Hand-built automobiles inspired by American 1930s coupes, that was the dream of three Australian Lebanese brothers Anthony, George and Gerry Khouri. That dream was given form In 1986 when Gerry began to build these special sports coupes in his garage which led to the brothers incorporating Bufori.
For over 30 years, Bufori has been handcrafting exclusive luxury cars with a timeless classic touch. It’s a name composed from an acronym standing for Beautiful, Unique, Fantastic, Original, Romantic, and Irresistible. LUXUO spoke to Asia’s answer to Bugatti during the lead-up week of Penang RendezVous to get the details on these extraordinary carmakers
Driven by passion and dedication, the Bufori story is one of great achievements and resilience in the midst of setbacks. We interviewed Asia’s most luxurious and exclusive (they hand build 200 – 300 cars a year) car marque to learn just what makes Bufori so special.
When was the BUFORI concept born ? Tell us more about the key three founders ?
BMC: Bufori started in 1986 out of a challenge between friends. Company founder Gerry Khouri wanted to prove that it is still possible to fully build cars by hand like in the Olden days. So he created his own workshop in his garage and built the first Bufori, which took approximately one year. Gerry always had a soft spot for classic cars, especially the 1920’s American classics such as the famous Auburns, Packards and Duesenbergs. He drew inspiration from these iconic automobiles for the styling of his own car. At this time Gerry was only 19 years of age, and his elder brothers Anthony and George supported him and were involved in the management of the company in the early years. Stemming from a family of property developers with Lebanese heritage, the Khouris have a strong sense of entrepreneurship, which certainly fuelled the expansion of Bufori in the past three decades.
BUFORI stands out from any other car manufacturer, tell us more about the brand’s DNA and its uniqueness ?
BMC: People always say that you only need to see one Bufori and you will remember it for the rest of your life, whereas other luxury cars usually don’t stand out from the mass. A Bufori is unique, opulent and a tad flamboyant. The main components of its brand DNA are the distinct contemporary classic styling, the fact that all cars are fully handmade to the highest standard and of course the customisation, which allows every owner to create a vehicle which corresponds to their unique personality.
What have been the latest BUFORI models released ? How bespoke is each model from the proposed car colours to the choice of leathers on offer ?
BMC: Our latest model is the Bufori Geneva Luxury Saloon, which is the first four door car produced in Bufori’s history. It was first launched as a concept at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show and our official production began in 2014. As for every Bufori, the car can be fully customised to suit the preference of our distinguished clientele. Any exterior or leather colour can be achieved. We can match colour samples such as a particular flower or fabric. Customers are only limited by their imagination. Whichever unusual idea they may have, our team will strive to make it a reality. We can include a fridge, a cigar humidor, a coffee machine, a Chinese tea set with sink or even secret compartments into the Bufori Geneva. Every Bufori is a single creation, unique and unrepeatable.
BUFORI has been expanding from Asia to the Middle East & European markets. Let us know what have been the major challenges to overcome ?
BMC: Bufori has been steadily growing its business over the past decades, with cars exported to nearly 50 countries worldwide. The most obvious challenge is to convince people that there is in fact a luxury car which is handmade in Malaysia. When people see the quality and attention to detail on a Bufori, they usually expect it to be built in Europe and don’t believe that it is fully developed, engineered and handmade in a suburb of Kuala Lumpur. Some even visit the factory only to ensure this is true. Another challenge, which is typical of the Middle East, is that customer don’t like to wait for their car to be custom-built. They would rather instantly drive away with a Bufori the same day they make an order.
We trust it is highly rewarding to meet BUFORI owners around the globe. What are the most important global events for you to meet BUFORI car lovers ?
BMC: Bufori tries to participate in global motor shows on a regular basis, but most importantly, we take part in smaller events with a more private crowd such as the Penang RendezVous.