Here’s the fifth model in the six-part “Les Légendes de Bugatti” (Bugatti Legends) Edition, the Bugatti Veyron Black Bess. Unveiled at Auto China 2014, it’s a nod to the Type 18 “Black Bess”, which went down in automotive history as one of the first ever street legal super sports cars. Manufactured from 1912 to 1914, its 5.0 litre inline-four engine made over 100 PS, and the old car was good for 160 km/h, a big deal in that era.
“Over the course of its history, Bugatti has not only been responsible for crafting enormously successful race cars, but has also created some outstanding road vehicles. As the fastest road vehicle of its time, the Type 18 was in a class of its own. It truly is the legitimate forerunner for the Veyron, and is therefore a Bugatti legend,” notes Dr Wolfgang Schreiber, president of Bugatti.
Like the Legends before it, the Black Bess is based on the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse. Its 8.0 litre W16 engine achieves an 1,200 PS and 1,500 Nm from 3,000 to 5,000 rpm, enough to accelerate the two-seater from 0-100 km/h in 2.6 seconds. With a maximum speed of 408.84 km/h with the roof down, the Vitesse is the fastest production roadster ever built.
The body of the Black Bess Vitesse is constructed entirely of carbon fibre and, just like its historical predecessor, is painted completely black. The gold accents that make the Type 18 so unmistakable are reflected on the modern car, with some components coated in 24-carat gold. Gold stripes start below the headlights and radiate out over the front wings, before tapering off at the end of the door line.
Sporting a similarly brilliant gold finish are the EB logo on the rear of the vehicle and the hub covers on the black rims, which also bear the initials of the company’s founder, Ettore Bugatti, in black. The tank and oil caps have been engraved with the “Black Bess” nameplate and elegantly finished with gold paint.
Inside, the headliner, footwell, seats, elongated centre console and rear bulkhead are in a light beige tone, with the dashboard, dash panel, door trim panel and cowl panel offering a discreet contrast in “Havanna”. Clad in red “Crimson” leather, the steering wheel rim draws a clear reference to the Type 18. Red continues on the decorative stitching on the outer bolsters of the seats and in the seat belts.
The door panels really stand out. Both panels bear scenes which depict the Type 18 as well as Roland Garros’ airplane, a Morane Saulnier Type H. These sketches are hand-painted directly onto the leather.
To protect the images from abrasion and the environment, both a special new ink and a new impregnation process have been developed. To make it even more special, none of the six door panels in the three Black Bess Legend vehicles are identical.
Gold can also be found in the cabin, such as the EB logo on the cover of the rear storage compartment, which is also finished in beige leather and hand-painted with a motif showing the historic car.
Of course, typical Legend features have also been included, namely the beige, leather-clad insert in the centre console extension which bears the “Les Légendes de Bugatti” nameplate, the relief of the dancing elephant (the symbol for the Legends Edition, with gold finish for this model), and the door sills bearing the image of the Type 18 “Black Bess”.
As with all models in the Legends Edition, the Black Bess is limited to a run of three units and is available for a nett price of 2.15 million euros (RM9.67 million). Of the four Legends already presented (Rembrandt Bugatti, Jean-Pierre Wimille, Jean Bugatti and Meo Costantini), all twelve vehicles have been sold, so there will be a line for this black beauty for sure.