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15 YEARS OF THE BUGATTI VEYRON 16.4

Bugatti's Design Director Achim Anscheidt looks back on six extraordinary models

GINA SAMAROTTO

 

Bugatti’s inimitable Veyron. It’s a world record breaker, a quintessential icon of automotive design, and the first hyper sports car of the modern age. The Veyron’s penchant for hitting speeds in excess of 250mph, and stealthy ability to launch itself from 9 to 100 in a mere 2.5 seconds from zero to 100 in a mere 2.5 seconds all played major roles in Bugatti reaching its own celestial heights fifteen years ago when they debuted the beauty. To this day, the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 is still lauded as one of the greatest technological challenges in the automotive industry.

Bugatti produced three hundred Veyron 16.4 coupés and 150 roadsters - including (very) special models and limited editions - over a 10-year period in the French town of Molsheim. Achim Anscheidt, Bugatti’s Design Director, looks back on his six personal favorites.

 

VEYRON 16.4

PUR SANG (2007)

 

The Pur Sang marked the beginning of Bugatti’s range of special editions and customization program. Limited to five units, the Pur Sang sold out within 45 minutes during the IAA 2007 in Frankfurt. Bugatti opted against a paint finish and reinterpreted the classic Bugatti two-tone design element, with a combination of carbon and aluminum, which was a first in automotive engineering. “Looking back on the Veyron Pur Sang is like remembering the birth of your first child. You never forget such an emotional event. It burns itself deep into your memory,” explains Achim Anscheidt. “I still remember exactly how I walked through the workshop in Molsheim for the first time and how awestruck I was by the technology of the Veyron. I was immensely impressed by its technical material concept. The carbon monocoque with add-on parts for the aluminum front and rear frames fascinated me. I was inspired by the beauty of it.”

 

BUGATTI VEYRON 16.4

SUPER SPORT (2010)

 

Under the strict conditions of Guinness World Records, the world record-breaking car achieved an average top speed of 431.072 km/h, thereby becoming the world's fastest production super sports car. The Veyron 16.4 Super Sport went on the market in July 2010, and the first five "World Record Edition" sold out immediately. "A very special car for me is and will always be the Veyron Super Sport, which we unveiled in 2010. It was the first time that we in the design department had applied the 'form follows performance' approach so systematically," explains Achim Anscheidt. "During one of the high-speed laps on the test track in Ehra-Lessien, I was standing around 10 meters from the track when the Super Sport whizzed past. That was absolutely incredible. It's something I'll never forget."

VEYRON 16.4

GRAND SPORT

L'OR BLANC (2011)

 

Bugatti's desire to create a one-off art car began in early 2011. "I was rather skeptical of this idea at first, as I by no means wanted to emulate automotive works of art such as those by Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, Frank Stella, or Roy Lichtenstein," explains Achim Anscheidt. That summer, in collaboration with the Royal Porcelain Factory (KPM) in Berlin, the Grand Sport L'Or Blanc emerged. The handcrafted, one of a kind, featured high-quality porcelain on and inside the car, another first in the automotive industry, and a striking, artistically abstract paint scheme. True craftsmanship at its finest. "With the L'Or Blanc, we created an extraordinary car," says Anscheidt. The fastest porcelain in the world, L'Or Blanc ("white gold"), was sold to an avid collector.

VEYRON 16.4

GRAND SPORT

VITESSE (2012)

 

“What makes the Grand Sport Vitesse so special for me? Initially we as designers were criticized for the Vitesse not looking powerful enough as a roadster,” explains Achim Anscheidt. “But our customers appreciate the fact that it looks like a coupé when the roof is closed. And when the roof is open, they can enjoy the inimitable feel of a roadster." With 1,200 PS. In 2013, the Grand Sport Vitesse set a new speed record for open-top sports cars, with an officially recorded speed of 408.84 km/h. The World Record Car (WRC) Edition of the Vitesse was limited to eight cars. They sold out immediately. Out of a total of 150 roadster models, 92 Vitesse cars were produced at Bugatti’s headquarters in Molsheim. To this day the Grand Sport Vitesse is the only open-top Bugatti hyper sports cars of the modern times.

VEYRON GRAND SPORT

VENET (2012)

 

In collaboration with the French artist and sculptor Bernar Venet, Bugatti produced another one-of-a-kind, exceptional work of art that combines hypnotizing exterior design with haute couture-inspired interior design. Venet's love of numbers inspired the rust-like color scheme. The color gradient derived from the formula used to calculate the power of the W16 engine and speed. "Developing a car with a famous artist who is in no way connected to car design can be a tricky undertaking. With Bernar Venet, it was a creative process from start to finish. It was fascinating and impressive to be able to witness how he works and how he creates large-scale sculptures. We worked closely together, and ultimately created something truly beyond compare," explains Achim Anscheidt. The world first saw the Grand Sport Venet during Art Basel Miami Beach in December 2012 as part of the Rubell Family Collection. The fascinating sports car is now part of a private collection.

 

"LES LÉGENDES DE BUGATTI" –

ETTORE BUGATTI (2014)

 

The Legends editions cars of Jean-Pierre Wimille, Jean Bugatti, Meo Costantini, Rembrandt Bugatti, Black Bess, and, above all, Ettore Bugatti are truly impressive. And the sixth and final edition of the series based on the Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse is no exception, with a dark blue exposed carbon and hand-polished aluminum exterior and natural cordovan leather interior. In true Bugatti fashion, all 18 units sold out immediately. "Anyone who has ever owned a pair of shoes made from this material will understand the remarkable quality of cordovan leather and appreciate its durability. This was precisely our starting point," explains Achim Anscheidt. "We hope that one day, perhaps even at the Concours d'Elegance in Pebble Beach, the grandchildren of the current owners will sit inside the Ettore Bugatti Legend car and begin to reflect on the beauty of the materials, their aesthetic appeal, and the fact that this car offers value and quality beyond the normal lifespan of an automobile. That is precisely what a Bugatti is, and what it will always embody."

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