If you are looking for a version of Bugatti’s recent habitat, you are in for a big surprise. Far from the Dubai casinos, with their silicon implants and botox injections, there is place where Bugatti keeps its most precious asset. Its soul.
The place is teaming with racers, eager to throw their beloved cars up the hill, hugging the bends on the tiny strip of asphalt separating the steep banks from the ravine. Tight turns, big elevation changes, trees, flowers and tall grass. Cars disappear behind the trees only to emerge on the other side, the sound echoes in the valley as they brake hard for the hairpin and throw themselves at the sweeping esses.
Back in the paddock, drivers tweak the engines, as the cars relax in the shade of the orchard. Some brought a motorhome, others pitched their tents beside the cars. It’s a very unsuspecting environment. Car culture at its purest. You could be forgiven for not noticing what are those cars having to sweat for a living on a weekend like this one. It all takes a very surreal turn when you realise many of these cars are Bugattis. Yes, classic racing Bugattis. Yes, like the ones selling for over 2 million pounds at the auctions. If you can find one.
The magic thing about the Bugatti Owners Club Prescott Hillclimb Track is that, here, all Bugattis look and feel like kids. Kids on a summer camp. From the century old Brescias, to the purebred Type 35s and all the way to the otherwise intimidating Veyrons and Chirons, the place transforms them into the eternal babies full of joy. They always were that way, deep in their hearts.
Now that you know what the special power of this place is, you would not be surprised to learn that, on their 90th celebration, the Bugatti Owners Club received quite a few visitors from other brands. Perhaps some were attracted by the magic of the place, clenching their thirst at this fountain of eternal youth. French cars naturally joined the party. Bugattis are bleu, of course.
You may think that Italian cars were a natural addition to the party, given Ettore’s origin. That certainly is part of the story, but we believe it’s not just that Transalpine connection that unites Bugatti with Alfa and the Italian exotic brands. It’s the attitude. Alfas race with gusto on their old rivals’ track, maybe with a little nostalgia for the old days when they divided the wins between them.
Of course, Bugatti made more than just its illustrious race cars. Over on the other side of the track, a gathering of street cars lined up in the orchard. These cars are not trailer queens, the owners drive them and enjoy them on public roads. This a far cry from the owners who put less miles on their cars than their parking valets. The people here are fully aware that the pleasure that a great car can give you far exceeds the accumulated value it gains by spending its life in a climate controlled cave.
It’s such a symbiotic relationship between the track and the cars. Every curve on the track can be found somewhere on the cars, from the fender shaped Orchard Corner to the delicate esses, to the most iconic Bugatti shape of them all, the horseshoe, made famous by the iconic radiator grille. As strong as that relationship is, there is an even deeper one. It’s the people who call it home that make it special. Whether they drive a Lotus, a Delahaye or an Alfa, they come together at this track to live according to the ideals that brought greatness to Bugatti. And in doing so, they created their own masterpiece, simply called the Bugatti Owners Club.