Bugatti sets sail with carbon-fiber yachts for the ultra-rich

Palmer Johnson PJ63 Niniette front 3/4
  • Image Credit: Bugatti
  • Palmer Johnson PJ63 Niniette front 3/4
  • Palmer Johnson PJ63 Niniette rear 3/4
  • Palmer Johnson PJ63 Niniette Monaco
  • Palmer Johnson PJ63 Niniette Bugatti
Pelican or no pelican, taking a Bugatti into water is usually a costly mistake – unless it's one of these new motor yachts licensed by the Alsatian automaker. Built by renowned American-Monegasque shipyard Palmer Johnson, the new Niniette range is built on a hull made of carbon fiber, tinted blue like so many special edition Bugattis and offset by titanium and wood trim.

"Niniette" was the nickname of Ettore's daughter Lidia, which the founder also used on some of the racing boats he designed back in the 1930s. The vessels will be offered in three sizes, measuring 42, 63, and 88 feet, respectively, from bow to stern, with lines inspired by classic Bugattis like the Type 57 C Atalante and the Type 41 Royale.

Though Palmer Johnson isn't saying what engines will go below deck, likely won't be Bugatti's 8.0-liter quad-turbo W16 engine. We're sure that Bugatti's VW Group sister company Man SE will gladly fit it with a pair of large turbodiesels, though. Then again, a V12 from Motori Marini Lamborghini might be more suitable. Whatever the motivation, the shipyard – which normally builds much larger vessels – says the mid-range PJ63 should top out at 38 nautical miles per hour, which is equivalent to over 43 mph.

This being a Bugatti, it won't come cheap. Prices start at €2 million ($2.2m), and the PJ63 Niniette pictured here is quoted at €3.5 million ($3.8m). Each one will be made to order according to the buyer's specifications, and ought to keep the EB marque's ultra-wealthy clientele satisfied while they await the arrival of the forthcoming new Chiron supercar.

This isn't the first time we're seeing a high-end European automaker dip its toes in the water with its own motorboat design. Jaguar designed its own speedboat concept to accompany the XF Sportbrake, Mercedes-AMG has partnered with Cigarette racing boats, Porsche Design has dabbled in boat design, and Audi designed a hybrid trimaran a few years back. Ben Walsh penned a speedboat inspired by the Veyron Sang Bleu, but that one wasn't officially sanctioned by the factory.

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- Palmer Johnson is new lifestyle license partner for Bugatti
- Latest model series from luxury yacht builder to start with exclusive model featuring distinctive - Bugatti design elements and advanced materials
- First model with carbon fiber hull to bear the name Niniette
- Luxury yacht available in three sizes can be ordered with immediate effect
- Prices start at €2 million

Molsheim/Monaco, December 4, 2015. -- The makers of the world's fastest production super sports car, Bugatti, and the world's largest motor yacht builder, Palmer Johnson, are embarking on a joint project. Under licence granted by Bugatti, the world renowned yacht brand has designed a new series of stunning and elegant open carbon-fibre sport yachts, featuring distinctive Bugatti design elements and advanced materials. The series bears the Niniette name and is available in three models from 42ft to 88ft. Prices for the smallest model start at €2 million.

Company founder Ettore Bugatti had already developed racing boats and yachts in the 1930s. The visionary's very personal relationship with his yachts is evident from the names he gave them: Niniette was the pet name of his daughter Lidia. Now, more than 80 years later, this tradition has been revived and the brand motto of "Art, Forme, Technique" is once again being applied to a boat.

As with the sports cars, the Bugatti design team followed its approach "Form follows Performance". The luxury yacht with its carbon fiber hull takes up style elements of Bugatti's iconic classic cars and combines them with the revolutionary hull shape of Palmer Johnson's SuperSport series. The design is characterized by the falling shoulder line of the Bugatti Type 57 C Atalante and the perfectly balanced proportions of the Type 41 Royale. Purist, flowing surfaces and lines create a perfect equilibrium between elegance and sportiness.

The close link between the Palmer Johnson Niniette and Bugatti's design DNA is also evident from the accentuated waist line and the typical two-tone color scheme. Viewed from the side, the design is highlighted by a contrasting blend of ultra-strong ultra-lightweight titanium and dark blue exposed carbon fiber. On deck, the combination of a brown bubinga, maple or naturally blue morta oak wood provides a warm contrast with the lightweight high-tech materials.

The design of the Niniette's hull is based on Palmer Johnson's ground-breaking SuperSport series – a mono-hull with two sponsons that provide greater stability at speeds and also at anchor. According to the yacht builder, the top speed of the carbon fiber yacht is 38 knots (about 70 km/h).

The central model in the new series is the PJ63 Niniette, with a length of 63 feet (almost 20 meters) and a beam of 20.3ft (6.2 meters). This yacht features a 63 m² salon on deck, a 43 m² salon below deck, luxurious accommodation for up to 4 guests and a crew cabin. On request, Bugatti can tailor the interior to meet customers' individual requirements. The PJ63 Niniette has a basic price of about €3.25 million.

The boat's sisters, the PJ42 Niniette and the PJ88 Niniette, have lengths of 42 feet (almost 13 meters) and 88 feet (almost 27 meters) respectively. The production time for all three models is about 12 months.

"This very special project brings together two brands with more than 100 years of experience in high-end hand crafting in their respective fields," explains Dr. Stefan Brungs, Member of the Board of Management of Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. responsible for Sales and Marketing: "Bugatti and Palmer Johnson share outstanding lightweight design expertise. Inspired by Bugatti's design DNA, Palmer Johnson has created not only an incredibly elegant and beautiful yacht but also a masterpiece of craftsmanship featuring carbon fiber, titanium and precious wood. This collector's item will thrill maritime aficionados."

"The Palmer Johnson Niniette is the result of a maverick vision to perfect that delicate alchemy between desire and demand. Both Palmer Johnson and Bugatti share deeply held core values of reaching for what we cannot see, of reaching high to deliver the next unimagined experience, of always distancing ourselves from the herd," says Timur Mohamed, owner of Palmer Johnson, talking about the cooperation. "This is backed by the deeply rooted claims of both brands to reach goals no one expects and always to go one step further. Bugatti and Palmer Johnson are united by the vision of not just thinking outside the box but moving into completely uncharted waters." He adds: "We are proud to be able to use Bugatti's name and design DNA for our exciting new model line."

About Palmer Johnson

From the wooden boats built by Palmer Johnson at the beginning of its history through later sailing yachts that won many major championship races to the groundbreaking design of sports yachts in the past decade and the company's revolutionary SuperSport series, Palmer Johnson's brand attributes have always been design, performance and emotional attraction. Founded in 1918 with its current headquarters in Moncao, Palmer Johnson has become a yacht building pioneer. After breaking new ground in aluminum shipbuilding, the luxury yacht maker built the first hull entirely made from carbon fiber and the world's largest carbon fiber motor yacht that resets the benchmarks in Superyacht performance and design.

Like Bugatti, the Palmer Johnson name also stands for ultimate performance. Fortuna, built in 1979 for the King of Spain, was the world's fastest yacht for a decade. Turmoil, the first expeditionary yacht of its type, has travelled around the world three times. La Baronessa is the largest aluminum yacht ever built in the USA. The latest aluminum sports yachts and the new generation of carbon fiber SuperSport yachts combine design with highly advanced technology and have established the image of modern yachts on the oceans of the world.

About Bugatti

Bugatti is the brand of a family of artists who distinguished themselves in an environment where other automotive brands were operated by entrepreneurs with a purely technical background. The company founder Ettore Bugatti, born and raised in Milan, Italy, succeeded in uniting this artistic approach with his technical innovations, thus creating the foundation of a design language that was to mould the Bugatti marque. The result has been a series of vehicles far ahead of their time, and which are today numbered amongst the most valuable classic cars in the world. The brand's central philosophy of "Art, Forme, Technique" is a description of its mystique.

Still based where the brand was founded more than 100 years ago, in Molsheim (Alsace, France), Bugatti today is an ingenious combination of the artistic roots of its Italian founders, the distinctive understanding of the French for exclusive luxury products and brands as well as the internationally acknowledged German engineering and technological leadership.

Bugatti opened a new chapter of its successful future at the start of this century with the Veyron 16.4. The Veyron is the most powerful and fastest production sports car in the world and is unmatched in terms of performance, unique hand-crafted manufacturing and exclusive equipment with the highest degree of individualisation options. All 450 vehicles have been sold. So far no other car manufacturer has managed to successfully market a product that stands for unrivalled technical performance and pure luxury at comparable volume and prices. Currently Bugatti is working on its next super sports car which will be called Chiron and celebrate its world premiere at the Geneva International Motor Show 2016.

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