What’s black, costs nearly 19 million US dollars, and won’t be available for another two years? The 'La Voiture Noire' from Bugatti.
This super-priced car is intended as a homage to the original car of that name from the 1930s. It has a novel body design compared to the average Bugatti, although the components under it may come from the company’s base-model.
Nevertheless, the company claims that it already has a buyer for the new Voiture Noire. The luxury car firm has not divulged the identity of this interested customer, although it is clearly someone rich enough to indulge an apparently sincere appreciation for the company’s style and design.
It is just as well, as the car technically has not even been made yet. A prototype shell has been displayed at high-end automotive shows in order to demonstrate how the finished Voiture will look. However, a Bugatti representative has conceded that the actual finished product may not be in its owner’s hands for about two years from now.
Where Does the New Bugatti’s Name Come From?
La Voiture Noire is a 2019 revisit of the design of the Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantic.
This early-20th-century luxury saloon gained an iconic status due to its unique design. It had an extra-long ‘nose,’ from which the front wheel-arches extended even further until they protruded beyond the car’s front grille. The Type 57 SC Atlantic was expensive back when it was new, and is even more so now.
The insurance firm, Hagerty, estimates that one of these cars would be worth $50 million today.
This is based on two main factors: the value collectors place on this particular car, and its extreme rarity. Only four units of the Type 57 SC Atlantic were ever made, including one in a particularly prized glossy black finish.
Furthermore, this car – the original Voiture Noire – is no longer within any collector or billionaire’s reach. It vanished without a trace in the 1940s, possibly caught up in the chaos resulting from the Second World War and France’s liberation from Nazi Germany as it came to an end.
A Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantic at a vintage car show. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Therefore, the new La Voiture Noire has been developed as a modern-day homage to the original car of the name.
However, those familiar with current Bugatti design language may not find it quite as dramatic as its inspiration. It lacks this car’s 1930s flared arches and lines. But it does retain the central ‘spine’ that runs along the length of the body, which even bisects the windshield. The nouveau Voiture Noire also has an extra-long nose-cone of its own.
How Bugatti May Make its Million Dollar Car
Besides this, Bugatti will not deviate far from its normal manufacturing practices to make the one-of-a-kind car. It will have the same drive-train as the Chiron, which is the company’s cheapest model (albeit one priced at $3 million). This car has a 16-cylinder, 1479-brake horse-power engine, and a monocoque secured to the rest of the body with titanium screws. Bugatti has its own bespoke factory in Alsace, France to put these kinds of cars together. However, it does not make its own parts, custom-ordering them from various manufacturers around Europe instead.
These parts include carbon-fiber panels and aluminum microstructure reinforcements, so as to keep the weight down. Bugatti makes each car by hand and must be one of the few car-makers in the world that does not involve robots in any stage of its building process. The firm’s workers make sure that these models are precision-crafted within the tolerances required, and to support the power and speed that can be produced by the ultra-powerful engines, using various digital tools and techniques. This is one reason why Bugatti charges astronomical prices for even its relatively entry-level cars.
Bugatti is Confident about the Future
This high-quality workmanship also influences the brand’s tendency to avoid depreciation over time. Indeed, most of its cars – the upcoming Voiture Noire included – are expected to grow in value, with time. This may be a shocking indictment of the consumer perceptions of Bugatti and its products, even among the super-rich. It also suggests that the company is confident that there will still be such individuals possessed of such disproportionate wealth for the foreseeable future.
Top Image: The Bugatti Chiron on which La Voiture Noire is based. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)