2007 Goodwood Festival of Speed: Bugatti Royales

The Bugatti Royale was an interesting car. It was quite a novel idea for an automaker to build vehicles exclusively for royalty and heads of state, and though It's been 80 years since Bugatti introduced the Type 41 Royale, the cars look as stunning as ever. Altogether, six Royales were built. Five of them were at Goodwood this weekend. At first, they thought it was only going to be four (only four?), but the Henry Ford Museum came through and brought over the fifth one at the last minute. All of the cars are unique, but one stands out in particular. It's a stunning cream-colored two-door cab with coachwork by Weinberger. Very beautiful.

Two of the other four Royales had to have special leave granted by the French authorities. They are normally on permanent display at the Musée National de l'Auto (Collection Schlumpf) in Mulhouse, France. The fourth Royale came directly from Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S., and the last, the Kellner Coupé, was on loan from its owner. That's $60 million worth of cars gathered under one tent. Big and powerful (they have huge 300 hp, 12,763 cc engines), $60 million is a heck of a lot of money for five cars, but they seem so worth it in person. Not to sound greedy or anything, but it's a shame the American owner of the last Royale couldn't be persuaded to put his on display as well. Seeing one is rare, two is almost impossible, but five is simply unimaginable. Only the full roster of six could have topped it.

All photos © 2007 Frank Filipponio / Weblogs, Inc.

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