Thursday, March 2, 2006

What $1,400,000 Looks Like

This is the 2006 Bugatti Veyron. It has a 1,001 horsepower engine and goes from 0 to 60 in 2.5 seconds — and tops out at 254 mph. It lists at $1.4 million, not including title, taxes, and trade-in. There will only be 300 built, and the one in these pictures, taken at Braman Motors in Miami, is the only one in North America. Nicholas Spangler of the Miami Herald got to take it for a drive. The best Bob and I could do was walk around it and take pictures.

The history of the Bugatti automobile is legendary and one of the premiere marquees of European racing from 1881 to 1947. The famous horseshoe grille — appropriately carried forth in the new version — was as recognizable on the racing circuit as the Mercedes-Benz star.

Not like it’s sour grapes or anything, but having a car like this in Miami would be a huge waste. Other than the HOV flyover at the Golden Glades interchange on I-95, there are no hills, no curving roads, and the closest you can get to accelerating from 0 to 60 is the MacArthur Causeway on-ramp. A car like this needs to be driven on winding roads with the mountains on one side, the ocean on the other, Dave Brubeck playing on the sound system, and the imaginary lover of your dreams in the passenger seat. In short, this car is a $1.4 million dollar Viagra prescription.

But even if you’re not especially into automobiles and think that a 1,001 horsepower engine in a hand-made body that goes for a list price that could buy you a decent seven-room house on Key Biscayne is an amazing show of ostentatiousness and conspicuous consumption, you have to admit that it is a magnificent piece of automotive styling and grace in a remarkably compact and understated manner.