I am often described as an Entrepreneur and a Philanthropist or as the Grandson of Sotirios Bulgari founder of the luxury brand Bulgari and son of Giorgio Bulgari. Today I am still active with the Bulgari brand as Vice-Chairman of Bulgari - LVMH Group. But, I am so much more than that. I am a collector of American vintage Automobiles and lover of Classical and Jazz music. I sit on the Board of Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome and Carnegie Hall in New York. I am also the Founding Father of the newly incorporated Fondazione Nicola Bulgari.

A Lifelong passion for American automobiles from the 1920s to the 1950s.

My passion for American automobiles has accompanied me from my childhood in post-war Italy.

Cars  have always been a point of interest in my family.  My elder brother ,Gianni, was an accomplished race car driver who participated in  the Targa Florio and Daytona, to name a few. I had a completely different path. I never flirted with racing cars. For as long as I can remember, l have loved sedans, which are more dignified. I bought my first when I was five years old, in 1946, while on a trip with my father to Lugano in Switzerland. Italy was very gloomy after the war, but with all the lights, the shops, the Buick taxis, Switzerland was like another world. So I bought a little Dinky Toy of a 1939 Buick, which I still cherish - the first item in my collection.

It is of fundamental importance to remember that in those days after World War II, American cars were the best in the world. The European automobile industry was devastated by the war. Throughout Europe, including Italy, American cars were the most desired and popular automobiles on the market. Nothing else was so reliable, well-built and affordable as the cars produced by the American automotive industry.
I grew up seeing many American automobiles driven by the Allied troops who stayed after the war. All the Embassies had American cars, and the Vatican ran a fleet of American Limousines, some of which are now owned  by Fondazione Nicola Bulgari. 
I was driven by the desire to learn more about the cars of American manufacturers from the 1930s and 1940s.  A period of outstanding innovation, quality and craftsmanship. 

My dream has always been to preserve and save examples of the history of this incredible industrial accomplishment before it disappears, forgotten  like yesterdays news. It has taken me decades to build the current collection which today is split between Allentown, Pennsylvania in the USA and Rome and Sarteano  in Italy. 

I came to Allentown, PA by way of my dear friend Bernard “Bernie” Berman. He was a collector of vintage cars and he provided me with storage and support for my early collecting in the USA. As my collection grew and the needs grew with it I formed a relationship with Keith Flickinger, a car restorer in Allentown, to help shape and maintain the collection. Together we built the the collection and its Allentown home now all part of The NB Center for American Automotive Heritage. 

It has been a prolonged process, more than 25 years, to get to where we are now, with cars in both America and in Italy.  Our wonderfully skilled and dedicated group of restorers not only restore and maintain but train and engage future generations. Today, we offer the possibility to students to gain valuable experience at our NB Center’s own workshops in Rome and Allentown, helping to develop the knowledge, skills and expertise required to maintain vintage vehicles as fully drivable and living machines rather than static museum pieces. The NB Center collection is a functional work of preservation, a celebration, and a legacy for the future.

In the future, my entire collection of American automobiles will be transferred and administered by the newly founded Fondazione Nicola Bulgari (The Nicola Bulgari Foundation), as a center of excellence in the preservation of cars, historical knowledge and the technical skills necessary to keep these cars alive.  

I believe in the words of the Greek political leader Pericles, “What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”  I want the Fondazione Nicola Bulgari to be a catalyst for informing future generations about key aspects of our collective past.