Bugatti shows its true colours

Riley Riley

Here’s a bit of motoring trivia.

The new Bugatti Chiron Sport “110 ans Bugatti” celebrates 110 years of the French marque, with plenty of tricolour touches to mark the occasion.

The blue, white and red colours of the flag — not red, white and blue please (sacre-bleu) — appears both inside and out on the astronomically expensive sports car.

The most prominent location is the underside of the rear spoiler where it can be seen briefly as it shows a clean pair of heels to any car on the face of the planet.

But here’s the trivial bit to which we we alluded.

If you know anything about French history (I did six years of French), the Tricolour flag is always hoisted with the blue stripe towards the flag pole.

When it is displayed by Government vehicles, the blue stripe is always to the front of the car, with the colours reversed to make this possible on both sides — believe it or not.

And so it is with the special edition Bugatti, if you look carefully. On one side the colours are displayed in the order blue, white and red, while on the other they are red, white and blue (I know).

The French flag originally symbolised the union between monarch and people when France was a constitutional monarchy.

Since the end of the monarchy, it has represented the French Revolution with its famous ideals of liberty (blue), equality (white) and fraternity (red).

Ettore Bugatti in 1932
Ettore Bugatti pictured in 1932

The French company Bugatti traces its roots back to 1909 when Ettore Bugatti established a production facility in a disused dyeing plant in the then German city of Molsheim at the end of 1909.

Here he continued to develop the first of his prototypes, the Type 10, which became his first production model — the Type 13.

This first Bugatti was followed by some high points in the history of the automobile.

In the 1920s, these included the Type 35, one of the most successful racing cars ever, as well as the Type 41 Royale, the epitome of absolute automobile luxury.

Bugatti’s son Jean created his own legacy with the Type 57 SC Atlantic, described as a design manifesto.

Up to 1956, about 7950 vehicles of Types 10 to 252 were produced, of which an estimated 2000 or so remain.

The brand died out with the deaths of Jean and later Ettore.

But, in 1987, Romano Artioli revived the brand with the EB 110, a super sports car with a top speed of more than 340 km/h – the fastest production car in the world at the beginning of the 1990s.

Fast forward and Bugatti is now part of the Volkswagen empire.

The Chiron, its current darling, is powered by an 8.0-litre W16 engine, with four turbochargers, that delivers 1103kW of power and 1600Nm of torque.

It can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in less than 2.4 seconds, reaching 200 km/h in 6.1 seconds and 300 km/h in 13.1 seconds.

Even the magic 400 km/h mark takes only 32.6 seconds.

Maximum speed however is even higher at 420 km/h.

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