When you’re invited to Bugatti, Molsheim, Alsace, it’s not the usual guide who talks. Racing driver Pierre-Henri Raphanel has 14 editions of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, including three podiums. In 2010, he enriched his list of awards with the record for the world’s fastest production car at the time: 431.072 km/h behind the wheel of the Veyron Super Sport.
“All our customers are invited to experience the Bugatti experience,” he explains. Cars of this brand worth 3 million euros without taxes and options are the most expensive cars on the planet.
Not all buyers will be satisfied, even if spending €8 million on a limited series like the Centodieci, of which only ten copies are planned, won’t slow them down. This is the price of rarity, but also of engineering that leaves nothing to chance. “Our models, like all other cars of the Volkswagen Group, must be reliable for more than hundreds of thousands of kilometers… A distance that none of our customers can reach! Regularly, in winter, our development teams go to the Arctic Circle for testing. snow. But when the snowflakes fall, who will drive their Bugatti ? Paying attention to even the smallest details is unmatched by any other brand that makes this type of car.”
At Bugatti, we want Chiron, Divo or Centodieci buyers to not just sign a big check. Visitors to Molsheim immerse themselves in the brand’s past. “Its incredibly rich story began in a family of artists,” continues Pierre-Henri Raphanel. “Ettore Bugatti is famous for his unique cars, his father Carlo for his furniture, and his brother Rembrandt for his animal sculptures. All three are on display in museums around the world. They are unique.”
Bugatti owes its return to center stage to Ferdinand Piech, who was at the wheel of Volkswagen from 1993 to 2015. , being busy. In 1998, he bought a Bugatti from Italian entrepreneur Romano Artioli, who fulfilled his youthful dream by rediscovering this lost brand. His EB110 car was supposed to be the fastest car in the world without compromising on comfort and ease of driving. The German-engineered Veyron and Chiron follow the trail around Modena, Italy.
Factory in the castle
Piech does not hold back from anything. He stays at the Bugatti family’s Château Saint-Jean in Molsheim, which at the time was already used as a reception area for clients. “The architects of French buildings told us that there are hundreds of more magnificent castles in France, our guide explains in detail. Barns and stables typical of the region are even more rare. contains a quirk: one of the six Royales of inestimable value purchased by the Volkswagen Group to establish a relationship with Bugatti. “For every car enthusiast, coming to Bugatti is unique, continues our host. But my pleasure is to attract the attention of those who come to buy an exceptional car and make them aware of the heritage of the brand.”
A few tens of meters away from the castle, the oval building with the Bugatti logo stands out for its modernity. Opened in 2005, this factory called L’Atelier is the work of German architect Günter Henn. There are no robots inside. Each model is assembled by hand. Carbon frames made by Dallara come from Italy. The W16 engine, the most powerful car in the world, was born at the Volkswagen plant in Salzgitter, Germany. Finally, the gearbox, which alone costs the price of a Porsche 911, is the work of British manufacturer Ricardo. It is similar to the building of the Formula 1 team. The quality requirements are equal to those of the aviation industry.
After immersing himself in Bugatti’s history and the high technology housed on site, a prospective customer can test drive the Chiron on the roads of Alsace accompanied by a pilot who shows him the capabilities of the mechanics before driving it. Finally, he is required to choose the smallest details of his car, which takes several hours.
Those not satisfied with the offered colors can request a custom color or choose a body that leaves the lacquered carbon fiber exposed. This option costs about 300,000 euros: the fibers must be carefully adjusted by hand. Jascha Straub, the brand’s designer and not just a salesman, helps undecided customers and can make sketches that can be applied to the leather of the door panels in embroidery or printing. So, as in the Belle Epoque, the greats of this world own a unique Bugatti.
center of power
85 units of Bugatti are produced every year.
1600 horsepower for the Chiron Super Sport.
440 km/h maximum speed (limited).
3.2 million euros at the time of purchase (excluding taxes and options).
L’Atelier / A few meters from the Castle, this oval building opened in 2005 takes the shape of the brand’s logo. /(SP)
Bugatti Centodieci/This exceptional model, produced in 10 copies, is displayed at a price of 8 million euros/ (Bugatti/SP)
Museum. Housed in a historic warehouse on the property, it houses a Royale Type 41, a gem from the 1920s.(N.Meunier)