The brand has a rich history, though I will mainly focus on the latest part of it, the modern era, since the Veyron. Which is why I highly reccomend you that if you want to know more, don’t limit yourself to what I write! Go research for more information & details, historic books & magazines & articles. There is so much to know about everything. I’m merely human (and alone as well haha). Here goes!
The french brand (though it sounds italian, beware not to mistake haha) was founded in 1909 by Ettore Bugatti. The brand is well-known at the time for being one of the epitomes of luxury cars, with its signature trademark/logo being an elephant (not many people know that – most people think it’s only the “EB”). Some say Ettore had a saying that went like “nothing is too beautiful, nothing is too expensive”. That’s the typical french “joie de vivre” and epicurean feeling. That being said, they also had a very interesting & decent automotive racing history (they even raced in the 24 hours of Le Mans), though many people don’t know it as well as Ferrari’s (which is way more mediatized). The french brand is also known for probably having the most expensive car in the world, the Type 57 SC Atlantic (only 3 in the world), with rumoured prices saying to fetch +100 million (but no one can tell obviously, considering none are being sold / on the market). After the second World War, the brand wasn’t doing too good. And despite the birth of the Bugatti EB110 back in 1991, which is nowadays considered as an icon among classic car enthusiasts (and petrolheads in general), things weren’t going very well.
The rebirth of the Bugatti brand came in 1998, when the powerful Volkswagen group (who also owns Lamborghini & Audi, if you remember correctly) took over the french car manufacturer to give it a new life. They “abandonned” the old factory & moved to a new high-tech one in Molsheim (Alsace, France). In this modern lair, the Bugatti Veyron was dreamed, imagined, and built. The Bugatti Veyron is considered as Volkswagen’s technologic prowess, it’s a flagship car for what they can do and achieve, even though it is a well-known fact that they were losing money with every Veyron built (it cost more to make than what they were selling them for). But that didn’t bother Volkswagen that much, after all, the Veyron was THE car of the 2000s, if you ask me: the first car to have 1000 horse power. It’s the car that started the whole “quest for the fastest” car, that other manufacturers tried to beat (Koenigsegg, Hennessey Venom, SSC Tuatatara, and many more…).
The Bugatti Veyron is a hand-built car. There are 400 units, and they were all sold in 2016. Every Veyron can be incredibly customized by its owner, every little thing can be changed to the owner’s taste: materials, colours, tissues, details, composites, wheels, everything. The owner really is king (provided he pays the price haha), and I believe it puts to shame the latter personalization programs like MSO (McLaren), Q series (Aston Martin) or Tailor Made (Ferrari). Though nowadays, the specialization departments are doing very very well in every brand. The Veyron is probably one of the cars that has known the most “limited edition”: out of the 400 units, at least half must be part of a limited-edition (yes, I exagerate). From the “stock” Veyron (16,4), to the GrandSport, to the SuperSport to the Vitesse…
Here are some exclusive versions of the famous world-record breaking cars: the Pur Sang (5 units), the Sang Noir (15 units), the Veyron WRE (15 units), the Vitesse WRC (5 units), the Centenaire (4 units)… as well as many one-offs (Bernard Vernet, l’Or Blanc…).
At the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, Bugatti has stepped-up its game with the arrival of the CHIRON. The Chiron is going to be absolutely bonkers and will ally luxury & performance like never before. From what I heard, it’s already a huge commercial success: many orders have already been placed all over the world. And for once, the car will actually earn Bugatti money! 😛