Steane Klose | Apr 28, 2009

For a company that produces so few cars, Bugatti sure know how to make a lot of noise. The latest special edition variants of the high-hitting Veyron are no exception, and have arrived with much fanfare.

Continuing celebrations to mark Bugatti's centennial year have now given us not one, not two, but four special edition Bugatti Veyron Centenaires.

Each pays tribute to the famous Bugatti Type 35 Grand Prix and a particular driver from an era spanning 2000 race victories between the two world wars.

Unveiled at the Villa d'Este auto show in northern Italy, the two tone rarities are named after the driver they represent.

bugatti_veyron_centenaire

The Bugatti Veyron Jean-Pierre Wimille edition is presented in bright blue, the Hermann zu Leiningen in off-white, the Achille Varzi in dark red, and the Malcolm Campbell in dark green.

There's no word on whether any of these one-off creations will be available for sale, but if so, expect the asking price to be astronomically high.

The Centenaire Veyrons are the latest in a string of special edition vehicles celebrating Bugatti's 100th anniversary. With further celebrations planned throughout the year, these probably won't be the last specials we'll see.

We'll be paying very close attention to the Frankfurt Motor Show where Bugatti is expected to unveil an even more powerful Veyron GT, as well as the rumoured Bugatti Royale.

For now though, take a closer look at the Bugatti Veyrone Centenaire in the gallery below and hit the press release for more information on the Veyron, as well as a short history lesson on the Type 35.

PRESS RELEASE

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.

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