Ettore Bugatti spent the early years of his life around Northern Italy. This is where he showed remarkable creativity and a strong sense of engineering while designing his first motor cars and modified bikes. At the age of 20, in 1900, Bugatti finished his first car called the Type 2. It was a light racing chassis which sported a four cylinder engine having 12 horsepower.
After receiving favorable review from the automotive community, the Type 2 attracted attention from many manufacturers. Thus, over the following eight years, Bugatti designed race cars for De Dietrich, Mathis and Deutz.
While working as a manager at Deutz, Bugatti privately designed a very small car at his residence at Cologne, Germany in 1908. Named Petit Pur-Sang, French for small thoroughbred, this voiturette was Bugatti’s vision of an ideal product. Unlike the large racecars Ettore designed for Deutz, the Petit Pur-Sang had a lightweight chassis and lightweight engine measuring only 1.2 liters. Such construction would set the standard for all Bugatti designs.
Around 1910, Bugatti formed his own company, Ettore Bugatti Automobiles. With the help of Ernest Frederich, a factory was setup in Molsheim, Alsace which was part of Germany. After the First World War, Alsace joined France and most Bugattis thereafter were finished in French Racing Blue.
The first product to come from Molsheim was the Type 13 which was based on the lightweight engineering principles of the Petit Pur-Sang.
Surprisingly, the Pur-Sang prototype seen above is the original car. After being preserved by Bugatti through the wars, the car was discovered in Bordeaux. The current owner is General William Lyon of Newport Beach, California.