Sleek, unique, antique—the vehicles produced by Italian auto outfit Bugatti
in the early 20th century are among the most dazzlingly luxurious ever made, lusted after for their curved, speed-freak bodies and awesome engine power. Company founder Ettore Bugatti (who set up shop in 1909 in Molsheim, France) came from a family of creatives: his father, Carlo, designed Art Nouveau furniture and jewelry, while his grandfather, Giovanni, was an architect and sculptor. Though the young Bugatti ultimately absconded from art school to verse himself in the finer points of engineering, his heritage is evident in an array of his visionary designs, from nifty racers like the Type 35 (which won the 1926 Grand Prix World Championship) to the monolithic Bugatti Royale—one of the largest cars ever made. The company foundered after Bugatti’s death in 1947, yet the original cars fetch staggering prices at auction: in 2009, a 1937 Bugatti Type 57S discovered at the home of a deceased doctor sold for £3,043,293 ($4,696,265). The modern enterprise, Bugatti Automobiles SAS, was purchased by Volkswagen
in 1998, and continues to produce phenomenally fast sports cars such as the Bugatti Veyron (one model comes with a leather interior courtesy of Hermès). For his new book Vroom! Vroom!
(published this month by Steidl
), the venerated fashion photographer Koto Bolofo
—a long-time Bugatti enthusiast—travelled to Buckinghamshire, UK, to document the artistry of Dutton Ltd
, a workshop specializing in restoring vintage Bugattis to their former glory. Here, an exclusive portfolio of Bolofo's nostalgia trip.