Mark Twain could have been talking about that power-meister, the Bugatti Veyron when he uttered those famous words: “Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated”.
Despite announcing last summer that the big Bug was toast after the 300th Veyron had finally thundered off the Mulhouse, France production line, along comes yet another limited-edition, mega-expensive version.
The Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse—claimed to be the world’s fastest, most-powerful open-top car—makes its official debut at next week’s Geneva auto show. And, if you have to ask, that would be Geneva, Switzerland, not Wisconsin.
It’s based on the insanely-powerful 1,200-horsepower Veyron Super Sport coupe, but with the top removed so that sidewalk gazers on the St. Tropez waterfront can see who’s the lucky dude behind the wheel of this $2.5 million—that’s our guess—projectile.
But enough is enough. This, to my reckoning, will be the 10th limited edition Veyron after the Pur Sang, the Par Hermes, the Sang Noir, the Bleu Centenaire, the Sang Bleu, the Grey Carbon, the L’Or Blanc, the Grand Sport, Super Sport and now the Grand Sport Vitesse. I probably missed the Hertz Rental edition.
When you’re only building 300 cars in total, each at roughly $1.5m to $2.5m, isn’t every Veyron a limited edition?
The fact is, the Veyron hasn’t been an easy sell. It seems even the richest of the rich draw the line at a million bucks for a new car—even one with 1,000-plus horsepower. After the highpoint in sales—2007 when 81 cars left dealer lots—interest has all but disappeared.
Only by offering unique versions has Bugatti been able to convince those Russian oil and gas oligarchs, those Saudi princes, and NBA stars to dig deep into their offshore accounts and add another to their collection.
That said, the Veyron is still an unbelievable car. I drove one of the early versions with a mere 1,001 horsepower on the streets of Miami and still get palpitations and hot sweats just thinking about it.
Will this Grand Sport Vitesse version be the best Veyron ever? I’m afraid not. That honor must go to the 1,200 horsepower Super Sport Coupe. That’s because it set a new world speed record of 431 kilometers an hour—that’s 267.8 mph. While the Vitesse has the same engine, having a soft top means its speed is restricted to a mere 217 mph.
Check on eBay; there’s probably still a few Super Sports going cheap.