Editor’s note: The Class of ’22 is a collection of standout ’80s and ’90s cars that have been entered into the Hagerty Price Guide for the first time, in 2022. Ahead of RADwood, the show for the best enthusiast cars from the ’80s and ’90s, we’re profiling a handful of our favourites. If you own, or owned one, tell us about it, in the Comments! James Mills
Thanks to the McLaren F1, not many early 1990s supercars got to enjoy the limelight for as long as they might have deserved.
One such supercar was the Bugatti EB110, launched a year earlier than the F1, in 1991. It was the first Bugatti model since the 1950s and the only Bugatti under the stewardship of Romano Artioli, the businessman who also presided over Lotus as it developed the seminal Elise.
Where Gordon Murray’s F1 was puristic though – as was the Elise, for that matter – the EB110 was the kind of technological marvel we now expect of Bugatti, following models like the Veyron and Chiron.
It was, of course, a V12 – an obligatory layout for supercars of the era. But while some chose natural aspiration, Bugatti strapped on a quartet of turbochargers to its 3.5-litre unit, good for 553bhp or (in later Super Sport form) as much as 603bhp. Even in ‘standard’ form, top speed was 212mph.
And while the F1’s cabin was focused (if not actually bare), Bugatti ensured the EB110 was lavishly equipped. This, combined with the car’s all-wheel drive setup, meant it was no lightweight, tipping the scales at more than 1600kg, a figure that also wouldn’t look out of place today (though still a chunk lighter than a Veyron or Chiron).
The usability didn’t go unnoticed, with Autocar praising the car’s friendliness in the magazine’s 1994 road test, both around town and when driven at speed, and somewhat remarkable economy – for a supercar – of 20mpg. The only significant issue was a lack of cabin space for taller types, something the F1, developed around the towering Murray, had no problem with.
And there’s no doubting it stands out in a crowd, as one of the definitive supercar shapes of the period – even if it’s not strictly pretty. As it turns out, the market is turning on to the EB110 too, as editor of the UK Hagerty Price Guide, John Mayhead, notes.
“Wow – the recent price rises of this beast have been eye-watering, both in standard and Super Sport form. The top three public auction sales of the EB110 GT ever have been recorded in 2022, all of them exceeding the $2M mark (the previous record having been $967,500 set in 2018). The car has really come of age and social media focus on contemporary Bugatti models has helped drive that.”
So if the EB110 didn’t enjoy the limelight back then, perhaps three decades later is its time to shine. Come and check it out, in the Class of ’22 display, at RADwood, on 20 August.