How Ettore Bugatti became an automobile designer and manufacturer

On this day, September 15 in the year 1881, one of the pioneers of the automobile industry was born in Milan, Italy. His name was Ettore Arco Isidoro Bugatti, the founder of Automobiles E. Bugatti.

Ettore Bugatti
Ettore Bugatti (Credit: wiki commons)

Ettore Bugatti came from a family of artists. His grandfather was an architect while his father was a furniture and jewelry designer. His brother was a sculptor. In 1898, Ettore built his first automobile design while working as an apprentice in one of the Milanese tricycle manufacturers. In 1901, his second prototype was exhibited at the Milan Trade fair. In 1902, he became the head of technology at the de Dietrich car factory in Alsace, Germany but now part of northeastern France.

Ettore Bugatti left de Dietrich to start his own production firm in 1904 with the help of Emile Mathis. Together they built new race cars but soon the partnership was dissolved. He designed a new car and licensed it to Deutz Engine Factory which hired him as head of production in its plant in Cologne, Germany.

In 1909, Ettore set up the Automobiles E. Bugatti in Alsace with the help of Pierre de Vizcaya. The company became famous for producing the most technologically-advanced racing cars of its day. It also designed airplanes and motorized railcars. In 1939, his son Jean was killed while testing a newly-developed tank-bodied race car.
During the Second World War, the factory in Alsace was damaged and the fortune of Automobiles E. Bugatti declined considerably.

Ettore Bugatti was paralyzed before his death in 1947. He was married with 2 children.


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