Bugatti’s La Voiture Noire, The Most Expensive New Car In The World
Bugatti has unveiled its one-off “La Voiture Noire” (the black car, in case you missed out on your French lessons), which at €11-million ($12.5m) makes it the most expensive new car in the world—though still a quarter of the value of the Type 57 Atlantic that it pays homage to. It’s named after the second of the four Atlantics built between 1936 and 1938, and features a raised body line along the center of the roof as a tribute to the Atlantic’s famous raised riveted seam along the roof. The new car, already sold to a customer said to be fascinated by the Atlantic, is based on a Chiron with its quad-turbo, 8-liter, 1479hp W16 engine and a one-off carbon fiber body. A neat touch is the six tailpipes at the rear, just like the Atlantic’s.
The Atlantic is still the most revered of all Bugatti’s creations. It was developed from the one-off Aérolithe prototype, which was built in aviation industry Elektron; an alloy of 90 percent magnesium and 10 percent aluminium. Elektron is lightweight and strong but it can’t be welded, which is why Bugatti riveted the body parts together, creating the famous dorsal seam along the roof. The Atlantic was built in aluminium but retained the rivets on the dorsal seam.
Just four were built: the first was for British banker Victor Rothschild, originally without a supercharger, in grey-blue. It sold in 2010 for a reported $40-million to Walmart chairman Rob Walton and collector Peter Mullin. The second one was made for Jean Bugatti, son of Ettore and designer of the Atlantic. It was nicknamed “La Voiture Noire” and was used at motor shows, but there’s no record of it after 1938 and it has never been found. The third Atlantic built was delivered to Jacques Holzschuh of France in October 1936. It was later hit by a train on a level crossing, killing the second owner of the car and destroying the car (though it was restored/recreated more recently). The final Atlantic was built in May 1938 and is now owned by Ralph Lauren.
“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,” says Bugatti president Stephan Winkelmann. “Customers expect us to continually surprise them and to raise the goalposts beyond the limits of their imagination. We have just succeeded in doing so with La Voiture Noire.”
Images courtesy of Bugatti Automobiles