Ettore Bugatti’s one-off pasta maker might be the ultimate kitchen tool

Amid all the seven-figure sales of concours-quality classics that cross the auction block at Amelia Island in 2020, this one-of-one Bugatti may be the best value. Ettore Bugatti’s personal pasta machine, custom-built by Bugatti fabricators to replace a broken French machine, is estimated to bring $5000–$10,000 at Bonham’s sale on March 5. Sure, it’s spendy for a kitchen appliance, but it’s not bad for an odometer-less Bugatti that can be used every day. Oil changes are much simpler, too.

The sturdy, cast-aluminum machine is made to clamp to a horizontal work surface like a table or countertop, allowing the extruded pasta shapes to hang free and remain separated. Rather than a traditional crank, Ettore had a Type 46 steering wheel fitted to the machine—which does sort of resemble a steering box.

Some say Ettore found turning a steering wheel in one direction tedious, and that’s why Bugatti never fielded a NASCAR team. Does this pasta machine make a better case for only turning left?

The three dies included with the pasta machine look to be a fine spaghetti, a thicker, hollow bucatini, and a tubular rigatoni. Honestly, we were hoping for some coil-spring-shaped fusilli or cavatappi. And no radiatori or rotelle?

An epicure with a fondness for style, Ettore also had custom flatware engraved with his initials. We couldn’t help but think that Ettore’s initials, with a reversed E linked to a B, would have made a sauce-holding champion if turned into a pasta extrusion. If we were designing our own pasta dies, we’d definitely be tempted to go with a custom shape—but then again, we’re impressed by Star Wars shapes in our mac and cheese, so perhaps we should sit this one out and leave this pasta machine for a true gourmet.

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