The Bugatti Veyron is considered one of the most important cars ever made thanks to its unprecedented combination of speed and luxury. The Veyron had a top speed of 268 mph, which made it the fastest production car in the world at the time of its launch in 2006. It’s since been surpassed by a few other cars but remains one of the fastest ever built.
Development of the Buggati Veyron took a long time. The Veyron concept originated with the 18/3 Chiron launched by Buggati in 1999. The Chiron resembled the Veyron in design with its air door scoops, clear panel over the rear engine and retractable rear wing.
The first Veyron concept car debuted at the Tokyo car show in 1999. It had a 555 horsepower, 6.3-liter engine and could reach a speed of 184 mph. These stats seem underwhelming compared with the future launched version of the Veyron, but at the time it one of the fastest cars ever seen.
In 2001, Buggati debuted a concept car much closer in design and speed to the Veyron. It had a W16 engine consisting of two V8 engines placed at angles to each other and aspirated with four turbochargers. This new design reached the 1,000 horsepower mark that was previously thought impossible.
The preproduction model was launched in 2002, and the Buggati toured all the big motor shows in Europe. This new model featured a larger, more comfortable cabin.
In 2004, Buggati built 11 prototypes and tested them for over 60,000 miles under harsh conditions. The braking systems and tires were tested to their limits to make sure the vehicles met all safety requirements for use as an everyday car.
Finally in 2006, after numerous delays, the Bugatti Veyron was officially launched. The car was priced at $1 to $2 million depending on optional features. The launch of the Veyron heralded a new age of super cars. It could reach speeds only F1 cars had previously achieved but was comfortable to drive and included every luxury option you could want.
The convertible 16.4 Grand Sport was launched in 2009. This version required reinforced side skirts and carbon-fiber pillars to maintain rigidity, and the added weight meant the convertible only produced 987 horsepower. The cost for this model was around $1.8 million.
In 2010, the next version of the Bugatti Veyron, the Super Sport, set new records on the track. It had 1,200 horsepower and achieved a top speed of 267.8 mph, officially breaking the production car world speed record.
Later incarnations of the Veyron included a number of limited editions, such as the Pur Sang, which showed off the vehicle’s design elements in chrome, the Hermes and the pure black Sang Noir.
Issues with Development
When Buggati launched the original concept of the Veyron, they promised a car that would break the 1,000 horsepower mark. This had never been done and proved a far more difficult task than imagined.
One of the initial problems was finding a fuel pump to provide enough gas to the engine when the car was at full-throttle. They couldn’t find one in production, so the company ended up building a pump from scratch.
Once they ran tests at speed, they discovered the design generated far too much drag. The car was put into a wind tunnel and it took months to refine the design to reach the magic 400 kph mark.
The company had to work with manufacturers to design a tire that could last more than a few minutes at such high speeds. The people who bought these cars wouldn’t have a full-service team standing by for tire changes as F1 drivers do.
It was a struggle that took seven years, but in the end, the finished product was worth the wait.
Just before the official launch of the Buggati, one was lent to Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson raced the Veyron from Italy to London. It was an epic event that showed off the car’s incredible beauty and speed. Clarkson compared the Veyron to the Concorde and said it was the pinnacle of automotive design. The show created Veyron fans around the world.
The rest of the entertainment world caught on to the speed and luxury of the Veyron, and soon several celebrities bought one. Famous Veyron owners now include Jay-Z, Tom Cruise, Tom Brady, Jay Leno, Simon Cowell and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Buggati Veyron was officially discontinued in 2015 after 10 years of production and the creation of 450 of these ultimate automobiles. Buggati is now concentrating on its next offering, the Chiron. However, in public perception the Veyron will always be the unrivalled super car of the early 21st century.