July 21, 2024

Bugatti’s Chief Designer Discusses Creating Automotive Masterpieces

Bugatti revealed the one-off Golden Era last year, a unique Chiron Super Sport created to honor the marque’s two golden epochs: 1909 to 1956 and 1987 to 2023. Bugatti has a rich history of custom creations, spanning from pre-war coachbuilt cars to the Veyron and subsequent modern models. However, the Golden Era stands out as an exceptional piece of automotive art. This Chiron is adorned with hand-drawn sketches of historic Bugatti cars, meticulously created with pencil directly on the bodywork.

During Monterey Car Week last summer, I had the opportunity to speak with Jascha Straub, the design manager of Bugatti’s Sur Mesure customization program, while admiring the Golden Era Chiron up close. Not only did I learn about the car’s intricate creation process, but I also witnessed Straub demonstrate some sample sketches on spare Chiron body panels. The Golden Era Chiron captivated me like no other automobile, evoking a truly emotional response. I spent hours studying the car and marveling at its details. The Golden Era Chiron is an astounding automotive masterpiece, showcasing why Bugatti remains unparalleled in the industry.

Photo: Daniel Golson/Jalopnik

The Sur Mesure division at Bugatti can only accommodate a few cars each year, and the Golden Era Chiron is perhaps one of the most extravagant and ambitious projects to date. A prominent modern Bugatti collector, known for his extensive collection, initiated the Golden Era Chiron project. He desired a vehicle that would pay homage to Bugatti’s rich history as the era of the W16 engine came to an end. The Sur Mesure team was given the creative freedom to come up with ideas, and out of four presented concepts, the customer was immediately drawn to the sketch idea, leading to the development of the Golden Era Chiron.

“It’s a collaborative journey with the customer; we aim for it to be a partnership between Bugatti and the customer, rather than a mere transaction,” said Straub. “It’s like a friendship. As designers, we were delighted that he placed so much trust in us to get it right. He was highly engaged throughout the process. We invited him to the design studio, where he observed us sketching on the doors and provided feedback. He was incredibly supportive and kind through it all.” No pressure!

While Bugatti has produced Veyrons and Chirons with intricate liveries, graphics, and paintwork in the past, the direct art on the bodywork of the Golden Era Chiron was a new challenge. The process of sketching directly on the car’s surface required significant time and effort to perfect. “Initially, we thought we would sketch and then

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