There are places which, once in a while, find a way back to my life.
One of these places is full of energy, there were volcanos there which look dormant but they’re actually lava.
They were volcanos of architecture, projects, engines, test rooms, enthusiasm bordering with craziness, frenzy, mystery
They designed futuristic cars there, and there was a racetrack around those warehouses, a road, to test them and make the wheels screech, as much as you wanted to. On that little road, there is still a small warning sign which leaves you stunned: “warning, high-speed cars being tested”. And that was no joke!
I’m talking about the Bugatti Automobili warehouse, the blue one, which you can see from the motorway in Campogalliano.
It is still nice today, despite the leprosy of the rust on those shop pipes, those hatchways.
And the rain falls inside, on the assembly chains, in the test rooms, in the mega-offices which saw things which only history has preserved.
But let’s take a step backwards. On that day, the methane Bugatti EB 110 was being tested, the blue one. It was furiously “galloping” around the warehouse. I remember that I photographed as a challenge, only because it was forbidden. It was a top secret prototype.
The years went by. The factory was shut down. The plant was abandoned. The designers and mechanics got lost, a diaspora of knowledge.
Bugatti still speaks French, and we’re left with the regret, the sense of a real “shame!”.
Ettore Arco Isidoro Bugatti, an Italian emigrant, founded Bugatti in 1909 in Molsheim, in Alsace. The brand is the unmistakable “horseshoe”. A series of events, including the death of his son Jean in a car accident and World War II lead to the decline and the transfer of the company Hispano-Suiza. In 1987, the Italian entrepreneur Romano Artioli purchases the brand and founds the Bugatti Automobili Spa. In 1991 the Bugatti EB 110 was presented, in occasion of the 100th anniversary of Enzo Bugatti’s birth. The carbon fibre chassis, made by the French company Aérospatiale was innovative. The Italian experience was short and ended in 1995. From 1998 the Bugatti brand became part of the Volkswagen group, and it went back to being French, with Bugatti Automobiles.
However, dreams are hard to forget, when they’re deep. And today, you can go back to the Blue Factory.
You can visit it, even though, it seems more like a pilgrimage of fans and believers, malgrè tout.
Once again, I became excited seeing a blue Bugatti EB 110, just like the one which I used to photograph.
I remember that on the assembly chain there were six of them, one after the other, and the workmen all around them.
Today it’s back, a never hoped-for apparition, which is always there, where it was born. But this time it’s in white. From Paris, just like a great lady. And she’s luxurious, aggressive but sweetly so, with elegance.
Horse power and extra power, nothing is being exhibited, with class. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.
I had the luxury of being able to decide and I took it there, to that corner of the warehouse, to frame it in the same way that I did in those long-lost days. Wide-angle lens and go, some rhetoric never goes amiss.
It’s raining but what is wrong with that? Do cars only drive when it’s sunny? And I like raindrops, they fit in well, they taste of life. Today’s life.
Hand in hand, we went back to that production line, which is now deserted. Empty spaces, silence, but the spirit is still in the air, in the soul.
Hours after hours to photograph, look how nice it is like this, and like that, you would never stop.
And now? We have the cake, but we’re missing the cherry on the icing.
The owners, two young people, looked at the testing race track, do you want to have a drive?
Of course, and it’s finally back to life. It was about time!
Author: Angelo Rosa for International Classic © 2018
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