The Bugatti Centodieci is based on the Chiron but tips a hat at the EB110 from 1991. Picture: SUPPLIED
The Bugatti Centodieci is based on the Chiron but tips a hat at the EB110 from 1991.  Picture: SUPPLIED

Three decades ago an angular wedge shaped supercar appeared on the scene — the Bugatti EB110.

It was a striking thing at the time when the supercar niche’s greatest hits like the Jaguar XJ220, Ferrari F40, Lamborghini Diablo and McLaren F1 still roamed the streets as fresh acquisitions.

Now a prototype of the ultra-exclusive Bugatti Centodieci, a commemoration special of which only 10 units are being made (already sold out), has been spotted testing at the Nürburgring.

The Centodieci, 110 in Italian, is an homage to that V12-powered EB110 which was unveiled on September 15 1991 to mark the 110th birthday of the Italy-born French brand founder Ettore Bugatti, hence EB110.

The Centodieci is Bugatti’s way of paying its respects to the Italian entrepreneur Romano Artioli and architect Giampaolo Benedini, the men who created the EB 110.

“The challenge for us was not to get caught up in the design of the legendary EB 110 itself and avoid focusing solely on a retrospective approach,” Bugatti Design director Achim Anscheidt said of the Centodieci.

“Our aim was to create a modern interpretation of the shape and technology of that time: but at the same time, we didn’t want to lose the charm and character of the EB 110.”

Since the Centodieci’s 2019 announcement the development team has been working on the technical implementation of the limited model that’s powered by quad-turbo 16 cylinder engine with outputs of 1,176 kW and 1,600Nm for a zero to 100 km/h sprint in 2.4 seconds and electronically limited 380km/h top speed.

There are still a few design elements that need to be refined. With the Centodieci being based on the Chiron but styled to be reminiscent of the EB110, design cues that include a fixed rear wing could affect regulatory compliance and aerodynamics hence the need for extensive development work and testing.

“We faced a number of technical challenges in terms of the development and design of the Centodieci,” says Anscheidt.

The EB110 is a very flat, wedge-shaped and graphically quasi two-dimensional super sports car of the late 1980s.

“Transporting this classic look into the new millennium without copying it was technically complex, to say the least. We had to create a new way of combining the complex aerothermal requirements of the underlying Chiron technology with a completely different aesthetic appearance.”

Within a few hours, all 10 units of the Centodieci were sold out at a net price of €8m (R135m). The car will be delivered to customers in 2022.

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