The Bugatti Veyron got its name from French racing driver Pierre Veyron. The man was a test driver and development engineer for Bugatti between 1933 and 1953. But in 1939, Pierre Veyron won the 24 Hours of Le Mans with fellow Frenchman Jean-Pierre Wimille in a Bugatti Type 57C Tank.
20 years ago, the Bugatti Veyron literally invented the hyper sports car segment. It’s a car with ridiculous numbers and an astronomical price tag. Even today, a typical Bugatti Veyron will cost anywhere from $1.7 to around $3 million. Without the Veyron, the Chiron wouldn’t be here today.
“Thanks to the Veyron, Bugatti catapulted itself into a new dimension. We set benchmarks around 20 years ago with the first luxury hyper sports car and we are proud of that to this day,” explained Stephan Winkelmann, President of Bugatti. “The Veyron continues to be a car of superlatives: it broke several speed records and redefined what outstanding automotive engineering can do.”
As a fitting tribute to the legends of Bugatti like Pierre Veyron and Jean-Pierre Wimille, the French car maker released a series of special-edition models based on the Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse. These rare collectibles were conceived to celebrate more than a century of Bugatti’s legacy and automotive excellence. Veyron production started in 2005 in the Alsatian town of Molsheim, a significant moment in Bugatti’s history further underscored by the special editions.
“With the Veyron, Bugatti brought vehicle production back to France where our luxury brand was established 110 years ago and where it belongs,” Winkelmann continued. “The Veyron is a work of art on wheels, its materials meet top quality standards and the quality of finishing is still one of a kind to this day.”
Let’s take a moment to look back at the Bugatti Veyron Legends.
The Bugatti Veyron Jean-Pierre Wimille is hard to miss. The carbon fiber body has the same gleaming blue paint and light blue contrast of the Type 57 Tank race car that won Le Mans in 1939. This is the first Bugatti Legends Edition. It comes with unique touches including a laser-engraved signature of “Wimille” on the petrol and oil filler caps.
The Veyron Jean-Pierre Wimille made its debut in Pebble Beach, California in August 2013.
The second Legends Edition Veyron is named after Jean Bugatti, the eldest son of company founder Ettore Bugatti. In 1936, he became head of the company at just 27. Sadly, he died in a horrific road accident three years later in 1939.
Jean Bugatti was a gifted car designer. He penned the glorious curves of the Type 57SC Atlantic, which remains one of the most expensive vintage cars with only three models in existence today.
This Bugatti Veyron Legend is named after one Bartolomeo “Meo” Costantini. He was the head of the factory racing team and the most-trusted ally of Ettore Bugatti. Costantini also won the Targa Florio race twice in a Bugatti Type 35.
The Bugatti Type 35 belongs in the rare echelon of successful race cars in the 1920s. The tribute car comes with hand-polished aluminum panels on the wings and doors, along with a new Bugatti Dark Blue Sport paint job.
The fourth Veyron Legends Edition is the Rembrandt Bugatti. He’s the brother of Ettore Bugatti and arguably one of the most important sculptors of the early 20th century. Rembrandt Bugatti is famous for his bronze sculptures of animals.
He was so good that his sculpture of a dancing elephant became the symbol of Bugatti. It first appeared on the radiator cap of the Bugatti Type 41 Royale.
The fifth Veyron Legend is the Black Bess. The Bugatti Type 18 or “Black Bess” is one of the first street-legal supercars, and was the fastest road car in the world back in the day. Interestingly enough, the DNA of the present day Veyron is traced directly to the Type 18.
The first owner of the Bugatti Type 18 was World War I aviator and war hero Roland Garros, a man who crossed the Mediterranean by airplane in 1913. A close friend of Ettore Bugatti, he chose the Type 18 because the car allowed him to travel as fast on land as an airplane did in the air. The French Open today bears his name.
The sixth and last Veyron Legends car is the Ettore Bugatti, which should come as no surprise. This is the crowning glory of the Legends series. The man combined engineering and artistry in a way that did not exist at the time. To some, the elder Bugatti devised the finest automotive species to roam the planet, and this Legends car pays homage to his brilliance.
The front part of the carbon fiber body is hand-polished aluminum with a coating of clear lacquer. As an added touch, the EB logo and Bugatti horseshoe emblem are crafted from platinum.
The Bugatti Veyron is – for lack of a better word – the granddaddy of hyper cars. Similar to the new Chiron, the Veyron is all about sheer numbers, and the madness starts with the power unit. The Bugatti Veyron makes good use of an 8.0-liter 16-cylinder motor with four turbochargers. It produces 1,000 horsepower and 921 lb-ft. of torque, the latter coming in between 2,200 and 5,000 rpm. This allows the Veyron to scamper from zero to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds, hitting 124 mph in around 7 seconds.
Top speed is a staggering 252 mph.
With those numbers, the Bugatti Veyron became one of the fastest series production cars. Things took a turn for the better when Bugatti came up with the Veyron Super Sport in 2010. It came with 1,200 horsepower and an incredible top speed of 268 mph. Now you know where the Bugatti Chiron got its insatiable appetite for speed.
Alvin Reyes is the Associate Editor of Automoblog. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.