the Auto China motor show in Beijing (April 21 to 29, 2014) the French luxury
manufacturer Bugatti is presenting as a world premiere the modern
interpretation of the Type 18, the Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse1 "Black
is the fifth model in the six-part "Les Légendes de Bugatti" (Bugatti
Legends) Edition. Bugatti has revived the legendary Type 18 "Black
Bess", which went down in automotive history as one of the first ever
street legal super sports cars. The Type 18 "Black Bess" is a direct
forerunner of today's world speed record-holding Bugatti Veyron.
with all models in the Edition, the current Legends model is limited to a run
of three vehicles and is available for a net price of € 2.15 million (Rs 18
crore approx.). Of the four Legend models already presented, all 12 vehicles
have been sold, said a company statement.
"Black Bess" is based on the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse.
Its 1184bhp, 8 litre W16 engine achieves an unparalleled torque of 1,500 Nm at
3,000-5,000 rpm, and can accelerate from 0-100 km 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 course of its history, Bugatti has not only been responsible for crafting
enormously successful race cars, but has also created some outstanding road
vehicles," notes Dr Wolfgang Schreiber, President of Bugatti Automobiles
S.A.S. "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," he added.
Type 18 was one of the most important Bugattis of the pre-war era, both ahead
of its time and in a league of its own thanks to its technical features. With a
4-cylinder in-line engine and five litre capacity, the vehicle was capable of
producing over 100 PS (99bhp approx.). With a top speed of 160 km/h (100 mph),
a feat deemed virtually unbelievable for the times, the Type 18 was a true
racing thoroughbred and the fastest road vehicle around.
door panels are without doubt one of the car's most impressive details. This is
actually one of the most daring projects in the design of the vehicle's
interior. Both panels are upholstered in "Havanna" leather and bear
scenes which depict the historic Type 18 "Black Bess" as well as
Roland Garros' airplane, a Morane Saulnier Type H. These sketches have been
hand-painted directly onto the leather - just as the components in luxury
vehicles were hand-painted in the early 1920s. In order to protect the images
from abrasion and environmental impacts, both a special new ink and a new
impregnation process have been developed
Type 18 was driven in races by company founder Ettore Bugatti himself; indeed
he secured a win in his class in the important 1912 Mont Ventoux hill climb.
Bugatti limited the production run for this model to just seven vehicles and
sold them to an extremely select group of customers. One of these customers was
the famed and celebrated French aviation pioneer Roland Garros, who
successfully crossed the Mediterranean in an airplane in 1912 after racking up
a host of successes at a variety of aviation events. It was Ettore's victory at
Mont Ventoux which drew Garros' attention to the Type 18. A lover of speed
through and through, Garros was looking for a car which would enable him to
travel as fast on land as he could in the air. The Type 18 was an obvious
choice. In counting Garros amongst his customers, Ettore Bugatti had landed a
major marketing coup.
delivered the two-seater bearing the vehicle identification number 474 to
Garros on 18 September 1913. This Type 18, later named after the English
racehorse "Black Bess", is one of only three of the seven vehicles
still remaining. Today, it can be found in the Louwman Museum, a private
collection on show at The Hague in the Netherlands. Evert Louwman has kindly
made the historic Type 18 "Black Bess" specially available for the
world premiere of the current "Black Bess" Legend Vitesse at the Auto
China in Beijing.
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