We’ve got the Fourth of July; the French republic marks its national holiday today, July 14, with the annual celebration of Bastille Day. The remembrance takes its English-language name from the assault by French partisans on Louis XVI’s political dungeon in Paris amid an economic crisis, becoming the incident that triggered the French Revolution. As holidays go, it’s great. At Hemmings Motor News, I took part in a French car rally that ended at a Bastille Day street fair on the east side of Manhattan. Best escargot in wine sauce I’ve ever experienced. In any case, Bugatti, the revived French builder of hyper-costly supercars, chose to mark France’s holiest day at one of its equally sanctified automotive capitals, Molsheim.
Molsheim is the primary city of the French region known as Alsace-Lorraine, a sanctuary for artisans that changed hands repeatedly while conflict raged across Europe as World War I approach, Bugatti’s namesake founder, Ettore Bugatti, began building cars in Molsheim in 1909. In addition to creating, by force of will, the most aesthetically flawless cars the motoring world has ever known, Bugatti produced everything from railway locomotives to surgical instruments in Molsheim until the founder’s death in 1947 and his company’s demise in the early 1960s. The brothers Fritz and Hans Schlumpf then established the world’s largest private collection of cars, and the biggest global brace of Bugattis anywhere, which became today’s Musée National de l’Automobile in 1982. The EB 110 that revived the Bugatti name in Molsheim dates to 1995, and has continue to produce the megabuck hypercars, in very small numbers, in the firm’s spiritual home ever since. Today, Bugatti posed some of its current offerings in front of the renovated Chateau St. Jean in Molsheim. Have a blast on your biggest day, mes amis.