The automobile was not even thirty years old when racing had taken a firm hold on enthusiasts. Enzo Ferrari was driving his performance cars to championships all over the world and others wanted in on the action. Ettore Bugatti was one of these men and he decided to take on Ferrari in a very different way than the others. He initially started with smaller, lighter, and less powerful cars than the Ferrari racecars of the time. This allowed the cars to be more nimble on the track and even finish second behind Ferrari in the Grand Prix du Mans of 1911.
This major accomplishment gave Ettore Bugatti the supporters and money necessary to continue his small operation in Molsheim. He began to produce stronger competitors and won more races every year. By 1920, Bugatti had its own Grand Prix championship under its belt and was ready to expand the company into different areas.
Ettore was a very respected man and ran his company with an iron fist, Le Patron as he was known, acted as a member of the upper crust and often invited them for factory tours and extravagant meals. According to Bugatti lore, at one of these dinners a woman remarked, “Everyone knows you build the greatest racing cars in the world. But for a town carriage of real elegance, one must go to Rolls-Royce or Daimler, isn’t that so?” This statement must have enraged Ettore, whether he showed it or not to his guests, he knew this was true. His company had been one-dimensional for many years and it was time to take some risks in the public sector. What came next is one of the most revered luxury automobiles ever made, the Royale.
Hit the jump for more details on the Bugatti Royale.