For years teenage boys have laughed at the name Bugarra – a small town in Valencia Province in Spain. Some schoolboys could never see the funny side of the name – it was too close for comfort.
But to motoring enthusiasts, Bugarra is less about bottom and more about top. Top cars that is. Just as Ferraris are manufactured in Ferara, Bugartis of course hail from Bugarra.
Etore Bugarti (meaning Etore the Bugarran) introduced his revolutionary three-wheeler in 1914.
“It was the only way to get my Nana around town,” he wrote in his 1947 autobiography Bugarra Me. “The trouble was, we hoped to win the Le Mans 24-hour race but it just wasn’t fair – other vehicles showed up with four wheels.”
Bugarra itself is a Mecca to the three wheeler that has become synonymous and of course eponymous with the town.
José’s Epanada Joint not only serves the tastiest brisket sandwiches in Bugarra, it also has the only surviving collection of Bugarti wall calendars replete with scantily clad Spanish ladies showing their deep affection for the three wheelers.
I arrived in Bugarra in time for the annual wheelie competition. Dozens lined the streets in a mass show of support for the classic car. People came from as far as neighboring Pedralba for the event.
A 1934 Bugarti Najer 1,000 revved, and I use the term loosely, beginning its uphill odyssey in front of the parish church. Destination José’s Epanada Joint – of course. Zero to 60 in just 27 seconds, eclipsing its previous best of 32 seconds. As the roadster hit 47 MPH it’s front wheel rose, almost imperceptibly off the ground as judges looked on in awe. Or was that Ahh?
“And there goes the Bugarti,” was all that Murray Walker could tell the viewing audience back home in his breathtaking live TV commentary. “Blink and you miss it. Classic.”
A procession of more recent models followed the Najer getting increasingly slow.
“Safety reigns,” explained Etore’s great grandson Koristor Bugarti.
That has become Bugarti’s motto and strongest selling point. No vehicle travels at more than 30 MPH.
This brilliant marketing plan means the fastest growing section of the population in the West has become Bugarti’s biggest market – the elderly.
“98% of our buyers live in homes for the elderly,” said Koristor. “And of course the elderly are the wealthiest as everyone knows, so the cars retail at maximum prices.”
You can read all about Etore, Koristor, Murray Walker and the others at the Bugarti Museum of Bugarra. (Open 9-5 and then serves cocoa for older people until lights out at 6:45 pm.)
More details on Bugarra at www.BugarraNotherPensioner.co.es and for more about Bugarra visit travelopediak.com