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Before Bugatti’s triumphant return over the last decade thanks to lots of Volkswagen cash flow, there was Bugatti Automobili SpA, the short-lived revival brought about under Italian entrepreneur Romano Artioli.
Established in 1987, the new Bugatti quickly moved into a modern factory in Campogalliano, Italy, and work began on a mid-engined supercar that would compete with Europe’s best and bring glory back to the long dormant Bugatti nameplate.
In celebration of founder Ettore Bugatti’s 110th birthday, the finished product was called the EB110 and debuted during a glitzy affair at the Palace of Versailles.
With dramatic styling, abundant use of exotic materials and scissor doors thanks to designer Marcello Gandini, the EB110 certainly looked the part.
Fortunately, performance was as striking as the looks. The 3.5-liter V12 churned out 550 horsepower thanks to four turbochargers, 0-60 mph came in just over four seconds, and the top speed was 213 miles per hour.
But despite strong publicity and the fact that Michael Schumacher bought an EB110, Bugatti Automobili learned that same lesson learned by so many other companies: making expensive low-volume sports cars in a financially sustainable way is a really hard thing to do. The revived Bugatti was bankrupt by 1995.
Given how exotic and rare it is, the 1993 Bugatti EB110 GT was destined to be a collector piece pretty much from the start. Less than 150 were made, and this particular car is only the sixth production example, completed in March of 1993.
Originally sold in Japan, it only has 8,000 km (5,000 mi) 22 years later. It has also recently been imported to the United States, but that’s under the Show & Display law, meaning that its next owner can only cover 2,500 miles a year in it.
EB110s do occasionally crop up for sale, and one brought $385,000 at RM’s Monaco sale last year. This blue example will be at RM’s Arizona sale later this month, where it carries a more ambitious pre-sale estimate of $575,000-$775,000.