The $18 Million Bugatti – The Bugatti La Voiture Noire

The $18 Million Bugatti – The Bugatti La Voiture Noire

January 29, 2020 0 By Gearhead

Bugatti La Voiture Noire, a supercar based on the Bugatti Chiron. Showed at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, it joins the Divo from the Chiron.

The La Voiture Noire is a modern reinterpretation of the Type 57 SC Atlantic made by Bugatti in the 1930s and was built to celebrate Bugatti’s 110th anniversary.

Only one was made and sold for more than $12 million without taxes.

Unlike the Divo, a car that was going to be built in 40 units, the La Voiture Noire will remain unique.

This vehicle was created specifically for a Bugatti enthusiast that is “fascinated by the Atlantic,” a coupe from the 1930s.

Despite the unique bodywork and details, the La Voiture Noire remains as a Chiron under the hood, so performance is similar to the vehicle it is based on.

The Beginning of the Bugatti La Voiture Noire

It started with the Aerolithe prototype of 1935 and continued with four production models in 1936 and 1938.

Each of them were crated for specific customers and had different details.

Three of them still exist, but the fourth car disappeared before the German invasion of Alsace during World War II, and it is nowhere to be found, despite 80 years of efforts to uncover it.

The missing car bears chassis number 57453 and it is the second Atlantic built. It’s known as the La Voiture Noire, from which the supercar draws its name, which translates to The Black Car.

Finished in 1936 and showcases at some auto shows in 1973, it was driven by Jean Bugatti himself for some times and then given to Bugatti driver Robert Benoist for winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 1937.

Benoit gave it to another driver a few months later and the car made it back to 1939.

The La Voiture Noire remained with the factory until 1941, when it was lost after being place placed on a list of cars that were sent to Bordeaux during the French exodus.

The La Voiture Noire on of the most mysterious vehicle disappearances and an enigma that enthusiasts have been struggling to solve for 80 years.

Bugatti La Voiture Noire Exterior

The windscreen flows seamlessly into the windows at the sides, which makes it look like a visor of a helmet. Although it’s based on the Chiron, like the Divo, the La Voiture Noire boasts a unique exterior.

The supercar still features Bugatti’s unique horseshoe grille, but almost everything else is different based on the Divo.

Needless to say, both the splitter and bumper vents are similar to the Divo’s, but both have a  more aggressive design. Also with a big diffuser that has four vertical fins and no fewer than six exhaust pipes.

It’s like Bugatti revised the aerodynamics for the model, but there’s no specific info on that. The headlamps are also new. Not only larger than the Divo’s, they a new LED pattern.

The front hood misses the vents we say on the Divo, and the louvers on top of the front fenders were removed.

The wipers that rest vertically at the center of the windscreen and the fin on the roof are two features that remind me of the Type 57 Atlantic.

The former simulates the Atlantic’s split-window design, while the latter replicates the Type 57’s central fin that kept the two-piece body together.

Because the original Atlantic prototype was made from elektron alloy, which blew up during welding, Bugatti used rivets to keep the body together through a central fin.

Production models were made from aluminum, but the Bugatti maintained the fin, which became a trademark design feature of the Atlantic.

Bugatti made notable changes to the car’s profile too. Compared to the Divo the La Voiture Noire has a more angular roofline, a notable change from the Chiron’s C-shaped trademark design, less aggressive aero elements on the fenders, and new side skirts.

The wheels are particularly striking their two-tone design and the fact that the silver paint on the five spokes extends onto the tires.

The reshaped cabin and side skirts also make the car look a bit longer. Unlike the Divo and the Chiron, which look like full-fledged hypercars, the La Voiture Noire looks a bit like a grand tourer.

The car’s rear fascia is unique as well. Although the wing and vertical fin is not inspired from the Divo, it’s just as aggressive. The menacing look is from the big diffuser that absorbs four vertical fins and the six exhaust pipes.

The Layout also tributes to the Atlantic, as the fins that descends from the roof toward the deck lid.

The arched engine hood also affects the boat-tail design of the Atlantic. The fascia is basically a massive grille with a thin red stripe that makes up the taillights. This stripe extends from one cornet to the other with a wave-like pattern. A big wing-like aspect sits above the diffuser, splitting the rear fascia into three areas and creating a double-diffuser effect.

The carbon-fiber body is painted in gloss black, but the fiber is still visible on some areas, including the bumpers, diffuser, splitter, and the side skirts.

Interior

It’s safe to think the La Voiture Noire features the Divo’s race-type seats.

Bugatti said nothing to say about the interior of the La Voiture Noire’s interior and didn’t show any pictures.

No one managed to get inside the car at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, so we don’t know what is happening in the interior.

However, the La Voiture Noire is heavily based on the Chiron. The same happened with the Divo, the cabin looks the same as the Chiron.

After all, Chirons are highly customizable, the owner had access to a wide ranged of options.

It’s difficult to say what might be behind the doors, but the guy who owns it is a big fan of the old Atlantic, so the interior could be inspired from the vintage and iconic coupe.

I’m guessing that the owner went for an all-black interior or a combo of black and brown, just like only a few black-painted Atlantics had.

This car should also lack storage compartments from the center console and the door panels. Bugatti removed them to save weight.

Beyond what finishing options the owner could have chosen, it’s safe to assume the La Voiture Noire features the same dashboard design, race-inspired seats, and wide center console. As a reminder, the Divo has sportier seats that offer greater lateral support.

The flat-bottom steering wheel might also include Atlantic type inserts for better grip and also include larger shift paddles.

Drivetrain

The 8.0-Liter W-16 engine that gets an amazing 1,497 horsepower and 1,180 pound-feet of torque. The La Voiture Noire is a regular Chiron under the hood. Compare the the Type 57’s engine with only 135 horsepower and you’ll understand what Bugatti been up to since the 1930s.

It’s not the most powerful supercar that you can buy. The Koenigsegg Jesko has a massive 1,578 horsepower on E85 Biofuel, while the SSC Tuatara has an amazing 1,750 horsepower on the same fuel.

There’s not a word on performance, but it’s safe to say that the La Voiture Noire is as quick as the Chiron and Divo.

Categorically, it needs around 2.5 seconds to hit 60 mph, from a standing start. Because it’s likely inspired from the Divo, so top speed is probably 236 mph.

The La Voiture Noire is greatly heavier than most modern hypercars. But despite being slower, the LA Voiture Noire may be quicker than the Chiron in a race. Again, this is mostly based on the Divo.

According to Bugatti, the Divo lapped the Nardo track eight seconds faster than the Chiron, an improvement from extra downforce, more aerodynamic body, and improved cornering dynamics. The La Voiture Noire isn’t as aero-efficient as the Divo, but it should be more aerodynamic than the Chiron and win a battle on the track.

Unfortunately, the La Voiture Noire is as heavy as it’s siblings. The Divo is the lightest version at around 4,300 pounds and this coupe shouldn’t be lighter than that. This makes the La Voiture Noire greatly heavier than most hypercars.

Pricing

The La Voiture Noire is a one-of-a-kind, and Bugatti says they won’t build another one like it. The unique status explains that Bugatti sold this car for a massive € 11 million ($12.4 million as of March 2019). Word has it that the owner paid around € 16.7 ($18.9 million) after taxes.

The La Voiture Noire is the most expensive car of all time, exceeding past the Pagani Zonda HP Barchette ($17.5m) and Rolls-Royce Sweptail ($13m). That is three times more than the Divo and six times more than the Chiron.