Do you remember the Mustang Bullitt that was released last year? It was a nod to Steve McQueen’s film icon which had just reached its 50th anniversary. It looked Bullitt-y enough, but other than a lick of paint, some additional chrome bits and a bit more horsepower, there was nothing special about it. Not for the price Ford were asking for it, anyway. It’s the same with a recent Bentley that I’m going to move onto after this article. A quick respray and some extra trim pieces.
What Bugatti has done is less of a car unveiling, but more of an education. This is the way you celebrate an anniversary: by reimagining one of the greatest coach-built classics in the world, the Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantic. Only one will be built and at a cool price of £12,000,000, it’s the most expensive new car the world has seen yet.
Ferdinand Piech, former VW boss, will be the lucky new owner of this one-off car, and will soon be able to revel in the plentiful performance its powertrain has to offer. That’s 1500bhp from its 8.0-litre, quad-turbocharged, 16-cylinder engine. And before you start typing something about it being no better than the Chiron, that’s because it is the Chiron underneath. But its elegant rolls and curves have been massaged into a shape reminiscent of the old Type 57.
The front end is extended and the windscreen flows into the side windows without a seam. The rear is more curvaceous and is where the dorsal fin that begins at the tip of the bonnet, carries over and incorporates the centred windscreen wiper and follows the line of the roof, comes to an end.
It is truly art perched on rubber, and while the interior is staying concealed for the time being, I’m only expecting these classic characteristics to continue through to the cabin. Until then, we can enjoy the gloss black carbon fibre body panels, the newly designed headlights and wheels, and the endless line of exhaust pipes above the diffusor. But most importantly, we can pass the time trying to pronounce its name. It’s called the La Voiture Noire, and I’m very sad that I’ll most likely never see it in person.
Here’s what Stephan Winkelmann, Bugatti CEO, had to say about it:
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“Our history is both a privilege and a responsibility – the responsibility for continuing the Bugatti heritage into the future. With “La Voiture Noire”, we are paying homage to our heritage and bringing speed, technology, luxury and aesthetics forward to a new era” before going on to describe the car as “a feast of aesthetics.”