The Hypercar Underdog

I’m not one of those guys who roots for the underdog just because they are underdogs. I just find that, like all of us, some of my tastes don’t align with the majority.

If I want some 1970’s extended guitar solo action - I’ll take Ritchie Blackmore over Eric Clapton any day of the week.

I was defending the NSX back when it got bashed for being under-powered. Now that it’s old enough to vote, drink, and retire from the NFL, everyone leaks precum talking about the thing; but this was not the case several years ago.

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And speaking of the NFL - while I am originally from Long Island and have lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for a long time; the few years I lived in the Cleveland area have made me a Browns fan despite the success (and temptation to be a fan) of the Giants and 49ers.

So. This is about the Bugatti EB110. The somewhat forgotten hypercar; and the first car I ever heard referred to as a hypercar.

I have tried to sit down and write everything I want to say about this car and frankly - I want to list so many features and how ahead of their time they were, that I never have the patience to finish it.

I loved this car. I loved a lot of cars. This is the one car that I would have above all else. It’s a purely romantic notion of course because it’s not a love of a car based on what it can do compared to a modern car or even other cars at the time. It’s not a love that’s even based on how much you like the way it drives. It’s a love like the love you have for the music that got you through high school. Sure, you loved all music; but it was DAN FOGELBERG that really got you through it all! Only DAN understood how you felt, man! For me, it was the first 4 Metallica albums but hey, we all have our own tastes. The EB110 was the car that made me nuts. It DROVE me the most to work hard in the hopes that someday I could get one.

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Well...mission NOT accomplished so far, Mr Failure! But, the game clock has not yet wound down to 0:00 for me so I still have hope and this car still propels me more than anything else.

In the late 1980’s everyone knew that the cars of the future would make extensive use of carbon fiber, aluminum, and any other materials or techniques that would provide light-weight strength.

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They knew that eventually, horsepower levels would hit 500-600hp while being emissions compliant; and they knew that tire technology and all wheel drive designs were going to help keep the performance cars of the future on the road.

The Bugatti EB110 was an actual physical representation of this vision and if you break the car down, a majority of the EB110’s features and make-up have a) remained on the must list for modern hypercars b) trickled down to the super car/high end sports car market and is still rather slowly trickling down to sub $100k cars.

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So yea - McLaren’s F1 became more iconic and was a finely executed product. And Bugatti’s business situation resulted in the Italian-owned Bugatti era being short-lived.

Look in detail at the features of that car and think about when it was designed. Then think about how, on paper - that car could come out today and still be regarded as contemporary in many ways.

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Thanks to Davide Cironi for investing his time in creating this short film about my favorite car. He talks with some key folks that were involved at the time and he takes an EB110 (in proper French Racing Blue no less) back to the car’s birth place. Talk about precum for THIS kid...

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-Joe F

check out my car friends, car crap, and car blah fuckity blah blah at wheelwell.com

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