40th Anniversary Bugatti Festival: A Celebration of Legacy, Luxury, and Innovation.
Each year, on the weekend closest to the birthday of Ettore Bugatti – 15 September 1881 – the town of Molsheim in Alsace is transformed with a three-day celebration of Ettore’s incredible legacy. The Bugatti Festival, organized by the Enthousiastes Bugatti Alsace (EBA), is a pilgrimage of Bugatti fans from all over the world, descending on the place that will forever be known as the home of this legendary brand.
Celebrating a Storied Legacy: The 40th Anniversary Bugatti Festival in Molsheim.
In the picturesque town of Molsheim, nestled in the heart of Alsace, a profound legacy comes to life each year. This annual celebration, known as the Bugatti Festival, is a tribute to the enduring spirit of Ettore Bugatti, the visionary founder of one of the most iconic luxury automotive brands in history. And this year, as we marked the 40th anniversary of this remarkable gathering, the enchanting town of Molsheim bore witness to an extraordinary celebration of craftsmanship, innovation, and sheer automotive passion.
A Journey to the Heart of Bugatti’s Legacy
Ettore Bugatti’s story began in 1910 when, at the age of 28, he established his factory in Molsheim, crafting the legendary Type 13 and setting the stage for Bugatti’s enduring presence in the world of high-performance automobiles. His vision for excellence extended beyond the vehicles themselves, as he acquired the iconic Château Saint Jean in 1928, a place that would become synonymous with the brand’s hospitality and luxury.
Today, Château Saint Jean remains a testament to Bugatti’s unwavering commitment to hand-assembled perfection, serving as the birthplace of every modern Bugatti hyper sports car.
Honoring the Past, Celebrating the Future
The Bugatti Festival, meticulously organized by the Enthousiastes Bugatti Alsace (EBA), is more than a gathering; it’s a tribute to the enduring legacy of Ettore Bugatti. This year’s festivities were grander than ever, commencing with a visit to the final resting place of Ettore Bugatti in Dorlisheim Cemetery. But the Bugatti Festival isn’t solely about paying homage to the man; it’s about celebrating the indelible mark he left on the world.
As the sun rose on a beautiful Saturday morning, Bugatti classic car owners, alongside enthusiastic Bugatti customers with their modern hyper sports cars, converged at the historic Château Saint Jean. The parc, still adorned with Ettore’s initials in the railings, welcomed guests for a sumptuous breakfast hosted by the Bugatti brand—a fitting start to a weekend brimming with extraordinary activities. The Château’s grounds were transformed into a captivating display of Bugatti automobiles, while inside the castle, a curated exhibition showcased the furniture of Carlo Bugatti and the sculptures of Rembrandt Bugatti. These artistic inspirations from Ettore’s own family directly influenced the design of Bugatti cars, embodying his belief that “Nothing is too beautiful.”
Carlo’s furniture exudes ambitious, flowing shapes, meticulous attention to detail, and the use of the finest materials. Rembrandt’s sculptures, on the other hand, capture the raw power and grace of animals in motion. Together, these artistic elements found their way into the design of Bugatti vehicles, with the horseshoe Bugatti grille itself being a nod to Carlo’s belief in the perfection of an egg’s shape. Rembrandt’s famous ‘Dancing Elephant’ sculpture even graced the hood of the Bugatti Type 41 Royale, a unique adornment in Bugatti’s history.
A Journey through Time and Vineyards
Bugatti automobiles aren’t just works of art; they’re meant to be driven and experienced. Thus, after immersing themselves in Bugatti’s artistic heritage, guests returned to their cars. From classic beauties like the Type 57C Stelvio with Gangloff bodywork to modern icons like the Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse World Record Edition and the Chiron Super Sport, the cars roared to life, reverberating off the Château’s walls.
The convoy embarked on a tour through the Alsace Wine Route, a captivating journey through Europe’s viticultural heartland, replete with picturesque towns featuring half-timbered houses and cobblestone streets. Ribeauvillé, a historic village, served as the backdrop for a convivial lunch shared among owners.
Upon their return to Molsheim, the Bugatti Festival cars took center stage in the Parc des Jésuites, drawing thousands of visitors from across Europe and beyond. The sight of these exquisite vehicles was a testament to the enduring admiration for the Bugatti brand and its illustrious heritage.
Ettore’s Legacy Beyond the Automobile
Ettore Bugatti’s brilliance extended beyond the realm of automobiles, as exemplified by the Bugatti Autorail—a luxury high-speed train that revolutionized the French rail network. This extraordinary piece of history, rarely seen outside its home at La Cité du Train in Mulhouse, graced the Festival, captivating onlookers as its legendary engine roared to life, offering a glimpse into its raw power and innovation.
A Weekend of Prestige and Recognition
The Bugatti Festival is not just a visual spectacle; it’s a celebration of excellence. The official judging jury, including Christophe Piochon, President of Bugatti Automobiles, assessed each Bugatti vehicle based on its condition, originality, elegance, and story. Trophies were awarded on the Sunday to the deserving winners.
As the weekend drew to a close, Bugatti Festival attendees were treated to another exhilarating display of Bugatti vehicles on closed roads in Molsheim. Unrestrained by speed limits or traffic, the cars showcased the full spectrum of Ettore’s engineering brilliance.
A Timeless Connection
The Bugatti Festival stands as a testament to the enduring bond between Alsace and Ettore Bugatti’s groundbreaking automobiles. More than 110 years since Bugatti’s establishment in Molsheim and 40 years since the inception of the Bugatti Festival, the connection remains as vibrant as ever. Ettore Bugatti’s indomitable spirit continues to guide the brand, ensuring that his legacy of passion, perfection, and innovation remains undiminished.
In the words of Christophe Piochon, “Through the gates of Château Saint Jean, amidst the winding roads of Alsace, and throughout the streets of Molsheim, Ettore Bugatti’s footprints are everywhere. Each car, each roar of the engine, and every hand-assembled detail, tells a tale of passion, legacy, and an unyielding quest for perfection. Molsheim isn’t just a place; it is where the soul of Bugatti breathes and flourishes, and each year we are thrilled to participate, along with some of our most enthusiastic customers, in this celebration organized by our friends, the Enthousiastes Bugatti Alsace.”