Bugatti is an iconic name in the world of motorsports. Since its conception in 1909, Bugatti has been known for designing beautiful vehicles that also pack a punch on the racetrack.
Bugatti is at the forefront of design artistry, and the 19 Million Dollar La Voiture Noire is no exception. To understand this stunning design, it’s important to understand the spirit of Bugatti.
The companies collision of artistry and design is traced back to its founder, Ettore Bugatti. Originally from Milan, he was born into a very artistic family. Ettore Bugatti took that creativity and channeled into designing motor vehicles. The virtuoso was only 17 years old when he constructed the Bugatti Type 1. And he went on to found the original Bugatti company nine years later.
Founded in 1909, Bugatti vehicles are known for two things – stunning design and elegant craftmanship. The meticulous attention to detail even comes down to seemingly minor details like engine blocks. The hand scraped engine blocks are so flat they don’t require a gasket to seal. This attention to detail is what set Bugatti apart from its competition.
Triumph and Tragedy – The Rise and Fall of the Original Bugatti Company
In 1909 Ettore Bugatti both founded his groundbreaking new car company and had a son, Jean Bugatti. Jean would follow in his fathers footsteps at the company. At 23 Jean Bugatti had completed most of the design work for the Type 41 Royale and later the legendary Type 57SC Atlantic. To this date, there are only three Type 57SC that are still in existence, making them some of the most valuable vehicles on the planet.
Jean Bugatti had begun to modernize the designs around 1930. He developed one base model, and from this created derivative models like the Type 57. The Atlantics were built from Elektron, which a metal alloy that was used for aviation (another branch of the Bugatti company). This alloy is 90% magnesium and 10% aluminum and cannot be welded. This meant that Jean Bugatti had to rivet the body parts together, which was responsible for the dorsal seam.
This design feature was a unique characteristic of the Type 57SCs. The Atlantic features rounded and smooth slopes, as well as a long hood. Each car was built with a unique set of features which became known as Jean Bugatti’s design manifesto.
This spirit of artistry and design would outlive not only the father and son Bugatti designers but the company as it existed. In 1939 Jean died while testing a Type 57 tank-bodied racer. Following this tragedy and the destruction of the original factory during WW2, the company moved to a suburb of Paris.
But, in 1947 after Ettore Bugatti passed away, the company faced financial problems. And in 1952, Bugatti ceased operations and existed only by manufacturing aviation parts.
The Spirit of Bugatti Revived
In 1987 Romano Artioli bought Bugatti. There had been a couple of attempts to revive the name between 1952 and 1987, however, they failed to either live up to the name or gain any traction. However, that would not be the case in the 90s, as Artioli set up shop in Campogalliano, in Moderna, Italy. He employed designers of another automobile icon: the Lamborghini Countach.
And in 1990 they announced plans to revive Bugatti.
The Era of the EB110
The team began work developing the chassis and engine, which would support and drive the revival of Bugatti. A new carbon fiber chassis design solved the problems they had experienced with previous aluminum frames. They had been losing 1/5th of the frame’s torsional stiffness after 30,000 km tests. One of many technological innovations that this model featured. That, and an active aerodynamics and an all-wheel-drive system.
The EB110GT ran on a 60-valve, quad-turbocharged V12 engine. The all-wheel drive vehicle powers all four wheels yielding 451 ft-lbs. of torque. The EB110GT center-mounted engine is viewable through a rear-facing glass window.
The EB110GT, a mid-engine sports car, is a moving testament to the designers. Unfortunately, by the time this vehicle came to market, both Europe and North America were in a recession. This and the ill-timed purchase of Lotus by Artioli meant that the company faced insurmountable financial difficulties.
And in 1995 Bugatti once again ceased operations.
The Veyron to La Voiture Noire made Possible by the Volkswagen Group
In 1998 the Volkswagen group acquired the Bugatti name. This combination of performance and design combined like nitro and glycerin. And in turn created a new era of achievement.
The EB118 was the first concept vehicle from this new imagining of Bugatti, designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro. This coupe debuted in 1998 in Paris, and the predecessors to the Veyron would be introduced the following year.
In 2005 Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S., began selling the Veyron 16.4. Another mid-engine design, the Super Sport, designed and developed in Germany, came in with an original top speed of 407 km/hr. The Veyron made history as one of the fastest production cars in the world with its 8 liters, quad-turbocharged W16 cylinder engine.
After the Veyron came the current Bugatti model, the Chiron. A 2-seater coupe, featuring the same 8 Liter quad-turbocharged W18 engine. This feat of engineering and design puts out an incredible 1578 horsepower through its 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
La Voiture Noire – Ultimate Tribute to Jean Bugatti and his Missing Atlantic
This one-off concept piece pays homage to Jean Bugatti. And the most valuable car in the world – the missing Type 57 SC Atlantic. La Voiture Noire is a testament to the spirit of ingenuity, design, and innovation that the Bugatti name has come to be known for.
The iconic La Voiture Noire fills the Atlantic’s boots in terms of pricelessness. And with a price tag of $19 million, it’s the world’s most expensive car. But, La Voiture Noire won’t reach the same top speeds as a Chiron. It’s designed to tour, with a more relaxed suspension for comfort – in the spirit of the old Atlantics.
La Voiture Noire features a spine that runs the centerline – a nod to the riveted designs coined by Jean Bugatti himself. It’s handmade with carbon fiber panels and chassis. La Voiture Noire yields 1180 ft-lbs. of torque produced by the same 8 Liter quad-turbocharged W16 engine as its predecessors.
While the top speed isn’t yet determined, it’s estimated to do 0 – 60 mph in under 3 seconds. Producing a solid 1500 horsepower. This model encompasses the spirit Bugatti automobiles for over a century. A passionate eye for detail, an uncompromising joining of luxury and performance, and the spirit of innovative design.