WHEN THE last, and fittingly named, “La Finale” Bugatti Veyron was displayed on the company’s stand at the Geneva motor show in March, 10 years on from the car’s introduction, plans were already in place for the unveiling of its successor at the next year’s Geneva show.
What we know so far about the Chiron is that it will be more powerful, faster and more expensive than the Veyron — a car not known for being backwards about coming forwards.
Rumours suggest that its W16 quad-turbo engine will gain some form of hybrid electric assistance and that the total power output will be around 1,500PS, or 1,479bhp.
Bugatti says the Chiron name has been chosen in memory of Louis Chiron, a racing driver who scored numerous grand prix victories for Bugatti in the 1920s and 1930s. However, it has been used for a supercar before. Do you know when, and what that car was?
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In the late 1990s, after being rescued from bankruptcy by Dauer Racing in 1995 and then bought by the Volkswagen Group in 1998, Bugatti dabbled with the idea of building lavish coupé saloons. Ital Design, its design consultancy, worked up a number of designs in this vein, but then Ferdinand Piech, the chairman of Volkswagen, had a change of heart: he wanted Bugatti to build the world’s greatest supercar.
The first step on that journey was the Bugatti EB 18/3 Chiron, pictured here. First displayed at the 1999 Frankfurt motor show, it stole the headlines and gave an indication of things to come, with more than a whiff of Veyron about it (the world’s wealthiest car enthusiasts had to wait until 2005 before the Veyron would finally appear).
The EB 18/3 Chiron featured a 6.3-litre W18 engine, and the “18/3” prefix signifies the structure of the engine, which was arranged into three banks of six cylinders. This powered the four-wheel-drive running gear of a Lamborghini Diablo VT.
After the enthusiastic reaction to the Chiron, Bugatti pressed ahead with plans to build the ultimate supercar. Responsibility for the styling was given to Hartmut Warkuss, head of Volkswagen’s design department. The rest is history.