One of my youngest son’s favorite cars is the Bugatti Veyron and I understand why. At a starting price of nearly $1.7 million, this brand brings some very unique and distinguishing features like an optional diamond inserted speedometer cluster, a W16 engine and 10 radiators to keep the car cool. Here’s a little history about the company and its founder, Ettore Bugatti.
Bugatti was a native of Italy and in 1909 established Automobiles E. Bugatti in Molsheim, Germany, which became a French territory in 1919. Born into an artistic family, by age 17, Ettore created the first Bugatti, the Type 1. After years of design and being credited with the most technologically advanced cars for its time, Bugatti cars would lead the racing circuits, winning over 400 victories by 1925. Replying to an early buyer who complained about the brakes of his Bugatti, Ettore responded quickly by saying “I make my cars to go, not stop!”
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The model Veyron was named after a race car driver who drove a Bugatti to win the famous 24 hour auto race LeMans in 1939. Veyron later became a road test driver for Bugatti. With today’s Bugatti Veyron, if you could “test drive” and push its engine endurance to max speed, you would be refilling the 26.4 gallon gas tank in just 12 minutes, which breaks down to 4.2 miles a minute or 253 mph. The high speeds powered by a 16 cylinder quad turbo engine capable of producing 1500 horsepower require special tires to sustain such speeds. The following is not a typo: each tire will cost $10,000.00. Multiply by four and there went $40,000.00.
It’s well known that engineers use aerodynamic principles that utilize speed to design an airplanes lift. Bugatti has done just the opposite. At high speeds, the rear of the car is forced down causing the front of the car to lift. To cope with the high speed lift, Bugatti utilizes variable aerodynamics, which compensates for lift or down force in unison to keep it level on the road, a feature you will not find on a 1972 Plymouth Valiant.
Today, Bugatti is owned by Volkswagen and is headquartered on the Bugatti property located in France. The very shape of their assembly plant is the company’s emblem, designed by Bugatti’s artistic father.
Jason Paynter is a classic car appraiser, collector and unabashed enthusiast. He is also author of the book, Drop, Throttle, Oversteer: Collecting & Investing in Classic Cars, available at Amazon. He lives in Louisville, KY with his beautiful wife and three sons who are (heaven help him) of driving age. Jason is also a certified appraiser and would be more than happy to assist in helping valuate your collection or answer any of your questions about cars. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.