Nothing Commands Attention Quite Like A Bugatti

A common complaint about car design these days is that many have become bloated swollen iterations of their older versions and that they have lost much of what made their predecessors successful. Most of this size increase is due to the increases in safety regulations and chassis design, but there is one manufacturer who seems to be going in the opposite direction. I'm talking of course about Bugatti.

That may seem like a silly statement. What do you mean Bugatti is going the opposite direction? The Chiron is indeed larger in size to it's predecessor the Veyron, but to see what I mean we must look quite a bit farther back in Bugatti's history.  While perusing the internet recently I stumbled across an album of photos that really demonstrated the how Bugatti's have shrank over the years. Shrunken in size though, not in panache.

Bugatti's reputation of opulence is not a newfound trademark but rather a very old one. Ettore Bugatti started his company building small racing cars, but in 1927 he went big. Really big. So big in fact that his monstrous creation, the Type 41 Royale, is still one of the largest cars ever produced. Weighing in at a staggering  3,175 kg (7,000 lbs) with a 4.3 m (169.3 in) wheelbase and 6.4 m (21 ft) overall length, the Royale is indeed massive. Crafted by Ettore Bugatti, the Type 41 is said to have come about because he took exception to the comments of an English lady who compared his cars unfavorably with those of Rolls-Royce. And what a large retort it was.

Designed for the houses of Royalty at the time, only 7 were ever built. Only 3 were ever sold however due to the instability of money in the world; a small thing called the great depression. 6 still remain as Ettore himself wrecked the 7th. If the Royale was Bugatti's statement on size, then the Type 57SC Atlantic was the statement on oozing style and class.

Compared to the Royale it is downright minuscule, but what it lacks for in size, it makes up for in presence.

The Atlantic is one of those cars that a person cannot simply walk past and not give it a second look. From its trademark riveted panels to it's teardrop shape, the Type 57SC was the amalgamation of everything that Bugatti had achieved so far; and it was only 1934.

Fast forward seven decades and we find ourselves looking at next iteration of Bugatti opulence and iconicity. The Veyron took the world by storm when it was launched and rewrote what it meant to be a high performance super car. Just as the Royale had rewritten what it meant to be a luxury car. So although we find in the Veyron, the smallest of these three iconic automobiles, it arguably commands the largest presence.

So what we find here in this delightful photo series by Maarten O. (check out his flickR account here) is a size comparison 80 years in the making. Where most auto manufacturers have been finding creative ways to put less soul into their larger vehicles, Bugatti seems to be finding a way to make their cars truly larger than life.

All photo credits belong to the wonderfully talented Maarten O.