In an industry where as many as 70 cars can roll down an assembly line each hour, Bugatti is a rare exception. Indeed, it makes even Ferrari seem like a mass market brand.
When it was first introduced, back in 2005, Volkswagen AG’s most exclusive mark promised to build just 450 of the ultracars, the first vehicles ever to top the 1,000 horsepower mark. The maker has held to its word, and a decade later the last hand-built Bugatti Veyron has been sold, with the 450th appropriately dubbed “La Finale” set to go on display at the Geneva Motor Show next week.
“An unprecedented chapter in automobile history has reached its climax,” boasted Wolfgang Dürheimer, president of Bugatti Automobiles. “In the Veyron, Bugatti has created an automobile icon and established itself as the world’s most exclusive supercar brand.”
While the folks at Sweden’s Koenigsegg, the maker of the Agera One:1, might dispute that last point, there’s little doubt the Veyron is one of the rarest automobiles produced in recent decades and, according to company data, one of the most expensive, the average model going for about $2.6 million.
The original Veyron 16.4 coupe punched into the record books by delivering an industry-first 1,001 horsepower when it first came to market a decade ago. With competitors pushing into four-digit territory, Bugatti kept tweaking the 2-seater’s performance, eventually reaching 1,200 hp with the most recent versions of the Veyron, known as the Grand Sport Vitesse.
In 2010, the Super Sport model set a world speed record at 268 miles per hour. Since then, several makers, including America’s Hennessey, have been chasing that brass ring.
Since its launch, Bentley produced 300 coupes and another 150 roadsters, the latter including the 1,001-hp 16.4 Grand Sport and 1,200-hp Grand Sport Vitesse.
Those are numbers the legendary Ettore Bugatti could only have dreamed of. The French carmaker was known for producing vehicles of exquisite design and incredible performance. About 8,000 were built between 1909 and 1947 when the Italian-born Bugatti died.
Today, those cars are some of the most cherished among automotive collectors. A 1931 Bugatti Royale Kellner Coupe was sold by Christie’s, in London, for $9.8 million in 1987, making it one of the most expensive vehicles ever sold at auction, according to those who track the collector circuit.
Designer and car collector Ralph Lauren, meanwhile, reportedly spent somewhere between $30 million and $40 million in a private sale for a 1938 Bugatti 57SC Atlantic. One of only four built, it would hold the record as the most expensive vehicle ever sold.
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The Bugatti Veyron falls well short of that record, but it should gain value over the years, experts suggest. They also note that buyers typically added custom touches that drove up the base price.
Bugatti also offered a number of special editions, including the Legend Meo Constantini model built to honor a close friend of founder Ettore Bugatti who twice won the Targa Florio race. Starting out as a Grand Sport Vitesse, it was given a two-tone paint scheme, pairing French Racing Blue and unburnished aluminum. It also had maps of the Targa Florio laser etched both inside and out. The purchase price was a reported $3.4 million.
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The last Bugatti Veyron will go to an unnamed customer in the Middle East after the Geneva Motor Show closes. That was a major market, though roughly a quarter of all the cars were sold in the U.S.
What’s next? Bugatti has offered plenty of hints but few details beyond confirmation that it is working on a replacement for the Veyron. Some reports have suggested the next model will push into the 1,500 to 1,600 horsepower range – possibly by using a high-performance hybrid drive system, much like the Ferrari flagship LaFerrari, and McLaren P1. Performance numbers are equally astronomical, some quoting 0 to 60 times of just 1.8 seconds.
(To see more about Koenigsegg’s debut at the Geneva Motor Show, Click Here.)
One of the few things company officials have confirmed is that the next Bugatti will likely be even more expensive.