Four Bugatti Veyron Specials revealed at Villa d’Este Concorso d’Eleganza

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 29, 2010

As part of its centennial celebrations, Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. has unveiled four Bugatti Veyron specials at Villa d'Este Concorso d'Eleganza, each paying tribute to the brand's prestigious history in motorsports, which was crucial in promoting the brand as well as in establishing the legend that remains until today.

These four limited edition Veyrons specifically pay tribute to the Type 35 Grand Prix, an iconic racing machine closely linked to the Bugatti brand. In fact, the distinct radiator grille and eight-spoke aluminum wheels of the Type 35 are already signature elements of the Bugatti brand.

To note, the Bugatti Type 35 Grand Prix was considered a machine ahead of its time in terms of engineering attributes. For instance, the Type 35 Grand Prix boasts of a hollow front axle design intended to reduce the car's overall weight. This front axle design was considered an innovation at the time, with the springs passing through the axle for a high level of stability.

Moreover, the Type 35 Grand Prix featured brake drums integrally fitted into the lightweight aluminum wheels. This design has been proven to be of a great advantage during pit stops since the crew could easily remove the wheel and expose the brake in just a few seconds just by unfastening the central wheel nut.

Known as blue racers because of their exterior color, Type 35 Grand Prix race cars were simply legendary after logging around 2,000 wins in just a decade. The Type 35 Grand Prix had its racing debut in 1924 at the Grand Prix held by Automobil Club de France in Lyon.

This racing machine was simply unmatched for an entire decade, practically because of their sophistication and intelligent lightweight design as well as easy handling. Of course, Bugatti was not the only one who wanted to build up the reputation of the brand and its products by winning prestigious races – a number of carmakers also had teams vying for crowns of different races.

By the 1920s, Europe was already a hot bed for racing, with different races in different countries scheduled on a single weekend. By then, the most popular destinations for prestigious racing events were the Targa Florio, Le Mans, Spa and Monza. Other racing events were also held in Rome, Nice, Antibes and Alsace.

At the time, Bugatti's ability to win race after race was backed by the fact that aside from its conventional normal sports and touring cars, it was also selling racing cars to private buyers. A good number of Bugatti race cars were participating in several Grand Prix events, which means that the brand had a better chance of winning any race than its rivals.

Consequently, company founder Ettore Bugatti reaped successes in many aspects. With its winning reputation, the founder was able to sell race cars at a high price to wealthy buyers who have sporting ambitions and at the same time take credit on the successes in various racing circuits around world – all achieved without having to shell out a single investment in these "marketing activities," resulting to a great amount of money entering his coffers.

Overall, Bugatti built around 350 Type 35-series – in various versions – with some even managing to survive accidents, a war and other circumstances through the years. These surviving Type 35s – with their history, antiquity and heritage – have become highly coveted collectors' items. Thus, in commemoration of Bugatti's 100 years, it was only rational to derive the four limited edition Veyrons from the Type 35 Grand Prix. Each of these Veyron Specials has its own distinct personality.

For instance, each limited edition features the racing colors of the respective countries: blue for France, red for Italy, green for England and white for Germany. Moreover, each Veyron Special has a specific "predecessor" in the form of the original Grand Prix Bugatti after which it was fashioned. They represent the generation of iconic Bugatti Grand Prix racers driven by world-renowned race drivers and which scored countless racing victories in the 1920s and '30s.

Interestingly, these Veyron Specials were also named after these drivers. The blue Veyron Special was named after French racer Jean-Pierre Wimille, who was one of the longest-serving drivers at Bugatti. He was credited with winning the first 24 Hours of Le Mans for Bugatti in 1937, and following it up in 1939. Wimille signed up with the team in 1933, and remained with Bugatti for more than a decade.

He was also credited for grabbing Bugatti's last-ever victory in 1947 at Bois de Boulogne, driving a 4.7-liter Monoposto Type 59/50 B in the process. Meanwhile, the red Veyron Special was named after Italian driver Achille Varzi, who was part of the official Bugatti team from 1931 to 1933. Varzi earned a number of wins with a private Type 35 C since then.

His accomplishments include winning the Monaco Grand Prix and an event on Berlin's Avus circuit, among others. On the other hand, the green Veyron Special was named after Englishman Malcolm Campbell, who is known for setting a number of world records for speed.

Campbell took part in several "normal" races between 1911 and 1936, usually driving a Bugatti Type 39 A or Type 35. Moreover, Campbell was an owner of one of the iconic Type 57 S street sports cars. Lastly, the white Bugatti Special was named after German driver Prinz Hermann zu Leiningen, who started driving Bugattis in 1927 when he acquired a Type 40 chassis and built a racing body on it.

Press Release

Bugatti Automobiles Pays Homage with four special Veyron models to Ettore Bugatti's Masterpiece: The Type 35 Grand Prix

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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