Last week, Greenwich, CT motorists were joined on the roads by a particularly special guest: the mind-blowing Bugatti Veyron. Now, exotics in Greenwich are actually quite commonplace -- the area is very affluent and is home to several successful high-end dealerships.
Miller Motorcars sells Ferrari, Maserati, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, and Aston Martin in three showrooms all within a stone's throw of each other. For car lovers, the trip up West Putnam Avenue and past the Miller dealerships is similar to attending a car show -- a really, really good one, at that.
Two Veyrons had arrived at Miller Motorcars' Bentley / Rolls-Royce facility at the beginning of last week so that prospective customers could have an opportunity to inspect the cars up close. I grabbed my camera and drove out to Miller one afternoon instead of having lunch, figuring that this is one of the few opportunities I'd have to get a really good look at the car. I saw the prototype in 2004, but it was behind a glass wall at a show.
This was altogether different...
(Click to continue reading. More photos follow after the jump.)
Inside the Rolls showroom was a Black/Titanium Grey Veyron with a Grenadine (dark red) interior. I don't think its possible to overstate how impressive the car is in person. It's big, but it's so well-proportioned, it looks more compact than it actually is. Sharing the floor with the Veyron was a Wempe display showcasing the Bugatti-branded jewelery line being released in conjunction with the car. I introduced myself to Michael Parchment, the dealership's Rolls-Royce general manager, and he graciously allowed me to climb into the Veyron to see how it felt. Build quality is absolutely rock-solid. There was nothing fragile about the car at all. The turned aluminum centerstack was beautiful to behold, and all the switchgear worked with authoritative, heavy clicks. The carbon fiber seats were wrapped in leather and incredibly supportive, and the interior surfaces were all of the most premium quality you could imagine.
I moved outside next, where the second Veyron was parked. Finished in White/Soft Silver with a light interior color called "Silk," this car was wearing California manufacturer tags. It was being used to take clients out for test rides, and the driver handling those duties was none other than Dyson Racing's Butch Leitzinger.
While I was there, Butch came out and started the car, revving the engine a bit for the small group that had gathered around. The sound was one of the most authoritative, goosebump-inducing things I'd ever heard. At idle, a pronounced burble emanates from the center-mounted exhaust, but overall, the car is very quiet. At higher revs, however, it breaks into song -- loud, deep, and mixed with an almost supercharger-like whine that lends an added sense of urgency as the gigantic 16-cylinder quad-turbo spools to life. It's a sound you remember, from a car that is utterly unforgettable.
Leitzinger told us that the car is quite easy to drive, actually. This sentiment was reinforced by Michael Parchment, who told me that some customers who own other supercars commented that while they'd never consider driving one of them to dinner, for example, that the Bugatti is so easy to pilot, they'd happily use it for a night out on the town.
The gathering broke up as Butch jumped in the driver's seat to take someone out in the car. It growled at us as it pulled onto the street. Perma-grins were affixed to most of the faces left behind.
It's pretty incredible when you think about it: a $1.4 million (depending on the exchange rates -- officially, the car's cost is 1.1 million Euros), 987-horsepower street missile that's gentle enough to take to the grocery store, yet capable of 248 mph under the proper conditions.
Some would look at it and dismissively label it as being absurd. To me, a different word comes to mind:
Many thanks to Miller Motorcars and Michael Parchment for their time and the access to their automobiles. You can visit Miller Motorcars on the web at www.MillerMotorcars.com.
Photos: Alex Nunez.
Just for fun, here are a few of the other denizens of Miller's Bentley/Rolls-Royce/Aston martin complex: