Before Bugatti was resurrected by Volkswagen, and even before Romano Artioli brought the brand back in 1991 with the EB110, two Californians built this car, a 1970s vision of French ultra-luxury.
Mike Sherman and Dave Kent built just two of these custom Bugattis off of 1973 Lincoln Continentals, and yeah, they're really Bugattis. At least, that's what it says on the front –- Kent and Sherman claim to have bought the rights to the Bugatti name sometime in the early 1970s looking to bring back the marquee in the wake of retro rides like Brook's Sevens' Excalibur, Virgil Exner's Duesenberg and the Stutz revivals.
Bugatti's own official history denies there were any production cars built between the 1930s and 1990s, and maybe good for reason. Real Bugattis or not, they don't match the brand's prestige image.
These cars may look like automotive travesties today, but they looked like goldmines to some of the more eccentric automotive designers back when they were new. The Stutz, for instance, sold for four times what a Cadillac cost and it was built up from a Pontiac.
Kent and Sherman showed off their custom Bugattis at Pebble Beach in 1976 with price tags of $64,000, some six times more than the 460c.i. Continentals the cars started off as. While there's none of the engineering artistry that made Bugattis legends and keeps them at the top of the heap today, there's still something amazing about the effort and optimism wrapped up in this 1970s wonder.
Sure, it might have been made by two custom car builders looking to cash in on one of the most storied names in automobilia, but it's a cost-driven travesty with style. See more of the car at its eBay auction, where it has resurfaced from decades of absolute obscurity.
(Hat tip to M. Bonkowski!)