The Passione Engadina honored Bugatti's heritage this year.
When it comes to the most exclusive and exotic automotive events in the world, most are found in Europe and across the channel in the UK. And, while premier events like Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este held at Lake Como or the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the England might dominate the news, smaller events like the Passione Engadina excel at exclusivity.
Now in its 11th annual edition, the exclusive show features only classic cars built up until 1992 in extremely limited numbers. However, this year the show honored Bugatti with a number of significant cars including the Bugatti Bolide.
Although Bugatti is German-owned and based in Molsheim, France, the company founder was Italian. Organizers state that Bugatti is an "important and historical French brand with a meaningful connection with the Italian territory, where Ettore Bugatti was born in Milan."
Ettore Bugatti was born to a family of artists but also possessed great engineering skills that propelled his career to apprenticeships in France. His efforts resulted in forming his own company to build among the most beautiful cars in the world, which also happened to be some of the fastest.
The Passione Engadina Bugatti display paid homage to this automotive pioneer with his first project, named the Type 1 Prinetti Stucchi, which was an awkward motorized tricycle. But the balance of the display was a blend of pre-war automotive masterpieces from Bugatti, all the way up to the modern engineering marvels that the VW Group green-lit to rewrite the rules on automotive performance.
With over 130 classic Italian cars and Bugattis on display at Passione Engadina, the 13 French Bugattis definitely stood out in a sea of red and yellow. Bugatti often finishes its creations in French Racing Blue but the cars on display were finished in various colors.
The pre-war Bugatti highlights were legends like the Type 13 roadster, Type 35 B, Type 57 SC Atalante, Type 55 Figoni, and Type 59 Sports. The Type 35 B was an incredible race car with a record that claimed over 2,000 victories, some of them won by driver Louis Chiron. The rarest of the pre-war cars was the 57 SC Atalante. After WWII, Italy was decimated so the fact that the Bugatti Type 101 Antem even exists is incredible and this post-war example is one of only seven ever made.
Fast forward and Bugatti was dormant for many decades. However, the brand's rebirth was featured at the show with the Bugatti EB110 Super Sport, the last one ever built. This collector-owned car finished in yellow was one of the most awkward cars in Bugatti's long history but certainly of significance for reviving the brand.
The shift from there goes to the 2000s when the Volkwagen-owned brand really started to resurrect its former glory. The hypercar that rebooted it all, the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 (in Super Sport trim) was on display. Its successor, the Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+, was there to promote being the only platform to surpass 300 mph in testing. The striking Bugatti Divo and bespoke La Voiture Noire were also on parade but the newly revealed roofless W16 Mistral was absent. Finally, there was the outrageous track-only Bugatti Bolide hypercar at the four-day event, which included driving activities as well.
Select vehicles headed out on the Julius Baer rally on a twisty route around the alpine mountains with Bernina and Umbrail stops. A visit to local Samedan Airport had Bugatti Official Pilot, Andy Wallace, take the Chiron Super Sport 300+ out along with a selection of customer cars for some impressive high-speed runs. And we can't think of a better way to end such a magical event with performances from some of the world's most powerful and accomplished hypercars.