Bugatti has put the future of its one- and few-off projects in the hands of a former intern. 27-year-old Nils Sajonz has been promoted to head of special projects to oversee the development of upcoming models.
Sajonz joined the French carmaker as an intern in 2015, and he wrote his university thesis on a race car developed for autonomous racing. While the prototype never hit the track, executives hired him as a designer after he graduated. He contributed to projects like the La Voiture Noire, the Centodieci, the Divo, and the Bolide.
Working in Bugatti’s design department requires a thorough understanding of its heritage, which includes obscure electric cars and championship-winning single-seaters. Many of the unbuilt projects that Autoblog discovered earlier in 2020 were visibly inspired by the company’s past. Sajonz is still in his 20s, so he views design through a different lens than some of his older colleagues, but he noted he aims to bring new ideas to the team without diluting the key styling cues that have defined most of Bugatti’s cars since its inception over 100 years ago.
“The heritage of the Bugatti brand is not lost on me,” he said in a statement. “It is important that future special projects retain the design identity of the brand, which is simply unrivaled.”
Interestingly, he shed light on why the recently-introduced Bolide track car has X-shaped rear lights. It’s a styling cue that echoes the Bell X-1, which was the first plane to break the sound barrier, but it’s also a reference to the tape that race car drivers used to put over their headlights to ensure the glass didn’t spread on the tarmac if it broke.
Sajonz will work directly under Achim Anscheidt, the company’s head of design. We don’t much about the future special projects he referenced, but we shouldn’t have to wait too long to find out what his team has in store.