One-off made by Bugatti for a mega-rich super-fan is more than double the price of a Divo. By Jake Groves.
Happy 110th anniversary to Bugatti – and happy new-car-collection day to one extremely wealthy hypercar fan. La Voiture Noire – literally, the Black Car in French – is a one-off creation that at €11m (around £9.4m) before tax is one of the most expensive new vehicles ever to roll out of a car factory.
The extreme hypercar uses the limited-edition 2018 Divo’s version of the familiar Bugatti 8.0-litre quad-turbo W16 engine, producing 1480bhp and 1180lb ft of torque. But the body’s inspiration is from the distant past: a 1936 Type 57 SC Atlantic with the same nickname. Of the four made, one was used by founder Ettore Bugatti’s son Jean, until he gave it to Bugatti racer Robert Benoist as a reward for winning the 1937 Le Mans 24 Hours. Another went missing shortly before the Nazis invaded France and has never resurfaced.
The modern version has a body made of carbonfibre and finished in a deep gloss black. ‘We worked long and hard on this design until there was nothing we could improve,’ says Bugatti designer Etienne Salomé. ‘For us, the coupe represents the perfect form with a perfect finish.’
The Divo-inspired headlights have integrated air vents, while the tyres are painted to merge with the gigantic alloys, and the C-pillars are smaller than the Chiron’s or the Divo’s – a nod to the original Voiture Noire. The car also seems to have reversed into a pipe organ, as no fewer than six exhaust pipes poke out of a protruding rear splitter; all the better to let that nuclear reactor of an engine roar.
Who is the new owner? All we know is that it’s a Bugatti Atlantic buff with the funds to get Bugatti crafting something unique. The nearest point of reference is with the Rolls-Royce Sweptail, a similarly flamboyant one-off from 2017. Its equally anonymous buyer kept the price quiet, but it was estimated at around the same as the new La Voiture Noire.
‘Customers expect us to continually surprise them; we have just succeeded in doing so with La Voiture Noire,’ says Bugatti boss Stephan Winkelmann. ‘We are paying homage to our heritage and bringing speed, technology, luxury and aesthetics to a new era.’