Lightweight Aesthetics - A car for Jean Bugatti

Feb 18, 2012
Author: Marian Hilgers
Photos: Marian Hilgers
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Degree project by Marian Hilgers (

Word to the author:

In the Volkswagen company Bugatti stands for the automobile peak: pure luxury, outstanding driving performance and superlatives everywhere. Bugatti rises the image of the whole company. I for myself am not really happy with the two tons of luxury you fin in a Bugatti Veyron, which is only fast on the drag strip. so I wanted to look out for alternatives: how could a modern Bugatti could look today?

To get some inspiration and indication from where I could start to build up something new I looked into the past, how Bugatti began and how it became successful: so I came up with the following scenario: 'what if Jean Bugatti didn't die?'

Jean was one of the first real car designers. he was the son of Ettore, who founded the brand in 1909. Ettore established the brand with the success of his superlightweight race cars like the type 13 brescia or the type 35. Though as the number of clients rose up, they wanted him to produce bigger engines, and more luxurious cars. That is why he finally came up with mega large coaches like the type 41 royale which wasn't a success at all. Ettore was in some points just too narrow-minded and conventional as he maintained the coach form for his cars and didn't want to use compressors because it 'destroys the beauty of an engine'.
Jean was much more open-minded and consequent in those points. when he took up the leadership of the company in the early 30s, he had lots of success with his radical and innovative concepts. He brought back the success on the race tracks and designed the first successful race cars with a complete body going over the wheels (type 57c and g). Though on the peak of his success he died by a car accident testing one of his race cars on the street. two weeks later the second world war began and as a consequence the company went down and never recuperated from this shock.

So I though: when Jean Bugatti didn't die in this car accident and was still responsible for the further development of the brand, maybe it would have developed in a totally different way?

Nowadays we see Bugatti as a "myth", as tradition and, linked to the history, as something special. But if the company would have been always there as a successful brand in race sports we would probably see it from a totally different point of view! It would probably be a very innovative brand with a very high technological standard. It might take part successfully in race sports and link its supercars technology with the race sports.
If Bugatti was always there we wouldn't think about tradition that much when we see a Bugatti, we would think about the fastest and most modern race cars that mess up the whole league of supercars over and over again, like Ettores cars did once and like Jeans cars did it once again.

In my scenario Bugatti's of today would profit from technical innovation, a link to the race track, the mix of function and aesthetics, consequence in lightweight constructions, efficient in every part, mechanical precision and - of course - outstanding performances, but this time on a race track. My design handles those points should be quite contrary to the Bugatti Veyron - but still Bugatti.

So I came up with a consequent lightweight supercar for three passengers where the driver sits in the middle (comparable to the Mclaren F1). the car is 4.62m long, 1,10m flat and 1,96m wide.

The technical innovation of the EB.LA is the lightweight construction. I wanted to create a body surface which is formed  in a way that it is so stabile itself, that you need much less material for the 'frame' underneath. So the body and the frame (totally out of cfk) is the same part. Therefore I searched for fix points such as the wheelhouses and the roof and built up straight bars between those points, like the framework of a bicycle frame for example. The body surfaces are bent around those bars and like that you can achieve a big stability for the surface itself, especially in the bar's directions.
You can think about the form of the 'panton'-chair which also consists of one surface only but is still stabile enough that someone can sit on it easily. So all the fillets of the body are running straight between two points which generate a radical framework for which you need about 50% less material as for a conventional body and monocoque construction.

To not break through this cage the door of the car is where there already is a hole in the monocoque: at the windshield. A little part of the roof and the whole windshield with the two wings of the dashboard open to the front. Like that you have to step over a 55cm bar to get in, but if you are once in you can easily stand in the car which makes the entrance much easier, especially if you have to crawl into the middle as in the Mclaren F1. So there is no door at the side of the car where the frame has to go around - no, it can be straight!

The drivetrain is also based on lightweight constructions. it consists of a supercharged four-cylinders-engine which is supported by a hybrid module out of a flywheel and two electric engines. the whole drivetrain generates a power of about 600hp, which should be enough for only 750kg to power.

At the rear there are two fins making sure the car stays stabile in cross-winds, which are aesthetically quite similar to the grill. Most of the bars and fillets point on those two parts, which optically stretch the car and hold together the whole body.





3D-renders Bugatti EB.LA:

  • edwardtseng 18th February 2012 | 20:08
    Seems copied from Nikita Bridan's project. The concept is the same, and the grille, overall proportion, and even the fin at the rear is a ripoff of Nikita's.
  • IBRIDAN 18th February 2012 | 21:32
    Yes i totally agree with you Edward. Too many coincidences to be just chance - Concept, Brand, Proportion, Detail placements, even details like the heat-sinks and flying buttresses. Ridiculous!!!!

    This guy needs to take this down or give the credit where its due! Nikita Bridan!!!!
  • Hoanggy 19th February 2012 | 18:10
    Edward is always the guy with sharp eyes. The worst thing is that he copy Nikita's inspiration and concept behind the design.
  • Base 20th February 2012 | 22:14
    Okay straight up, this concept IDEA is a complete rip off of Nikita's concept. I would personally be pissed but Nikita is a better designer and will come up with new ideas. I can see where some of the design cues are taken from Nikita's project but the final design is different. Some of the details are the same for the final design.

    With this said, Nikita's project kills this one. This guys final design has a lot of issues. At first glance it looks great and the finish product is executed in a very pro way. But the bone line splits the surface 50-50 and the weird thing is that floating panels are supposed to give the feeling of visual lightness, but the side view looks just a tad heavy. Plus you would need to have an iron core to seat the way the occupants are packaged.

    Unfortunately Nikita published his work online. Once you show your work to the public you have approximately 12 months to protect it. What I feel personally is that a good designer will continue to move on no matter how amazing his design is. Designers should ALWAYS make worthy design and continue to evolve those ideas so when people like this copy, the next best thing is in the works. Hands down, unless you create something completely unconventional and new, everything has been done and recycled, even in Nikitas project (splitter, extruded forms and overlapping body language, etc..

    Just move on and be professional. The two designers should of contacted each other and made this less like high school drama. Think about real studios people, this happens all the time. Even when something seems new and super fresh, most of the time is is a reinterpretation of what has been done.
  • bunny 23rd February 2012 | 14:26
    Reinterpretation? More like overlaid and copied
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