• Apr 27th 2009 at 12:58PM
  • 18

Bugatti Veyron Centenaire editions – Click above for a high-res image gallery

Although decades have separated the modern Bugatti from its heritage, the Alsatian exotic marque is one that prides itself on its racing pedigree. So to bridge that gap and celebrate its 100th anniversary, Bugatti rolled in to the Villa d'Este auto show on the shores of Lake Como in northern Italy, as promised, with a quartet of special edition Veyrons.

Each of the four one-offs bares a different color to contrast with the chrome fenders, and each honors a different driver from Bugatti's glory days by taking their names. To more clearly emphasize the cars historical linkages, the four Veyrons arrived in Italy accompanied by matching historic Bugatti Type 35 Grand Prix racers.

One of the most successful race cars in history, the Type 35 racked up some 2,000 race victories over the course of a decade of competition in the inter-war period. Thanks to its advanced lightweight construction and pioneering client-racer availability, the Type 35 was one of the most popular and indomitable racing machines of its day. Alongside its identically-colored historic counterpart, the Bugatti Veyron Jean-Pierre Wimille edition appeared in bright blue, the Achille Varzi in dark red, the Malcolm Campbell example in dark green and the Hermann zu Leiningen in off-white. No official word so far if these specials will be for sale or if they'll remain at Bugatti's headquarters in Molsheim, but if they do find their way to market, you can expect them to be marketed at a considerable premium.

The presentation at Villa d'Este is the second of many celebrations which Bugatti has lined up to celebrate its centenary this year, following the Bleu Centenaire edition presented at the Geneva show and ahead of Pebble Beach in August and the grand finale in Molsheim on September 12. So stay tuned, but in the meantime, check out the high-res images in the gallery below and the details in the press release after the jump.

[Source: Bugatti]


100 years of Bugatti at Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este

Bugatti Automobiles Pays Homage with four special Veyron models to Ettore Bugatti's
Masterpiece: The Type 35 Grand Prix

Molsheim/Cernobbio on 26 April 2009 – In a further highlight on this year's agenda of centennial
celebrations, Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. presented four Bugatti Veyron specials at Villa d'Este
Concorso d'Eleganza. These one off models are reminders of Bugatti's glorious motor-racing
history which played a central role in popularising and ultimately establishing the myth which the
brand continues to enjoy to this day.

The Bugatti brand is almost inextricably linked to the Type 35. The Type 35 Grand Prix was by far the
most successful racing model. The unmistakable radiator grille and eight-spoke aluminium wheels of
the Type 35 have become defining features of the Bugatti automobile. In its day, the Grand Prix was
also well ahead of its time in terms of engineering ingenuity. The front axle design of this vehicle,
which, for reasons of weight minimisation, is hollow, is a true masterpiece of workmanship and was
deemed nothing less than revolutionary. Its springs were passed through the axle to produce a high
level of stability. The Grand Prix's brake drums were integrally fitted into its lightweight aluminium
wheels. Unfastening the central wheel nut allowed the wheel to be easily removed within a matter of
seconds and the brake to be exposed. This was a crucial advantage at the pit stop.

2000 wins in ten years

The blue racers made their first appearance on the race track at the Grand Prix held by Automobil
Club de France in Lyon in 1924. In the decade that followed, they remained practically unchallenged
thanks to sophisticated manufacturing efforts, their lightweight design and easy handling. During that
ten-year era, they won almost 2000 races – more than any other model ever has. Grand Prix races were
highly fashionable events in those days, and Bugatti was not the only brand with considerable interest
in substantiating the reputation of its products by winning races. In fact, in the 1920s, Europe was
regularly host to a number of different races in different countries on a single weekend. The teams set
up by different automobile manufacturers competed at popular race circuits such as Targa Florio, Le
Mans, Monza and Spa as well as in Rome, Nice, Antibes and even a village in Alsace.

The main reason Bugatti won such an enormous number of races – on the back of which successes the
brand was also able to forge its image – was the fact that Bugatti sold not only its normal sports and
touring cars to private buyers, but its racing cars too. Thus it was that its automobiles took part in such
a large number of Grand Prix events.

This bestowed upon Ettore Bugatti a double success. He was able on the one hand to sell his racing cars
expensively to wealthy private buyers with a keen sporting ambition and, on the other, to capitalise on
their successes on international racing circuits – without actually having to make a single investment in
these "marketing activities". This stroke of genius by "Le Patron" not only brought him immortal
fame, but a substantial fortune as well. A total of 350 legendary Type 35-series automobiles were
ultimately built – in a wide variety of versions. Those that survived their racing days, accidents, World
War II and all other risks over the years, have become coveted and highly priced collectors' items.

Four Type 35 Grand Prix models – Four distinct personalities – Four Veyrons

Tradition being what it is, the Bugatti Veyron Specials built to mark the 100th anniversary of the brand
feature the racing colours of the respective countries: blue for France, red for Italy, green for England
and white for Germany. Each of the four new Veyrons has a specific "predecessor" in the form of an
original Grand Prix Bugatti on which it was modelled. These four historic race cars represent the
generation of legendary Bugatti Grand Prix racers which were piloted by world-famous race-car drivers
and which scored countless racing victories in the 1920s and '30s. Each of the four Veyron Specials is
named after a Bugatti race-car driver of the 1920s and 30s. Jean-Pierre Wimille has given the blue
Veyron its name, Achille Varzi the red one, Malcolm Campbell the green one and Hermann zu
Leiningen the white Veyron.

Jean-Pierre Wimille was one of the longest-serving drivers at Bugatti. He only joined the team in
Molsheim in 1933, but subsequently remained loyal to the brand, ultimately driving home Bugatti's
last-ever victory in 1947 at Bois de Boulogne in a 4.7-litre Monoposto Type 59/50 B. Wimille's many
previous successes included winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1937 and 1939. Achille Varzi was a
member of the official Bugatti team from 1931 to 1933. He had already achieved many successes since
1928 driving a private Type 35 C, then later went on to win the Monaco Grand Prix, an event on
Berlin's Avus circuit and other races. As the setter of numerous world records for speed, the name
Malcolm Campbell is firmly established in racing history. He also competed in countless "normal"
races from 1911 and 1936, often piloting a Bugatti Type 39 A or Type 35, and he owned one of the
legendary Type 57 S street sports cars. Prinz Hermann zu Leiningen's career driving Bugattis began in
1927 when he purchased a Type 40 chassis, for which he had a racing body built. He went on to win a
number or races in a privately owned Type 37 A before eventually standing in the spotlight of the
international racing scene in a 35 C for several years from 1930 onward.

"We have put a lot of effort into translating colour and material, the defining characteristics of our
historic role models, into the designs of the modern-day Veyrons," explains Alasdair Stewart, Director
Sales & Marketing at Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. "We have taken extreme care to match the original
colours of the original race cars, exterior and interior"

On Sunday, the four historic racing Type 35s and the four modern-day Centenaire EditionVeyrons
will be exhibited alongside each other in the park of Villa Erba for the first and only time.

Ahead of that presentation, Bugatti will on Saturday be prominently represented in the park of Villa
d'Este by a special-display-class exhibition of models, which will serve to portray the 100-year history
of the brand. Bugatti's participation in the classic Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este at Lake Como will
be the second highlight event to mark the carmaker's centennial celebrations after it took part in the
International Geneva Motor Show in early March. This latest event will be followed by the Pebble
Beach Concours d'Elegance in California in mid-August and the main celebratory event on 12
September in Molsheim (Alsace), which has been the home of this unparalleled automobile brand for
100 years.

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      On a completely odd note, these strike me as pieces that would combine to form the Voltron of Veyrons...
      • 6 Years Ago
      wake me when something that is actually new comes out of Bugatti.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I think you'll be asleep for a while, there's the matter of selling enough veyrons to pay off the initial R&D on the car that VW's currently focusing on. This would have been more engaging if they’d at least used the convertible.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Yay, another limited edition of the Veyron. The entire automotive industry was waiting with bated breath. I really do love the Veyron, but talk about overexposed....
      • 6 Years Ago
      Bugatti is getting like the comic books of the nineties---everything that comes out is a special edition.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I think the fact that it has a Bugatti badge on it gives them to right to make however many special editions they want. With a history that includes cars like the Royale and the Atlantic, one could argue that every car they make is already special.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The Veyron's over rated. I've driven the M6, and can't imagine something that weighs the same and brings twice the hp to the table would be worth driving.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You're kidding right?
        • 6 Years Ago
        I agree with Zamafir.

        I recently drove the Avalon, and I cant believe that something with 10 more cylinders, 720 more HP, 2 more driven wheels, 4 more turbochargers can be any better. For 100000X the price.

        Or maybe I'm just envious.....
      • 6 Years Ago
      Is it me, or do these look like Cylon Raiders from the reimagined BSG?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Looking at pics like these, I can't help but wonder what an interesting conversation and experience it would be for the likes of Ettore Bugatti, Enzo Ferrari, and Ferruccio Lamborghini to see the course the iconic companies they founded took in terms of design and performance.

      Would they be impressed? Would they be disappointed? Would the praise or chastise the powers that be that have taken the reigns of their companies?

      Again, pure fantasy but always interesting to speculate. Especially if they could see the cars they originally created next to their modern day counterparts.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Black and chrome looks pretty sick
      • 6 Years Ago
      Sorry to double post but I wanted to make sure
      I was clear that my comment was to Zamafir
      and not about the car.

      You're kidding right?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Those look SICK!
      • 6 Years Ago

      I wonder of Bugatti might be more impressed with Lotus than with the current cars that bear his name. His race cars from the 20's were innovative, lightweight, and had extraordinary handling for the period, but weren't necessarily the most powerful. The road cars were pretty grand, but even today I'm far more intrigued by the 57SC Atlantic than I am by the Veyron.

      And I agree with Zamafir. After a certain point what does more power give you besides acceleration that you can only rarely if ever use in the real world? A Veyron still gets smoked at the dragstrip by a car with a better power to weight ration and smoked on a twisty rural road by a lighter car with the same power to weight ratio that changes direction better. It's a great but overpowered GT car.
      As a sports car the most important things are still handling, steering, stopping and balance through high speed bends.

      Horsepower is overrated.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Everytime I see a new special edition of the Veyron, they remind me of a basketball sneaker. Same paint schemes but they just move the various colors around. Plus they kind of look like a sneaker anyway.
    • Load More Comments