Market Finds: Did This One-Off Bugatti EB110 SS Race Car Ever Reach Its Potential?

Did This One-Off Bugatti EB110 SS Race Car Ever Reach Its Potential?

By Andrew Golseth
January 20, 2016

Photography Courtesy of Artcurial Motorcars

Whether it’s restoring a vintage racer, building a classic weekend driver, or longing to compete in the 24 Hours of Lemons, as gearheads we all have our dreams. Some of us are restricted by time. Others are prohibited by financial limitations or unforeseen expenses. Yet, despite our personal hardships, we collectively love to hear a good automotive dream come true—but sadly, this isn’t really one of those stories.

Even enthusiasts with ample free time and buckets of disposable income can’t guarantee their own ambitions: this 1995 Bugatti EB110 Super Sport carries such a shortfall.

In March 1995, 28-year-old Gildo Pallanca Pastor set the world ice speed record of 296.34 km/h (over 184 mph) in a modified Bugatti EB110 SS on a frozen sea in Finland. With an established technical support from Bugatti’s Campogalliano factory, the Monegasque National made an agreement with Bugatti bigwigs for another task: build an EB110 SS for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

With former Ligier Formula 1 member Daniel Pernoud appointed director of the project, the group set out to build the ultimate EB110 Competizione—as if a stock SS wasn’t superlative enough. The modifications included a carbon fiber front splitter, polycarbonate side windows, FIA roll cage, made-for-the-car BBS magnesium wheels, Magnetti Marelli instrumentation, race buckets with harnesses, quick-disconnect race wheel, and more. The weight savings added up to more than 440-pounds…and the car maintained its all wheel drivetrain.

The team didn’t stop at aero bits and fat trimming alone. Engine number B11001 came with 611 horsepower, but was re-tuned in favor of a wider torque curve. In place of the heavy factory steel units, heat-shedding ceramic brakes were installed to help keep all four tires on the tarmac.

Nicknamed “The American Dream,” the EB110 SS Le Mans-aimed racer was first tested at Watkins Glen, Sears Point, Suzuka Circuit, Zhuha, and Daytona in the IMSA series. The Bugatti performed well and earned worthiness for the 1996 Le Mans—Gildo’s end goal, at last.

Despite Bugatti’s bankruptcy, “The American Dream” was funded for its destined endurance. Accomplished Formula 1 driver Patrick Tambay was selected to drive for qualifying. Unfortunately, the racing veteran crashed the Bugatti during a qualifying lap. The team was unable to repair the damages in time, disappointingly giving the car a “non-starter” entry. Thankfully, the Monaco Racing Team stocked up on various spare parts when Bugatti went bankrupt, allowing the crew to make repairs. Reconstructed, the fallen Le Mans racer competed in a BPR GT circuit at Dijon—its final race.

So, there you have it. Money, determination, and resources weren’t quite enough to make Gildo Pallanca Pastor’s dream come true, but it’s not all doom and gloom.

Heck, this immaculate race-ready EB110 Super Sport is even street legal and currently registered in Gildo’s hometown—care to run the Monaco Grand Prix Circuit after a nightcap?

– Built for the IMSA series and 24 Hours of Le Mans
– Accomplished 1990s-era GT racecar
– Fastidiously maintained and preserved

Quad-turbocharged 3.5-liter V12 producing 611 horsepower with custom factory race tuning, capable of 355 km/h, ceramic brakes, 440-pounds lighter than standard EB110 SS, and fitted with a number of race aero and safety equipment.

Vehicle information
Chassis no.: ZA9BB02EOSCD39044
Engine no.: B11001

Auction house: Artcurial
Estimate: €800,000 – €1,200,000 ($875,000 – $1,320,000 USD)
Price realized: Auction on February 5

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Luka Eddie
Luka Eddie
7 years ago

@Guitar Slinger…
I can see why you prefer EB110 to the “AudiGatti”, but I cannot understand all the “diss” about the Veyron… the car was extensively tested and private track or not, the numbers are verified.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
7 years ago

Did this race ready EB110 ever even come close to its potential ? ‘ Fraid not . Fact is it was part and parcel responsible for the Italian revival Bugatti’s eventual bankruptcy …. leaving a trail of broken dreams and hearts behind in the process [ despite the Veyron’s excessive performance number yet to be verified outside of VW’s private test track in my opinion the EB110 was and still is the better car by far … an opinion shared by many who’ve driven both .. and ohh the promise of the EB112 that was on the horizon before the bottom line turned very red ]

But … at least the Italian revival of the moniker gave it the good ole college try by going public ……. entering into the financial black hole known as motor sports … unlike the VW/AudiGatti version which has from day one relied on marketing hype and test results from a track no other maker is allowed to use [ and the Veyron is specifically designed for ] in order to prove its performance claims