly being reclaimed by the earth. And you can see it off the A-22 expressway in Campogalliano, Italy, in the province of Modena.

But wait! you're thinking. Isn't Bugatti French?

Well, sort of. But it wasn't always. You see, back in the 1920s, Bugatti was indeed a French company. Even though it was originally founded in a region controlled by the German Empire, that region quickly became part of France, and Bugatti soon cemented itself as a French company. But when (Italian-born) Ettore Bugatti died in the late 1940s, the company folded, it went out of business, and it was kind of forgotten about, except for the fact that Bugatti built some of the most desirable, beautiful cars in the history of time.

And then in 1987, the Bugatti brand name was acquired by an Italian businessman, who built a factory in Italy -- and so Bugatti became Italian. The car produced by Italian Bugatti was legendary for both its obscurity and its performance. The EB110 used a quad-turbocharged V12, and it was sold throughout the early 1990s in extremely small numbers, with just 139 made for the whole world.

Back then, times were good, and the Italian Bugatti company had a list of grand plans for future vehicles -- right up until times were bad, and the future vehicles were canceled as the company descended into bankruptcy. Even the EB110 called it quits -- and the supercar's tooling and parts were purchased by a German firm, Dauer, who made a small run of its own additional EB110s.

Not long later, the Bugatti brand was purchased by Volkswagen, and the company came back home: Volkswagen built a factory in Molsheim, France -- Bugatti's original location -- and development began for the Veyron.

But the factory in Italy was never torn down. And right now, if you're driving along the A-22, and if you pass Campogalliano, and if you look over at just the right time, you can see it: The image above, of a fading Bugatti logo on the side of a huge building -- a building that once gave the world a largely forgotten supercar, and plans for many others that never managed to materialize.

Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.

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The Old Bugatti Factory in Italy Is Just Wasting Away - Autotrader