If you follow the Internet, you’ve probably saw a news story about Bugatti offering yet another special edition of the Veyron to help them get rid of remaining stock. This time, the Veyron Vitesse comes with special paint and named after someone called “Elisabeth Junek”. And while Veyron special editions are pretty boring stuff, the lady in question is a true heroine, albeit one you’ve likely never heard of. And since she was one of my country’s greatest motoring legends, I feel obliged to tell Best&Brightest more about her.
Back in the 1950s, when Europe was still rebuilding after World War Two, Ford Motor Company and General Motors decided to show the world what a cost-no-object car was like in the American idiom. First Ford introduced the 1956 Continental Mark II, hand assembled down to the component level, that was said to lose $1,000 on each and every $10,000 Mark II sold. Adjusting for inflation, that loss is the equivalent about $8,600 in 2013 money. A year later, GM started selling the Motorama influenced Eldorado Brougham, at an even steeper $13,074. Motor City lore has it that not only was the Eldo Brougham thousands more expensive than the Mark II, its loses exceeded those of the Mark II by thousands of dollars as well. Now the Sanford C. Bernstein brokerage has looked at how much money various European automakers have lost on particular cars since 1997.
TTAC alum Justin Berkowitz, over at Car and Driver, reports that a government crackdown on tax cheats has resulted in the Italian market for Italian supercars tanking. Ferrari sales went down 50% from 2011 to 2012. Maserati’s Italian sales have dropped 80% since 2009. Lamborghini is apparently selling no more than five cars a month in all of their home country.
If you want a modern Bugatti that’s more exclusive than the Veyron, and cheaper too, here’s your chance.
I didn’t drive the Bugatti Veyron, but here you are reading my review. So how exactly did an automotive journalist with zero manufacturer connections, and no income (at the time) aside from menial paychecks as a drum instructor get the nerve to write a Veyron review?
“SOLD…to the gentleman by the staircase!” bellowed the auctioneer, before everyone applauded the winner of the night’s ultimate charity prize: a trip to Bugatti central for a factory tour and a full day of seat time in the Veyron. As I stood next my brother, who was still in shock from being that high bidder, I knew he’d once again give TTAC a taste of the high performance combined with the brilliantly decadent. But, over a year later, the good Dr. Mehta is still busy beating cancer into remission. And we’re running out of time before the Veyron slips into the history books.
Luckily, he was kind enough to being me along.
And you thought it was over. You thought that, with Top Gear’s “Car Of The Decade” trophy accompanying Ferdinand Piëch’s “Ego Of The Decade” award in the Volkswagen trophy case, Bugatti could move on and let tiny companies based in sheds and garages fight over who has the world’s fastest “production” car. But no. That’s not how things work in Wolfsburg… er, Mollsheim.
A few years ago, if I had told you that there would be a production car available with 1000 horses, you’d have probably said “Get lost, Cammy!” Well, in this age of electric cars, hybrids, clean diesels and climate change (it’s a crock of what, Mr Lutz?), what if I were to tell you that there is a production car with 1200 hp on the horizon? What would you say, then? Hold the straight-jacket … (Read More…)
As the Beijing motor show draws to an end on Monday, the cars on display will be rolled on car carriers and shipped back home. All except for 40 luxury cars with a combined value of $22m. They have been snapped-up at the show, they will remain in China, and their makers can save the money for the long trip home. (Read More…)
I know that they have to cut the car open to take the engine out. To make an engine in that configuration, you know, it doesn’t go around corners. When we did the race in Abu Dhabi, we beat it off the line so many times that the film crew was getting frustrated because the outcome was supposed to be for the Bugatti to win. So we had to do that whole thing about ten times before it managed to get off the line cleanly and catch us up. Because every time they dropped the clutch it bogged down and we were gone.
McLaren’s Ron Dennis lays into the Bugatti Veyron at the Middle East launch of his firm’s new MP4-12C [Arabian Business via Wired Autopia]. What Dennis leaves out is that the Bugatti has a (computerized, sequential-shift) automatic transmission, so it’s difficult to know what he means by “they dropped the clutch.” Besides, it sounds like the former Formula 1 boss is spewing bile, rather than objectively critiquing the Veyron… which there’s plenty of room for.
With Maybach folding up its tent after an uninspired campaign to unseat Rolls Royce at the top of the luxury sedan heap, only Bentley and Bugatti remain as potential challengers to the Phantom (Geely doesn’t count). Bentley has always had a slight inferiority complex when comparisons to Rollers come up, and though the new Mulsanne offers an alternative to the Phantom, it won’t replace it as the undisputed champion of four-door luxury. No, it seems as though the Volkswagen Group is trying to bracket BMW’s Phantom, with the Mulsanne nipping at its heels, and the Bugatti Galibier concept indicating what on might purchase in order to put all the Phantom owners in their place. It might not be as purely luxurious as the Rolls, but the Bugatti name, the 800 HP and the Galibier’s dramatically opulent looks have the potential to yield an icon capable of unsettling the high-end, four-door order of things. But will it be built? According to Autocar‘s Bugatti sources:
It will be made one way or the other.. We’re the smallest VW Group member and there’s a recession on so we’ve not been a priority. But we can expect to announce something by the summer; it looks good, people like it and it wouldn’t be a great financial commitment in the context of the Group.
But evo Magazine’s Harry Metcalfe says it ain’t so. The Galibier, he says, is over, and with it Bugatti’s ambition to build the world’s most powerful and expensive four-door.
“Just because you have money doesn’t mean you’re smart” has a new poster boy. According to The AP :
A man blamed a low-flying pelican and a dropped cell phone for his veering his million-dollar sports car off a road and into a salt marsh near Galveston. The accident happened about 3 p.m. Wednesday on the frontage road of Interstate 45 northbound in La Marque, about 35 miles southeast of Houston.
How many Bugatti drivers live in Lufkin?
The “barn find” of a 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante, that was thought to fetch $8.7m, finally went under the hammer at Bonham’s in Paris. According to the BBC, “it eventually sold for 3,417,500 euros.” At today’s rate, that’s $4.4m . . . about half. Even barn finds don’t keep their residual value as much as they used to.
Following the Scottsdale auction season, dealers at the top end of the collector car market breathed a collective sigh of relief. As the the New York Times headline put it, the auction action proved that prices “Soften but Don’t Crash.” Maybe so, but there’s a hidden dynamic involved. “People tend to forget that the auction houses work just as hard at reducing the sellers’ price as they do on getting the buyers to pay it,” says Mike Nicholl, proprietor of Las Vegas’ Classic and Collectible Cars. In other words, the results simply reaffirm that car sellers’ willingness to take a hit currently matches buyers’ bargain-hunting budgets. The General Manager of Lamborghini Bergen County (NJ) agrees. He says pre-owned inventory levels are up, but the deals are still going down. “More people are hurting, looking to get out of their cars,” Alan Greenfield says. “But the lower prices are attracting new buyers.” Despite the market’s recent diet of anti-gravity pills, or at least away from the people dispensing same, there are signs that the high end market is headed for collapse.