In 2005, Bugatti revealed the ground-breaking Veyron 16.4. It boasted 1001 HP, and was capable of reaching 407 km/h, but why 407? Reaching 400 km/h was more than enough. In those days, there was no other car manufacturer capable of delivering 1000 HP or reaching 400 km/h. Why was Bugatti obsessed with 407 km/h?
A few weeks ago, the fifteenth birthday of the Veyron 16.4 was celebrated, and Bugatti duly revealed some of the secrets. The most interesting was the top speed. So, why 407 km/h?
Ferdinand Karl Piëch specified the 407 km/h speed. He was the mastermind behind the revival of the Bugatti brand and the delivery of more than 1000 HP from a W16 engine. And he wanted to break the 406 km/h limit. Here is the story.
In the 1960s, Piëch had developed the iconic Porsche 917. It won the 24-Hour Le Mans race in the 1960s and reached 406 km/h on the Hunaudières Straight. For Piëch, Veyron had to go faster, and the easiest way to achieve this goal was simply to reach 407 km/h.
Piëch was the brain behind the VW Group’s decision to buy Bugatti, create the VW Phaeton and, indeed, many other outstanding feats of engineering. According to some rumours (and simple calculations), the VW Group lost nearly £5 million on every Veyron sold. But no doubt they recovered the loss through the servicing bills, and also through the Chiron.