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The Bugatti Veyron: History, Buying Tips, Photos, and More

All things Bugatti Veyron on Automobile.

Bugatti Veyron Essential History 

Between when the original automaker went out of business in 1952 and when the almighty Veyron 16.4 entered production in 2005, it was a long, rocky road for the Bugatti name. After cementing itself as one of the most venerable and treasured automotive marques during the Pre-War period, the desolation of the famed Molsheim factory immediately following World War II and the subsequent death of brand namesake and visionary Ettore Bugatti in 1947 effectively shuttered the once-illustrious brand.

After a handful of failed launches, Bugatti was almost back for good in the late 1980s under the vision of Romano Artioli. Artioli hoped to revive the marque with his sleek and intricately engineered EB110 supercar, but a recession forced the renascent supercar brand into early dissolution in 1995. Following the guidance of Volkswagen Group (VAG) mastermind Ferdinand Piëch, VAG purchased the rights to the Bugatti name and immediately began development of one of the greatest hypercars in history.

After a string of concepts featuring a spectacular W-18 engine, all-wheel drive, and curvaceous exterior design, the production Veyron retained all but the 18-cylinder engine, instead cutting two cylinders and abandoning the W-18s three-bank structure for a four-bank quad-turbo W-16. Power from this 8.0-liter monster was a tremendous 987 hp and 922 lb-ft of torque—in the regular base-level Veyron 16.4, remember—routed to all four wheels through a beefy seven-speed dual-clutch transmission manufactured by Ricardo.

This absurd power resulted in equally absurd performance figures. Dashing from 0-60 mph takes 2.5 seconds, which may seem commonplace in this era of electric supersedans that brush against the two-second barrier, but consider that the hottest Ferrari of 2005 could only muster the same speed in a lumbering four seconds flat. By the time that Ferrari F430 hit 60 mph, the Veyron is nearly at 100 mph; when the F430 finally kisses its top speed of 196 mph, the Veyron is surging toward its world-beating 253 mph v-max. All this for an initial price of around $1.25 million.

Indeed, that officially certified 253-mph top speed made it the fastest car in the word for a few years, yanking the crown from the mighty McLaren F1—or the Koenigsegg CCR, depending on your definition of production car.

This record didn't stand long, as Texas tuner and performance guru Hennessey clocked its Venom at 265 mph. Naturally, Bugatti went to work tweaking the Veyron's engine and aerodynamic profile for the 2010 Veyron Super Sport special edition that upped output to 1,184 hp and 1,106 lb-ft of torque. Top speed inched to 267.855 mph, reclaiming the laurels until 2017 when the Koenigsegg Agera RS clocked a certified 277 mph.

Speaking of special editions, the Veyron has more one-off special variants and limited run versions than any other supercar—or maybe any other car, full stop. Between bespoke color combos that Bugatti deemed worthy of a special name, and limited runs of five, ten or fifteen cars that adhered to a specific aesthetic, there are more than 25 individual named special editions to collect. Some were callbacks to prominent pre-war Bugattis and famed drivers who piloted Bugattis to victory in period, while others were tie-ins with other luxury brands like Hermes and KPM Porcelain.

The Veyron Grand Sport arrived in 2009. A roadster variant of the existing coupe limited to 150 units, now with a removable roof, the Grand Sport became the fastest convertible in the world, hitting a top speed of 253 mph with the removable rigid Targa-style top installed. Alternate top speeds include 224 mph with the top off, or a piddling 80 mph with the temporary emergency soft-top deployed. Naturally, potential Grand Sport buyers were put off at the idea they may be shown up by the faster, more exclusive Super Sport, so the 2012-2015 Grand Sport Vitesse superimposed the Super Sport upgrades onto the drop-top Veyron.

After hundreds of millions of dollars over a decade of production, Bugatti completed 450 examples of the Veyron before the current Bugatti Chiron replaced it in 2016, ending the Veyron's reign as the de facto king of all production cars.

Bugatti Veyron Highlights

It's difficult to overstate the impact the Bugatti Veyron had on the collective car consciousness. Many ragged on the Veyron for its conquest of the mighty McLaren F1's longstanding record, considering the Bugatti is considerably heavier, more complex, and more luxurious than the McLaren. But like the McLaren F1, the Veyron emerged as one of the landmark cars of history. The Veyron represented a quantum leap forward in what we thought was possible; here was a 1,000-hp landbound ballistic missile with a top speed of 253 mph and an interior as luxurious as a Bentley's, all while remaining as drivable and docile as a high-end Audi.

Since the day the first Veyron rolled out of the Molsheim workshop, it's remained a symbol of excess and conspicuous consumption, particularly among the "new money" types that emerged in the early-to-mid-2000s. Owning a Veyron was an apex power move placed far beyond having "made it" financially; if you owned a Bugatti Veyron, you were taking a stand as a mogul rather than a merely successful individual. Investment bankers and rappers drove Porsches and Ferraris, while hedge fund managers and label owners drove Veyrons.

Even after replacement by the Chiron, the Veyron remains a status symbol of the highest order. While the Veyron was in production, prices of second-hand non-limited-edition Veyrons hovered around the half-million mark, before sharply climbing to the seven-figure threshold, where they remain today. If you're looking for a future-proof automotive investment, pick up as many well-specified Veyrons as you can before the collective market realizes that this piece of automotive history is undervalued even at over a million bucks.

Bugatti Veyron Buying Tips

Looking for a Veyron to fill that hypercar-sized hole in your garage? Here's the good news; it will be very difficult for you to find a "stinker." The vast majority of Veyrons were bought and owned by moneyed individuals who didn't balk at the annual maintenance regimen that could climb into six-figures territory.

If that last statement is remotely shocking to you, I advise you consider investing in a different hypercar. Maintaining a Veyron is notoriously costly; regular service can run in around the $25,000 mark; having a new set of tires fitted cost close to $50,000, as you had to ship the car back to France to make the swap.

If you're still in the game after the prior figures didn't scare you off, get in touch with Bugatti. The automaker hasn't specified it will help you find a car, but it likely keeps extensive maintenance and ownership records of every Veyron to ever leave its care over the years, and can likely point you in the right direction. If you have a particular car in mind, I'm sure Bugatti would be more than happy to perform a five-figure pre-purchase inspection before you write the final check.

Bugatti Veyron Articles on Automobile

A chance to drive a car like the Bugatti Veyron doesn't come across very often, but we managed to put together a solid look at the hypercar before it left production in 2015.

Bugatti Veyron Auctions 

Despite its popularity among fans, the Veyron doesn't come up for sale often; even less so for auctions where the final sale price is public knowledge. With that in mind, RM Sotheby's is the only mainstream auction house with a reliable backlog of sold Bugatti Veyrons to reference.

Bugatti Veyron Quick Facts

  • First year of production: 2005
  • Last year of production: 2015
  • Total sold: 450
  • Original price: $1.25 million
  • Legendary genre-defining hypercar
  • Set the standard for what a top-tier status symbol must represent

Bugatti Veyron FAQ

You have questions about the Bugatti Veyron. Automobile has answers. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked Veyron queries:

How much does the Bugatti Veyron cost?

With a hypercar as iconic as the Veyron, this question was inevitable. When the Veyron first went on sale for the 2005 model year, prices began around the $1.25 million mark, but you can be sure precious few of the original Veyron went for sticker price. When paint, interior options, and special features were added, the price often inched closer to $1.5 million. If you wanted a special edition, you could expect to pay close to $2 million for the privilege.

How fast does the Bugatti Veyron go?

The party piece of the Bugatti Veyron was always the record-busting top speed, so its only natural its one of the first questions that arises. If you stick with the original Veyron 16.4, intrepid owners will see 253 mph. Spend some more coin for the Super Sport World Record Edition, and that climbs to 268 mph.

How many Bugatti Veyrons are there?

Unlike your typical Ferrari or Lamborghini which might see production in the 3,000-10,000 unit range, only 450 Veyrons of various configurations were ever built by the Molsheim workshop. This includes the Grand Sport, Super Sport, Grand Sport Vitesse, and the rest of the many special editions.

Who makes the Bugatti Veyron?

Well, this one's easy—Bugatti! Of course, trace that thread far enough, and you'll find that the almighty Volkswagen Group is the parent company of Bugatti as well as of Porsche, Audi, Bentley, Volkswagen, and Ducati.