There's little question that Bugatti makes some of the fastest, most powerful hypercars ever, and we would consider ourselves immensely fortunate to have to choose which one we'd want. But if push came to shove, we would be tempted to go with this one right here.
It's a 1993 EB110 SS, the lighter, more powerful, and altogether more extreme version of the pre-VW Group era. Instead of “only” 550 horsepower in the EB110 GT, the SS model packed 604 hp, providing world-beating performance capabilities for its time.
Now, at this point, you may be thinking that the new Chiron – and even the Veyron that came before – pack a more powerful punch. And you're right, of course, as 600 is less than a thousand, any way you slice it. But the EB110 is lighter. Over a thousand pounds lighter, in fact: where the Chiron weighs around 4,400 pounds (almost as much as an Audi Q7), and the Veyron over 4,100 lbs (more than a Q5), the EB110 SS tips the scales at less than 3,300 lbs (barely more than an Audi TT).
With a (relatively) small-capacity 3.5-liter quad-turbo V12, the EB110 SS boasted a specific output of 172 horsepower per liter – better than the Veyron (even the Super Sport) and bested only by the Chiron (with its massive 1,479 hp) nearly a quarter-century later. Little wonder, since the EB110 was the brainchild of Romano Artioli, the same man who birthed the Lotus Elise, one of the lightest sports cars on the market.
The bottom line is that the EB110 SS was a relative featherweight, a precision scalpel to the leather-handled sledge hammers that followed. Put it up against either of its successors on a technical race track (without the long high-speed straights you'd find at Monza or La Sarthe) and we'd bet dollars to donuts the 110 would more than hold its own. Michael Schumacher was impressed enough to buy one, and that speaks volumes about it.
Unfortunately Bugatti only made 139 examples of the EB110 before it collapsed under the weight of Artioli's ambitions, and only 36 of those were SS models like this one. But even in such rare company, this one stands apart. It's a rare factory prototype, assured its place in the history books among the most notable vehicles ever to wear the Bugatti name. RM Sotheby's (for which Tim Scott captured these images) expects it will sell for between €850,000 and €1.1 million (or about $1-1.3m) when the gavel drops in Paris on February 7.