mercredi 27 janvier 2016

Bugatti’s oddball EB112 was the pre-Panamera super-saloon


Thought the first-generation Porsche Panamera was ungainly? Meet the 1993 Bugatti EB112 concept. However, look beyond the odd proportions of the Gallic behemoth, and you’ll find a car that can hold its own both in a serious collection, and on the road…
If you’re unfamiliar with the EB112, you might assume a Photoshop fantasist had killed an hour or two by crudely merging a Veyron and a Porsche Panamera. But it’s a reality – a rather ugly one, perhaps, but one that predates both by more than a decade.

Resurrected by the Pastor

It was penned by Giugiaro under the direction of Romano Artioli who, possibly inspired by Ettore Bugatti’s creation of the Type 57S Galibier, saw fit to follow the EB110 supercar with a saloon. The automotive design sage used numerous design cues from Bugatti’s illustrious past: that ‘spine’, wheels that referenced those of the Royale, and aluminium dashboard fittings that mimicked theType 35’s. Furthermore, the handle of the accompanying umbrella stashed in the boot was shaped like Rembrandt Bugatti’s rampant elephant. To certify the EB112’s cruising credentials, it also came with two matching leather suitcases.
Well, it would have, had it reached fruition. But on its journey between Giugiaro’s pen and the production line in Campogalliano, Bugatti’s financial difficulties took hold, and the striking saloon looked destined to become no more than a myth. However, three pre-production cars, in varying stages of completion, were bought by Monaco Racing Team founder Gildo Pallanca Pastor. Using a number of spare parts, he finished two. One (fittingly painted ‘Bordeaux Red’) was sold; the other Pastor retained until last year.

The road-going concept car

Although the final versions were to use the V8 from the Porsche 928, the pre-prods were fitted with Bugatti’s own 455bhp 6.0-litre V12 – and this car’s current owner was occasionally seen exercising his on the streets of Monaco, much to the disbelief of car-minded onlookers.
Soon to be offered at Artcurial’s Rétromobile 2016 auction, this one-of-two Bugatti EB112 not only holds an obvious appeal to marque collectors; it also offers a rare opportunity to own a concept car that can actually be driven, rather than stagnating motionless while desperately trying to suggest a curious future that never was.
Photos: Artcurial

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