The Bugatti Legends exclusive edition commemorates the heroes
We take a look at The Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse Les Legendes (Bugatti Legends)
by Gregory Berdette
If Michelangelo Could Have Designed A Car, We’d Have The Bugatti Meo Costantini Legend
A good piece of art should make you stop and take notice. A great piece of art can combine tragedy with beauty in a way that compels you to contemplate the vision of the artist. A masterpiece will change your view of the world, and cost you a fortune. A Bugatti Legend will do all of these things, and leave you breathless, exhilarated, and feeling a strange sense of lust for anything that falls within your field of vision.
The concept behind the Legends was for Bugatti to develop a way to commemorate the individuals who have been instrumental, in one form or another, to the development and heritage of the Bugatti name. The Legends were released over a one year period, with the last (and most significant) being the Legend named after Ettore Bugatti himself. There are six different Legends in total, and only three copies of each Legend will be produced. They’ll all most likely be sold to collectors and will likely never see more than 10,000km each, if they even hit the road at all. But that won’t matter, because these Legends do their thing best while standing still.
What’s In A Name?
Have you ever wondered why Bugatti named the Veyron the Veyron? It’s an aggressive sounding word that could mean either ‘shark’ or ‘tiger’ in a foreign language, or be the name of a famous fighting bull or German Thoroughbred racing horse, but it’s not. The Veyron was named after Pierre Veyron, a French racing driver who was Bugatti’s test driver, development engineer, and factory racing driver during the 1930s. Pierre Veyron, among other things, won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1939 driving a Bugatti Type 57S. This gives us an idea of where the inspiration for the Legends arose.
The Jean-Pierre Wimille Bugatti
The first Legend is named after Jean-Pierre Wimille, who was Pierre Veyron’s co-pilot during the 1939 24 Hours of Le Mans, and who also won the race in 1937 with Robert Benoist. During World War II, Wimille fought with the French Resistance, alongside Benoist and another Frenchman, William Grover-Williams, who was also a Grand Prix racing driver and a racer of Bugattis. Wimille was the only one of the three to survive the war. Both Grover-Williams and Benoist were captured and executed by the Nazis.
The Jean-Pierre Wimille Legend sports the French racing colours from that period, with extensive use of Bugatti’s blue clear-coated carbon fibre bodywork across the haunches, sills and fenders. The Jean-Pierre Wimille is not a huge deviation from what can normally be expected from a Bugatti Veyron in terms of style and creativity, although it is tastefully done, which is not always something that happens when customers get to choose their own options. What the Jean-Pierre Wimille represents is the starting point for the Legends. It cleans the palate and calms the nerves in an attempt to prepare us for what is to come.
The Jean Bugatti
The second Legend is dedicated to Jean Bugatti, the eldest son of founder Ettore Bugatti. Jean ran the company (and designed and engineered the Type 57) from 1936 until his untimely death in 1939, when he crashed a Type 57 Tank during testing. He swerved to avoid a drunken bicyclist who had squeezed through a hole in the fence at the track, and crashed into a tree. He was 30 years old. The Jean Bugatti is a fierce jet-black with platinum brightwork and is designed after Jean Bugatti’s personal Type 57SC, of which only four were produced (the 57SC is the supercharged version of the 57S, which was itself a lowered version of the 57). A Type 57SC (not Jean Bugatti’s, it was lost during WWII) currently sits in Ralph Lauren’s collection and is valued at $40 million. The interior of the Jean Bugatti is a soothing combination of light and dark browns that both offsets and compliments the menacing exterior magnificently. The Jean Bugatti represents both the bright and sorrowful history of the marque.
The Meo Costantini Bugatti
The third Legend is the Meo Costantini, and this is what Michelangelo would have designed if he were alive today. Dedicated to one of Bugatti’s most successful racers and also head of the factory racing team from 1927 to 1935, the Meo Costantini features clear-coated, polished aluminium on it’s doors and fenders. The contrast with the bright and milky Bugatti racing blue is shocking, breathtaking, and beautiful (it’s the type of colourful contrast that Michelangelo would have chosen). The vehicle ceases to look like an automobile and begins to look like something else entirely. Like Michelangelo transforming a slab of marble into the Madonna of Bruges, the Meo Costantini transforms the Bugatti Veyron into a vehicle that looks as if it could transport you to the stars, the heavens, or even through time itself.