I love interviewing major figures in the automotive industry. I particularly enjoy their insights into significant events and milestones they personally were involved in creating. What makes my job even easier is when two such figures discuss all this with each other, and all I have to do is listen and take notes.
Such was the case when renowned Italian automotive businessman Romano Artioli met up with the Head of Design for Bugatti, Achim Anscheidt. The setting was the elegant Villa de Bagno in Porto Montovano at the 14th Autostyle design competition organised by Artioli’s brother, Roberto.
Romano Artioli holds a very special place in Bugatti history, having brought the brand back from the dead in the late eighties with the EB 110. Although Artioli’s Bugatti adventure ultimately ended in bankruptcy shrouded in a tangle of Italian-style controversy, that revival was the prelude to the later acquisition of the brand by the Volkswagen Group – a venture that created the hyper car niche and demonstrated – despite much nay-saying and scepticism – that there is, in fact, a market for cars with a price tag upwards of two million dollars.
Aside from an abiding passion for the brand, Artioli no longer has any ties to Bugatti and, until that day, hadn’t even set eyes on the new Chiron in real life.
The meeting between Artioli and Anscheidt was initially billed as a discussion on design, but quickly evolved to become a reflection on what shaped the Bugatti brand and gave it the depth and resilience to survive adversity.