Now, you want to hear a little more about Bugatti? You know, we’re not used to thinking of the car as an art form. We’re used to thinking—beautiful cars—there’s a great–looking, maybe a classic car, and so on. But we’re not used to thinking of the car as an art form. But for a long time, considerably longer than we have, the Europeans have recognized it as such. It is an art form. And unfortunately, it is an art form that is in decline. And this is not anything to do with nostalgia, it has to do with the changing world, that the car has become a utilitarian object, pure and simple. It wasn’t always that way.
When Bugatti created his cars it was the day when dukes, duchesses, kings, rajahs, maharajahs, viscounts, field marshals, Ali Khans, people of that kind—when they wanted an automobile, when they wanted a car, they treated the car like the rest of their life. If they wanted a fine home they didn’t just go out and buy something off the plain pipe racks. There would be a fine house, a chateau that would be created for them. Their suits were done that way. If you were a maharajah you would travel to Savoy Row in London. Seven or eight thousand miles by boat and finally you’d arrive at your tailor—Bond Street possibly, and he would create a wardrobe for you. And it would take months. You wouldn’t just go there and get fitted. He would create a wardrobe. And so it would take months of fitting a client, who would stay in a magnificent suite at a hotel in London while he was being fitted. Well, his car was really a carriage—when he was out, his automobile was not a car, really, it was not a means of transportation (it was that of course), it was an extension of his personality, like everything else.