Life and death are inevitable and even the best of technology and science can't stop neither. And so is the change inevitable. As much as it is applicable to human life, it is equally applicable to automobiles. Like some of the legends who died and left the memories to cherish, so are some cars who even after retiring from service, leave us wondering and remembering, what deep and meaningful impact they created in automobile arena.
One such car and the greatest example of human endeavour to create the best is the late Bugatti Veyron, whose last unit was sold a couple of weeks back. And a car like a Bugatti Veyron deserves something special which Bugatti knew and they unveiled the 450th and last Veyron in the form of Grand Sport Vitesse "La Finale" edition at the Geneva Motorshow. The sale of the last and final piece of Veyron marked the end of 10-year run as the pinnacle of the automotive industry.
According to Wolfgang Durheimer, President, Bugatti - “The Veyron didn’t have to be pretty—it had to slice through the wind at 100 mph faster than a 747 takes off.” And that is why the car was priced hefty at around $2.6 Million per piece after adding all the options, which to an extent can't be avoided. The destination charges alone cost around $ 100,000. But as Wolfgang says - Veyron is “unique in many respects” and “a masterpiece of modern automobile design.”
But what is that makes Bugatti Veyron such a reverence in the industry? To start with, we are not sure if it's a car or a supercar or a hypercar. Infact, it was Bugatti which came up word like hypersport, and why shouldn't it be called one? After all, it was the quickest, fastest, most expensive and most sought after thing on four wheels when it was launched. Owned by the Volkswagen group, Bugatti Veyron never was in profit, and Volkswagen ends up losing money on every car. But that's the small price of what they got in return - a brand image like none other!
The idea of having such a mammoth of a car was first conceived by Ferdinand Piech, the grandson of Ferdinand Porsche (the man behind Porsche and Volkswagen). The 77 year old stalwart is famous for getting for he wants, be it the modern day Beetle or the Le Mans dominating Porsche 917 racer. And when he first showcased the concept car with top speed above 400 kmph and power in excess of 1000bhp, everyone went nuts and Piech decided to go ahead with the idea and make the car a reality.
You don't see such metrics in a car every day. Infact, the most sophisticated of all - Formula 1 cars don't produce such amount of power figures, let alone a street legal car. But Piech's insistence to get these figures up and running forced the engineering team to do everything out of the box. So much so is the effort gone into the car, that 12 radiators are used to cool down the car, that can reach a top speed of 434 kmph and that powers come by an ingenious quad-turbo W16 engine.
“When Bugatti bumped the engine’s horsepower from 1,000 to 1,200, the car had to be completely reengineered, from the wheels to the roof. You could double the power of any other car and it’d be fine. It wasn’t too expensive because they sold every one they built. And the Veyron didn’t have to be pretty—it had to slice through the wind at 100 mph faster than a 747 takes off.” said Jason Cammisa, senior editor of Road and track, one of the few people who has driven all variants of this car.
How much engineering has gone into the car can be known by the fact that not only the manufacturer, but also the parts suppliers had to be on their toes all the time to deliver products matching the Veyron's capability. Like Michelin for example, is known to bring some of the innovative technologies in tyre manufacturing. But for the Veyron, they had to develop a set of street-capable tyres that could withstand the load of 430 kmph and they cost $25,000 a set.
Another such example of how Veyron saw various stages of development is a very interesting story indeed. Once, during a triple-digit testing, a bird strike shattered the aluminium grille upfront completely, forcing the developers to use titanium, so that animals can without damage at speeds upward of 430kmph. Similarly, the earlier prototype wasn't able to exceed 320kmph, a special top-speed mode was developed that lowered the suspension and reduced the drag. The end result was a car so computer controlled that it set new standards for the industry.
But if everything was so hunky-dory for the hypercar manufacturer, why did they have to close the project? The Bugatti Veyron was limited to 450 units only, and all of them are sold now. Though is still to deliver many cars, the production will stop within 2 years and they already have started working on the next project which supposedly is named Chiron. While nobody knows why such a brilliant and technological advanced car was stopped, there are few theories related to it.
The most dominant theory of them all is - since Bugatti was 10 years old and many competitors like the Hennessey and Koenigsegg are continously pushing their limits to topple the world record set by Bugatti, they decided to move ahead and make another hypercar. Also, Ferrari and McLaren are pushing their boundaries to manufacture hybrid hypercars like the Ferrari LaFerrari and McLaren P1 which are the things of the future.
But these are some glitches in the stature of the Veyron, which will be sorted out in the coming generation cars. The thing that nobody could take from the Bugatti is the fact that they essentially gave the world - the first car to touch 400kmph. Like we said in the opening remark, the world is moving fast and change is inevitable. Nobody builds fast car now-a-days without giving emphasis to the environment. The Bugatti Veyron was the last automobile that was designed without compromise, without any regard to the cost, and with the sole purpose of being the best. We will never again see anything like it.
It wouldn't be wrong to say that Bugatti Veyron was the last gas-powered no-nonsense, non-hybrid hypercar and this is why, it holds a sheer importance to us and this is why we will miss the dinosaur of cars.
Rest in peace, you beauty. We’ll miss you!