2003 Bugatti EB 16.4 Veyron
AUTOart - 50902 (diecast)
In May of 1998, Volkswagen AG bought the defunct Bugatti brand. To have a test bed for new technologies and promote the VW Group, they wanted a car that surpassed everything else. Specially the EB110, released in 1991 when Bugatti had a different owner. The development started right away, and by October of 1999 the EB 18.4, fourth and definitive prototype, was ready. In 2001 VW gave its approval for the project, and a roadworthy prototype was ready in August 2003. The car would be called EB 16.4 Veyron as a homage to Ettore Bugatti and Pierre Veyron. The former founder of the brand and the later, Bugatti pilot who won Le Mans in 1939. The number 16.4 refers to the engine’s 16 cylinders and 4 turbochargers.
From the start the Veyron should be the maximum expression of automotive excess. So it had to be fast, but it also had to be exquisitely luxurious. With those almost opposite goals in mind, achieving the required high-speed stability was difficult. The project only reached full production in September 2005.
To produce the necessary power, Bugatti used a W16 engine. It was basically two narrow-angle V8 engines mated in a V configuration, displacing 7993 cm³. The narrow V8s allowed the use of only two camshafts to drive two banks of cylinders. With that, the engine needed only four camshafts in total. Each cylinder has four valves and four KKK turbos are responsible for the turbocharging. That allows a mind-blowing 1001 hp that can take the car up to 407 km/h. The Veyron uses a dual-clutch DSG computer-controlled manual transmission. With seven gears, it boasts an 8 ms shift time, but it also has a full automatic mode. It also features full-time all-wheel drive developed by Haldex.
So imagine a car that accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 2.5 seconds, 200 km/h in 7.3 seconds and 300 km/h in 16.7 seconds . Yeah, there were cars (almost) as fast as that, but to do all that in plush comfort while you listen to music through a superb stereo system? Never before! The Veyron was an instant automotive icon, and I followed every bit of news I could find about it since I first heard of the fantastic “1000 hp car” in 2000. When I collected 1:18 it didn’t take much for me to buy AUTOart’s high-end Signature Line model, and it’s one of the very few 1:18s that I still have. So it was only natural that I got one in 1:43, and it had to be from AUTOart.
The model REALLY impressed me, in fact, I would even go as far as saying that this is a “high-end diecast model”. All the grills are made with a real mesh, and the interior is quite nice. And of course, wheels are (kind of) posable. On the bottom of the undercarriage there’s a small plaque where it’s hand-engraved that my model’s serial number is 2872, the same number that came (hand) written on the collector’s card that came in the box. A truly great model, HOWEVER, it’s not perfect. The wheels should have 12 spokes instead of the eight that you see and there should be lateral blinkers on the rear bumpers. Minute details, but… In the end, I just loved the model. In fact, I would even consider buying another one in a different color.
Looks like AUTOart did NOT make the models with the wrong wheels after all. As reader NCarolinadiecastfanatic pointed out, this is the 2002 Geneva Show car. If you look at the picture in the link you’ll see that’s the car that AUTOart replicated. Therefor, this is not the production version. And like so, it’s 100% right.
I knew AUTOart wouldn’t let me down! The brand has such a high standard (look at this) that I was hard-pressed to believe that they would make such a blunder 🙂