Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse

Flawlessly combining its Italian artistic roots, French etiquette and world-renowned German ingenuity, Bugatti is synonymous with the super sports car (and the current production car land speed record).

To celebrate the success of this luxurious sports car brand, Bugatti launched “Des Légendes de Bugatti” – an exclusive special edition series of super sports cars showcasing various parts of Bugatti’s history.

Des Légendes de Bugatti is a six model series with each limited to only three vehicles that strive to highlight important points in the legendary automaker’s history.

To date, only 12 Légendes Editions vehicles have been produced and all are sold. The fifth and latest addition to this exclusive series is modeled after the famous Bugatti Type 18 (sometimes referred to as “Black Bess”). The Type 18 made automotive history in 1912 as the first super sports car that was fully street legal.

Boasting a top speed of 100 mph (a feat which was previously thought unachievable) and a 5 liter engine with close to 100 horsepower, the Type 18 was raced by Bugatti founder Ettore Bugatti where he won the Mont Ventoux hill climb.

Only seven of these vehicles were produced and only three remain in existence today. One of the remaining vehicles was originally sold to French aviator Roland Garros; a famous pilot who flew across the Mediterranean in 1912.

Garros later renamed his Type 18 “Black Bess” after an English racehorse and the vehicle (serial number 474) now resides in the Louwman Museum as part of a private collection stored in the Netherlands.

In commemoration of this historic vehicle, the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse “Black Bess” Edition was introduced at last month’s Auto China Beijing 2014 car show and pays homage to both Roland Garros and the original Type 18 in an innovative way that only Bugatti can pull off with such success.


Like all Légendes Edition models, the Black Bess is built on the current Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse platform– a vehicle boasting a top speed of 254 mph with the roof down.

Producing just under 1,200 horsepower, the 8 liter W-16 power plant generates an impressive 1,100 ft-lb of torque between 3,000 – 5,000 rpm; allowing the vehicle to accelerate from 0 – 60 mph in just 2.4 seconds. The engine is essentially two V8 motors joined at the crank with four enlarged turbochargers and intercoolers to keep boost consistent throughout the power band.

Of course, a car this fast should also be able to stop quickly – a feat it performs very well. In repeated 1.0 g brake tests from 194 mph to 50 mph, no fade is present even though the acceleration of this vehicle means the test can be performed every 22 seconds.

The hydraulic rear wing on Black Bess also acts as an air brake at high speeds; automatically shifting to a 55° angle when the brakes are applied and providing additional deceleration equivalent to that of an ordinary street sedan.

Bugatti claims the Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse can decelerate to zero from 250 mph within 10 seconds (although it takes about 1/3 mile to do so).


Bugatti has limited the total Veyron run to only 450 vehicles (including Légendes Editions) meaning that an already exclusive vehicle is even more desirable in this special edition release.

Just a quick glance at the new Black Bess is all it takes to realize just how innovative Bugatti is when it comes to producing exclusive automobiles. From the individually hand-painted leather interior to the 24-carat gold coated body components, there is nothing average about this already top-of-the-line super sports car.

The entire body of this super sports car is carbon fiber and painted black like its predecessor, the Type 18.

The Bugatti horseshoe grille emblem is solid gold which are reinforced by gold stripes that originate below the headlights and slip over the front wings; an ode to the custom heritage of this Légendes Edition super sports car.

Achim Anscheidt, Bugatti Head Designer, is especially proud of a new process created specifically for Black Bess that allows for custom, hand-painted leather that exceeds the quality standards required by modern day production.

The technique is used on both door panels of the Légendes Edition vehicle to depict both Roland Garros’ airplane (a Morane Saulnier Type H) and the original Type 18 respectively. To further ensure the individuality of each vehicle, these images are hand-painted meaning every door panel is unique.

The Crimson red steering wheel is a direct reference to the original Type 18 and complements the light beige (Havana) leather trim complete with matching crimson stitching throughout.

The vehicle certainly pays homage to its predecessor while offering drivers the convenience, luxury and technology they have come to expect from one of the most elite automakers in the world.

Only three of these limited editions vehicles are for sale and less than 50 Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse roadsters are left in the current production run before this legendary vehicle disappears from dealer showrooms forever.