When a person spends as much on a car as they do on a waterfront villa on the Palm Jumeirah, the buying criteria differ considerably from those of the typical vehicle buyer. The average Bugatti
When a person spends as much on a car as they do on a waterfront villa on the Palm Jumeirah, the buying criteria differ considerably from those of the typical vehicle buyer.
The average Bugatti buyer owns 84 cars, three jets and a yacht, so purchasing another vehicle is clearly not driven by need. These people make the purchase with a similar mindset to those looking to acquire a rare work of art. The intention is to own something bespoke, created by artisans, rather than produced by a robotic production line.
“If it is comparable, it is no longer Bugatti”
With an entry point of around 11 million dirhams (before taxes), Bugatti resides in a universe different from any other car brand, just like its audience. Company founder Ettore Bugatti said: “If it’s comparable, it’s not Bugatti anymore,” and that mantra still applies today. Ordering a new Bugatti gives you access to a virtually endless number of customization options, so you’ll hardly ever see two exactly identical examples.
Given the dizzying array of customization options on offer, it is imperative that customers are guided by an expert with the right skills to tell them about the vast catalog of choices, so that the end result is a tasteful recipe. , rather than a resolved evil combination of colors, materials and – possibly – graphics.
Each Bugatti ordered from Atelier de Molsheim – not far from the French city of Strasbourg – has the touch of Jascha Straub. The dapper designer has been heavily involved in the exterior styling of two recent limited edition hypercars – the Divo and the Centodieci. He knows every design detail of a Bugatti, so there’s no one better to guide customers through the brand’s almost endless possibilities for customization.
Straub says the customization process can take hours, months, or even a year, depending on the individuality of the car, and spending on customization options can range from a few hundred thousand dollars to millions.
“If, for example, a customer wants a color for the brake calipers that we don’t have, the development can take several months, because it has to meet all the criteria for durability and heat resistance, because everything what we do must be 100 percent. The development of custom stitching for the seats can also take up to nine months, ”he explains.
A bespoke Bugatti Chiron
To better understand the process, I was able to customize “my own” Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport, under the direction of Straub.
A visual representation has been provided by the digital configurator which only Bugatti customers can access.
The typical customer experience would involve a visit to the automaker’s production plant and workshop in Molsheim, but the constraints of Covid-19 meant that we would do our tabletop exercise via Zoom. We also only had one hour, rather than all day or all week, so the session was just meant to provide an overview of the process. More elaborate customization projects usually require the use of other methods and tools, such as physical sketches and Photoshop renderings.
Almost all Bugattis ordered have a two-tone color division, so the first step was to select how this would be set up. I went for a horizontal split, with the lower part in black carbon and a complementary black tone for the middle parts of the roof and hood, as well as the curved fairing in front of the windshield and the upper halves of the mirrors.
Bugatti offers a standard four color palette for the Pure Sport, but I opted instead for Giallo Midas, a bright yellow shade that was the favorite of company founder Ettore Bugatti. The possibilities don’t end there. “If you come with your favorite Nike shoes and say, ‘I want my car in this color,’ we can develop exactly that color. ” Straub said.
If a customer says, “I want the leather seats or stitching to match my wife’s Hermines bag ‘, we can do it too
The same goes for the interior. “If a customer says, ‘I want the leather seats or the stitching to match my wife’s Hermines bag ‘, we can do that too.
Coming back to ‘my car’, the ’16’ graphic on the Pur Sport’s grille is normally etched in blue, but in order to ensure that it doesn’t clash with my chosen bright yellow paintwork, Straub has suggested changing it to a more neutral gray. For more visual harmony, I opted for Bugatti-themed yellow graphics and accents on the rear fender and engine cowls.
The Pur Sport comes with a choice of three wheel designs, and among these I have selected a sophisticated looking aero blade pattern that also improves the car’s aerodynamics and brake cooling efficiency. .
To match the theme of the rest of the car, I chose a gloss black paint for the wheel spokes and a carbon fiber finish for the aero blades housed inside. The yellow paint for the “EB” logo on the center cap and for the brake calipers further complemented the Giallo Midas paintwork.
For my interior choices, I opted for carbon fiber trim on the doors and dashboard, an Alcantara-trimmed steering wheel, black quilted leather seats with yellow stitching (to complement the exterior) and yellow embroidered logos on the transmission tunnel and the headrests of the seats.
From zebras to ladybugs
And there is much more that can be done. One example is the Chiron Zebra, a striking unique design specially designed for a longtime Bugatti customer in Qatar.
“The customer came to us with the idea and we made it work, which shows that our levels of individualization really have no limits. To adapt to the flowing lines of the Chiron, we had to develop a whole new solution for gluing parts of the body ready to be painted, ”says Straub.
Another eye-catching unique piece is the Bugatti Divo Lady Bug, which was designed shortly after the Divo’s world premiere in August 2018. “The idea of a geometric algorithmic fading pattern on the bodywork emerged in collaboration with the customer. What the American collector had in mind was a strict geometric pattern made up of diamonds in a unique color contrast.
“Together with the collector, the Bugatti design and development team then developed the special colors, Customer Special Red and Graphite, both metallic, to achieve the contrast effect.
The diamond pattern has been designed to extend precisely from the front to the sides to the back, matching the silhouette of the Divo.
“It took more than 18 months for the team to find and implement the technical and graphic solutions. One could not have predicted how complex and difficult it would be to paint the diamonds on the body of the car with precision and exact definition, ”says Straub.
The complexity of the task was due to the fact that the 2D printed diamond warped over the sculptural form of the Divo, with its contours, curves and ribs.
As a result, they had to be digitally altered. “It only took a millimeter of difference to ruin the entire visual effect,” says Straub.
“The diamonds also had to be perfectly positioned on the roofline, the doors and the edge of the rear fenders in order to achieve a clean visual finish. Together with the client, Cad modelers developed and simulated a diamond pattern design with approximately 1,600 diamonds. It was a very complex and time consuming task.
Straub clearly revel in his role in creating unique Bugattis that meet customers’ tailor-made briefs down to the smallest detail. As a bonus, he gives each customer a tailor-made sketch of his car to remind him of his interaction with Bugatti.
It’s as close as you will be able to acquire a Monet on wheels.