Have you ever wondered where the Bugatti horseshoe grille originated?

The prominent horseshoe-shaped grille has been a signature of every Bugatti since the Type 35 in the 1920s. But despite Ettore Bugatti’s well-documented love of horses, the grille actually derives from an egg…

Did you know Ettore Bugatti was obsessed with horses, and not just the ones beneath the bonnets of his innovative cars? Not only did he ride and breed prized thoroughbreds, but he also designed special harnesses and even a complex brass door-opening mechanism that could be operated by the horses’ mouths, allowing him to ride around his Molsheim headquarters on horseback. 

But while many believe that the signature Bugatti grille, which has graced each and every model since the Type 35, was inspired by the shoes on his horses feet, it was in fact derived from the egg, a shape that Ettore’s father Carlo, an accomplished furniture maker, used frequently in his lavish chairs, tables, goblets, and other pieces. 

From the Type 13 of 1912 onwards, the artistically-minded Bugatti’s cars featured a full oval-shaped grille, before the bottom edge was flattened on the Type 35 for better aerodynamics and positioning on the front axle. It grew broader over time, necessitated by the need to feed more air to the larger engines mounted behind, but it never lost its artistic beauty. And today, whether it’s a Veyron, a Chiron, or a Divo, it’s the distinctive grille to which your eyes are first drawn. And now you know its oval-shaped origin. Happy Easter! 

Photos: Bugatti 

You can find a selection of classic and modern Bugattis listed for sale in the Classic Driver Market.