Home » Was The Bugatti Veyron A Marvel of Engineering, Or A Wasteful Display Of Hubris?

Was The Bugatti Veyron A Marvel of Engineering, Or A Wasteful Display Of Hubris?

Veyronargument Top
ADVERTISEMENT

I know it’s just past Thanksgiving, but I hope you still have some mental space to be thankful, because there’s something that just happened about which you should be very thankful. That something is that my Autopian co-founder David Tracy and I just had a long, largely pointless argument about the worth of the Bugatti Veyron, and you did not have to be a part of it. It went on and on, and somehow you were spared the irritating tedium of two insufferable dorks carping at each other. So be thankful. But, not too thankful, because unfortunately for you and every other literate human (or suitably enhanced non-human animal) with the misfortune to be reading this, I am now going to relay the contents of this debate, right here, right now. You’re going to have to think about the at least $2 million dollar Veyron, and you’re going to have to decide if it’s an engineering marvel worth universal admiration or a useless stunt that, really, just doesn’t matter.

Also, I guess I should mention that since I’m the one writing this post, this’ll be sorta biased, unless David comes in afterwards and adds a lot of editor’s notes. But I’ll convey his argument to the best of my – if not ability, then willingness – and include what he said in Slack, so you can see how woefully misguided he is for yourself.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Here’s my fundamental point: For all the attention and adoration and some other word that starts with “a” that the Veyron has gotten, it’s proven to be a car that just doesn’t really… matter. Let’s be honest, here: who really gives a shit about Veyrons?  [Editor’s Note: I do. I consider it the greatest automotive engineering marvel of my lifetime. What it offered in 2005 was mind-numbingly advanced. Nothing came close. -DT]. Do you see people driving them or racing them or, hell, even really enjoying them in any significant way? Or are almost all of them just helping to anchor air-conditioned garages safely to the Earth?

Sure, there’s the Tax The Rich guy who whipped his around for YouTube views, and that looked fun, though I bet you could have had about as much fun doing that in a 280Z or a Lada or a Supra or a Civic, and then there was that guy who crashed his Veyron into a lake because he let a pelican drive, or something. So, that’s what, 2 out of 450 total cars. I mean, I’m sure there’s a few more out there people are actually using in engaging ways, but if they are, they’re keeping it very, very quiet.

Yes, the Bugatti Veyron was an absolute technological tour-de-force, or, as David worships, “a moonshot:”

ADVERTISEMENT

Dt Rip

 

And yes, David, I still rip on them. Because of course it was an engineering marvel and the first “production” car to hit 1,000 hp and be able to hit over 250 mph: when you have a company with the resources of the Volkswagen Group effectively firehosing money and engineering talent at a project, yeah, of course it’ll be “insanely tech-forward.”

And it was tech forward, of course, but let’s take a moment and think about this: did any of the hyper-advanced tech that went into the Veyron actually end up influencing automotive technology as a whole? Was it technologically influential? Are W16 engines a big thing now, with quad turbochargers and eight-titanium-piston brake calipers found on cars all across the automotive spectrum? How about ten separate radiators? No. Fuck no. Because all that stuff is absurdly expensive and complex, as you would expect of a no-limits engineering tech-wank like the Veyron.

Hell, this is a car that has to have $42,000 tires, and those tires, that are specially adhered to the wheels with glue, and that glue is only guaranteed to be good for 18 months at a time, so you have to change tires every year and a half whether you drive the car or not, which, again, most owners do not. And every three tire changes means you need new wheels. How is this good engineering?

ADVERTISEMENT

Oh, and if you were somehow able to really appreciate all of that magical, fantastical engineering that enables the Veyron to be able to achieve its stellar, awe-inspiring top speed of 267.856 mph, you could only do so for 15 minutes, because that’s how long the tires last at that speed. Oh, but you don’t have to worry about exceeding that limit, because the Veyron will empty its gas tank in 12 minutes at that speed, anyway.

So, for all of this incredible engineering that makes David’s genitals engorge and sets his soul afire and makes him say things like this:

Dt2

… after all of this, the sum total time that this machine can live up to its true potential is 12 minutes. Then you’re pushing it back down the dry lake bed or wherever the hell you actually tried doing this (you’d need at least 50 miles of open, straight road, remember), and doing the math in your head for how much you need to spend on new tires or when your next $21,000 oil change is.

This is an idiotic machine.

ADVERTISEMENT

And I even mean this in the greater context of supercars, a whole category I can’t say I’m especially fond of. Compare the Veyron to an earlier supercar, the Porsche 959. The 959, built from 1986 to 1993, pioneered a huge array of technological developments that are still extremely relevant today, like computer-controlled all-wheel drive and suspension, sequential turbocharging, and essentially setting the template for modern performance cars to this very day. The Veyron didn’t do anything like that. It was a technological triumph, sure, but a fragile, isolated one, a Galapagos tortoise of achievement, a dead end that influenced nothing in the greater automotive world.

[Ed Note: To understand the Veyron, you have to understand the context:

The Bugatti Veyron – a technical masterpiece When the Bugatti Veyron was first announced at the end of the nineties, many people were sceptical that the basic parameters could ever work. With more than 1,000 PS, a top speed in excess of 400 km/h, acceleration from nought to one hundred in less than three seconds, the doubters thought it simply impossible to produce a super sports car with this level of performance while remaining controllable and drivable. But that’s not all. Bugatti had set the bar even higher with its intention to produce a comfortable road car that was suitable for everyday use. The development of the Veyron was one of the most significant technical challenges ever undertaken by the automotive industry. Bugatti engineers had to push the limits of physics and do things that had never been done before in automotive development.

It was an unbelievably achievement, that led to the VW group’s first carbon ceramic brakes, the world’s first seven-speed dual clutch transmission, the first use of titanium bolts in a production car, advancements in carbon fiber monocoque manufacturing (for a production car), etc. etc. It was an amazing moonshot that we should all appreciate. -DT]. 

Now, I know what David is going to say about my take on this, because he’s said it:

Dt3

ADVERTISEMENT

And, generally, David is right about this sort of thing. He’s a real engineer, he can appreciate engineering achievements on a level that I’m sure I can’t. But I can’t agree this time. I’m not ignorant of the astounding technical achievements of the Veyron: I just don’t care. Because why the fuck should I? It can go crazy fast for 12 minutes and then you have to spend fancy new car money to just get it maintained again, but even doing that is unlikely, because most owners are not qualified to drive it at 250+ mph, don’t have the room to do it, and as a result can never appreciate the result of all that engineering cost and effort. The vast majority of Veyrons just sit in climate-controlled garages, and maybe get driven at speeds your average Corolla can handle with aplomb to a local Cars and Coffee or whatever.

Model

David said he would own a Veyron if he could. And I respect that. But, at the same time, I honestly think David would be better served by owning, say, a Bugatti Veyron that had been cut in half, lengthwise, so you could see all of the advanced engineering within. It could be something he displays proudly in the Contemplation Room of his mansion, and he can wheel up a chair and sit in front of it, pondering its mysteries and wonder. That’d be a good use of a Veyron, especially because he already has a car that gets driven about as much as the average Veyron does, only without the added benefit of being a nursery for newborn kittens:

Screen Shot 2023 07 17 At 11.21.59 Pm

The Average Veyron ownership experience really isn’t all that different from David’s ZJ ownership experience, right?

ADVERTISEMENT

I respect and adore David, but I do not entertain any illusions that he will understand my complete, full-body eye-roll at the Veyron. I just can’t see the point of this sort of engineering exercise when the end result is something that’s so inaccessible and rarified that it may as well not even exist [Ed Note: OK, so I assume you have a problem with automakers spending loads on F1 cars that consumers can never own? I know, you’re going to say “but people can watch them race.” Well, people can watch the Veyron on Top Gear and other programs (the Veyron episodes are amazing), and they can even see them on the street! (I saw one in Miami once; it was awesome).  -DT]. Maybe it was a moonshot, but at least the real moonshot had scientific and political value. The target of the actual moonshot was something in the sky that had figured massively in the dreams of humankind for millennia. The Apollo lunar landing program was a crucible that advanced computers, among other things, to the point where a whole computer revolution came directly afterwards.

The Veyron gave VW bragging rights, made Ferdinand Piëch feel cool, and gave some millionaires something new and exciting to tell the garage help to dust.

David does bring up one excellent point I should address, though:

Dt4The idea of saying “fuck it, let’s do it” and pulling off some sort of engineering feat is, absolutely, a wonderful thing. I too love that VW was once willing to do that! But I think they could have done that with much different, and much more interesting results.

Consider this: what if VW wanted to do some “fuck it, let’s do it” thing, but actually wanted to do something people could actually enjoy. Something that would actually affect people directly, bring something new and exciting into their lives? It could still be a technological marvel, too!

ADVERTISEMENT

Here’s an idea: Volkswagen is actually the company that has produced more amphibious cars than any other company. Sure, it was a military vehicle, the Schwimmwagen, with over 15,000 built. The Amphicar, the next closest, only had 3,878 copies! So, what if VW’s moonshot was to make something like a Golf Cabrio-based amphibious car that would sell for, say, under $30,000? Pulling that off would be a hell of an achievement, it would get plenty of attention, be unique in the world (a mass-market affordable amphibious car you could buy easily at a major carmaker’s dealership) and, more importantly, could be accessible and enjoyable to really large numbers of people!

Amphibious cars may seem like a frivolous thing, but is it more absurd than building a handful of cars that can go 250+ mph for 12 minutes and that’s it? And costs millions of dollars and is devastatingly expensive to maintain? I don’t think so!

Look, as you can see, this argument is tearing us apart. We need all of you, the greatest collective automotive hive mind on the internet, to help settle this. Should I just shut up about the Veyron? Should David practice his Veyron-worship in the privacy of his own bathroom? I need your guidance here, before this turns ugly.

Relatedbar

Bugatti Updates Its Logo In The Most Boring Way Possible

This Was The Biggest Change In Car Styling And You Probably Never Think About It Now

Sir, Your Certified Pre-Owned Bugatti Veyron Is Here

 

ADVERTISEMENT
Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
158 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mars
Mars
3 months ago

I really don’t see how the comparison with space missions can be shut down by the lack of tech that trickled down from the Veyron (indeed, who’s ever seen a 7 speed DCT, and it’s not like the man arguing with David Tracy knows anyone with a carbon tub car).
Does anyone seriously buy that Torch would’ve been smugly dismissive about the moon landing if it had been a technological dead end? Does anyone seriously buy that if we’d not pinged some robots onto Mars the moon landing would’ve been shelved with the Disco Duck as one of those weird nation-swooping crazes that doesn’t live up to hindsight?

Really, the only real arguments I see on Torch’s side are:

  • The car isn’t practical – And sure, anyone who owned no other car than a Veyron would find themselves inconvenienced by how often it needs to be in the shop, but that does not and never will describe anyone in history
  • It can only do its top speed for twelve minutes at a time – And if a car needed to do the Veyron’s top speed for more time than that not to be stupid, then Torch has never bought a car less stupid than the Veyron
  • The Veyron is too inaccessible and rarified to be worth caring about – Which completely contrasts with the claim that it will just be driven to shops and meets at most – if I could even drive it to shops and meets to begin with, that means it’s the most accessible 407km/h-capable car that ever produced up to a decade past the Veyron’s debut.

That’s the whole point to me, really – the Veyron is not a car that happens to need its tires changed too often, it’s an engineering milestone that happens to be perfectly comfortable around town. And to me the idea that precious little trickled down from it does nothing but further drive home how far from its bounds the concept of automobile was stretched to achieve that. If someone built a 407km/h car with four turbocharged inline 4s, you’d be all over how crazy that is, and you’d fully expect a nightmarish upkeep. So how isn’t it even cooler that it wasn’t just someone, but goddamn Volkswagen? And how isn’t it even cooler still that the end result isn’t something you need to drag the two war pilots required out of when they’re spent but something that clears the bar for a comfortable vehicle in absolute?

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
4 months ago

I’ll just buy the cheap Chinese knock off version: Bugoddi Wayron! ⃛ヾ(๑❛ ▿ ◠๑ )

Knowonelse
Knowonelse
4 months ago

Imaging the benefits of pouring that money into developing a $20k car that has all the good stuff that is common in current $50k cars. That has benefits for everyone.

Scott
Scott
4 months ago

I appreciate the Veyron for all of its various firsts of course, but it is/was burdened with so many caveats that I tend to side with Jason in this disagreement. Sure, it’s impressive, but personally, I think VWs XL-1 is even more amazing, and it’s the VW moonshot that I’d rather own (especially if I had to pay for the maintenance). 🙂

Ben
Ben
4 months ago

For all the attention and adoration and some other word that starts with “a”

Assonance?

The Average Veyron ownership experience really isn’t all that different from David’s ZJ ownership experience, right?

I…but…just…you can’t…actually, you may have a point here. 😉

Hgrunt
Hgrunt
4 months ago

The Veyron is both Stunning and Stupid. If anything, the important thing to keep in mind about the Veyron is who it’s built for: The Ultra-wealthy

Luxury is about excess and exclusivity–having more than what you will need or use and something few others can buy. There’s a lot of one-off/limited edition Veyrons because because even the ultra-wealthy want to one-up each other

And every three tire changes means you need new wheels. How is this good engineering?

The wheels are x-rayed each tire change for stress fractures, the bead glue is replaced every 18 months regardless of use, and the tires last for 2500 miles under regular use. Veyrons are typically a few hundred miles a year so wheel changes don’t happen for a few years at a time

Maintenance/running costs for the Veyron may seem absurd for a car but it makes sense when compared to planes, yachts and helicopters, things that Veyron owners are accustomed to paying insane running costs for

I guess the wheel/tire thing inconvenienced enough Bugatti customers (probably because it had to be done by Bugatti technicians) that the Chiron has lifetime wheels and non-gluey tires that can be mounted by any shop with standard equipment

HOT_HATCH
HOT_HATCH
4 months ago
Reply to  Hgrunt

I think the Chiron’s lifetime wheels and more standard tire seat had a lot to do with Koenigsegg pushing Michelin to develop a better tire for the Regerra.

Aaron
Aaron
4 months ago

JT all the way. These kind of extravagant vanity projects should accomplish one of the following to be anything other than a waste of time.

Promote practical developments for more common applications.Gain attention and/or build cache for more attainable products.Subsidize down-market products.The Veyron did none of these. It’s been almost 20 years since the Veyron first came out and none of it’s unique developments have applications outside the current echelon of super- and hypercars. There wasn’t/arguably still isn’t enough of a direct link between Bugatti and the other VW brands to build cache. And since the Veyron lost money hand over fist, there was no way it would help make lower tier products any better. But what did the Veyron accomplish other than to go really fast in a straight line for a few minutes at a time (and make Ferry Piech’s little Piech a little stiffer)?

I can think of any number of other halo products and moonshots that do at least one of those. Cars like the Dodge Viper, Ford GT enhance the overall brand directly. The Porsche 959 ushered in a lot of technology that hit mass market. Hell, even something as stupid and pointless as the Hummer EV is helping to amortize R&D.

Last edited 4 months ago by Aaron
Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
4 months ago
Reply to  Aaron

I guess tire technology was improved as a result of the Veyron. Of course, this seems to mainly apply to other hypercars.
I see Veyrons at C&Cs from time to time; they’re very impressive but they tend to be pushed around by hand.

World24
World24
4 months ago

It’s a marvel on how something cheap and from China is more impressive than a Veyron, taking into account this line;

And I even mean this in the greater context of supercars, a whole category I can’t say I’m especially fond of.

Granted, the person who’s arguing that the Veyron is actually impressive treats Jeep’s like old men with Reebok’s treat their Corvette’s might not be the best person to have this conversation with, but you know what, who am I to say. Just a nobody.
Personally, I think the Veyron was a pre-Agera Koenigsegg by a different name. It was wicked to obtain virtually every feat you wanted to out a car, just without worrying about engineering costs.

Jason Roth
Jason Roth
4 months ago

Bugatti had set the bar even higher with its intention to produce a comfortable road car that was suitable for everyday use.

This, to me, is what settles things in Jason’s favor. Because it’s not suitable for everyday use—the crazy maintenance demands mean that, for any realistic meaning of “everyday use”, it’s insanely unsuitable. Forget the expense, just in terms of scheduled maintenance, even a small amount of daily driving means vast amounts of down time for tires, fluids, wheels, etc. And of course you wouldn’t exactly daily drive this if you lived and worked in the city, so we’re talking suburban distances—can you imagine how fast you’d cycle through parts at 30 miles per day?

So no, they failed at their self-assigned mission. It gives the illusion of being more practical than some sort of street legal F1 machine or whatever, but in practice, it’s a toy you Sunday drive once a month, and maybe once during your ownership you figure out how to use some large fraction of its speed.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
4 months ago

I’m suddenly reminded of a line from Murphy Brown which I’ll paraphrase:
VW could have accomplished the same effect by taping $100,000 bills to the hood of a Bentley Continental GT.

(Which itself came so close to being capable of 200mph when introduced in 2003 that the difference could be considered, in practical terms, a rounding error)

Last edited 4 months ago by Urban Runabout
Andy Individual
Andy Individual
4 months ago

George Santos owns a couple, so there’s that.

Mike Honcho
Mike Honcho
4 months ago

The whole hot take culture is pretty annoying and it seems like this article was derived to achieve it. This same argument is used against the space program all the time. There are many direct and indirect benefits of solving technical challenges. without a doubt they learned many things building/engineering this car that advanced production vehicles even if JT still cant see past the tail lights.

Glutton for Piëch
Glutton for Piëch
4 months ago

it’s both, but im in DT camp all the way (obviously). The Veyron did a TON for modern cars. It’s not immediately obvious- the W16 never left Molsheim, most cars aren’t carbon monocoques, etc. But, what it did do is prove we could make absolutely bonkers insane performance cars that, when needed, drive like Golfs. That just didn’t exist back then. Hell, even the Audified Lambos were still pretty trash to daily until after the Veyron was out in the world. You know for certain they took what they learned and applied it throughout the group. The Veyron was a deeply influential, deeply important step on the way to making modern cars as good as they are. No, it didn’t represent too many insanely new and radical ideas or concepts, but it made everything work together in a way that had never been done before. If nobody ever made cars like the Veyron, or Piechs other follies (aka half my cars), cars wouldn’t be as good as they are today- fact.

Also, tires. That’s the biggest thing i think this project gave the world. Think how much tire technology has improved in the last 10/20 years. That was certainly, partially due to the Veyron. Remember, Michelin said the tires Piech wanted were literally impossible to produce.. until he put the pressure on them and suddenly… they were possible. Without people like Piech forcing the industry forward, things don’t get better for everyone, and that’s just inarguable.

Also, to prove the Veyron wasn’t a waste.. every Bugatti since is better in every possible way, and profitable as all hell.

Last edited 4 months ago by Glutton for Piëch
Fanfoy
Fanfoy
4 months ago

I’m with JT on this. And what pisses me more then anything is people saying this thing is a marvel of engineering. It’s not. an overly complex solution to a made-up problem is never good engineering. It’s classic German engineering.

If you would ask a German engineer to design a hammer, it would have three moving parts, an electric motor that will leak oil somehow, and you would have to bring it to the dealership every time you’d need to change the batteries to have the computer reprogrammed for some reason.

Black Peter
Black Peter
4 months ago
Reply to  Fanfoy

“overly complex” how exactly? It might seem overly complex, but only if you underestimate the challenge. The primary challenge being getting a car, that for all intents behaves like a normal car, but can also achieve such speeds, accelerations, and turn decently. I’m thinking of Hammond trying to drive a F1 car, and the operating parameters were so tight that either the tires wouldn’t grip, the brakes wouldn’t work and the engine was nearly overheating, all because he was +/- a few seconds in his driving. In terms of “a made up problem” I don’t really disagree, my only “argument” which I also counter JT’s “The target of the actual moonshot was something in the sky that had figured massively in the dreams of humankind for millennia.” this is objectively true, however once you have done that, what’s next? Lofty goals like reaching space, then the moon, either require exponentially more lofty goals, or they become consumer products (as space launches mostly are now). Goals that we wish to reach for thousands of years, become ones we wish for hundreds, then decades, then years. These “unattainable” milestones get split, like binary reduction, until you’re left with “making luxury car go really fast”. Not great, I agree, altruistically, lets put that effort into something that is for the common good, which I think is part of JT’s argument, and I 100% agree, and maybe part of yours in “made up problem”, in that case I agree, as well.

Ninefeet
Ninefeet
4 months ago

Ferdinand Piëch watching this argument and thinking : “maybe THIS is enough to justify the existence of the Veyron” and having another coffee…

Glutton for Piëch
Glutton for Piëch
4 months ago
Reply to  Ninefeet

he dead as shit

Ninefeet
Ninefeet
4 months ago

so… no coffe in afterlife ?? shit, better stop smoking.

Ninefeet
Ninefeet
4 months ago

Some Bugatti owners (aparently more than 2) quietly enjoying their Veyron in my area…
Bugatti-Grand-Tour-Europe-2023-musee-Guggenheim-a-Bilbao-1068×601.jpg (1068×601) (motorsactu.com)

Last edited 4 months ago by Ninefeet
Ron888
Ron888
4 months ago

Firstly i think you overestimate us.I’m sure many of us *would* like to watch you and David argue this! It sounds interesting.Consider making videos or podcast of such discussions in future!

FWIW i’m very much on your side Jason.It’s an amazing -but ultimately pointless- engineering achievement.If that was the full story i’d give it respect.
But thats not all.It’s hideous looks and the fact it was subsidized by sales of cheaper cars really turn me against it.I’d go as far as saying i hate it

Matti Sillanpää
Matti Sillanpää
4 months ago

I think you guys left out the most important bit: 1000hp supercar that was friendly enough to daily and as easy to drive as golf. I think that was the mad bit that needs applauding. Anybody could make a 1000hp (for a moment) with big enough turbos, but make it livable is another matter.

But I definitely do not want nor desire one. Am i glad it exists, definitely.

Carrera GT on the other hand is stuff of dreams.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
4 months ago

“I think you guys left out the most important bit: 1000hp supercar that was friendly enough to daily and as easy to drive as golf.”

But can you and your partner use a Veyron to pick up a smelly discarded chair and Da Da Da all the way home?:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jdccNAOvPHg

Matti Sillanpää
Matti Sillanpää
4 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

That was rather good ad :D. Thanks.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
4 months ago

It was one of my favorites

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
4 months ago

Umm……. Is this a trick question?

It seems really obvious to me that a Veyron is both a very cool and very impressive piece of engineering, and a horribly wasteful and stupid machine. That’s kind of the point of a supercar.

It’s a crazy moonshot, it’s an exercise in “because I can” by Piech and the gang, it’s a very impressive piece of engineering.

It’s also a totally wasteful and ultimately pointless machine that holds air conditioned garages firmly to the ground.

The fact that Piech and the gang knew this was going to happen, and didn’t care, just adds to the “we did it even though it didn’t make sense just because we can and it’s cool” part of it. So I guess I’m on Team Tracy? I’m honestly surprised that Jason dislikes any weird German car.

Aaron
Aaron
4 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

If I were a VW shareholder, I’d be a little peeved they spent all that time and resource on something without a clear business case. And not to mention the whole Veyron project was a product of and further propagated Piech’s Machiavellian and (arguably) destructive management style.

Hgrunt
Hgrunt
4 months ago
Reply to  Aaron

If I were a big enough shareholder of VW (you know, the ultra wealthy hedge fund owner type of person) I wouldn’t care about any of that as long as Piech makes my holdings in VW stock go up

Hgrunt
Hgrunt
4 months ago
Reply to  Aaron

Addendum:

There’s still a business case for low volume, high revenue.

Using a 10% profit margin as an example, VW would need to sell roughly 100 Golfs in the US to match the amount of profit of a single Chiron at a ‘base’ price. Since the Chiron didn’t require VW to build out a new atelier factory and develop powertrain/chassis from scratch, it’s certainly going to be more profitable overall than the Veyron was

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
4 months ago
Reply to  Hgrunt

Except for how it’s a well known fact that even at the yuge asking price VW lost A LOT of money on every Veyron sold.

There is a business case for Mclarens and the like, but the Veyron is a terrible example because there is no business case.

Hgrunt
Hgrunt
4 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

It’s pretty much the same business case as any other luxury good: “Sell a few expensive things”

“Every Veyron lost money” is misdirection on the part of Bugatti PR to make the car seem more special. I wonder how much money the Veyron made or lost if you remove the cost of building the factory and initial R&D from the equation

Even then, the long term strategy was likely “launch halo car now, swallow the costs, make money on special editions and next generation models,” which is why I think they had a long term strategy in place and the Chiron is the real money maker. Nobody says the Chiron loses money 🙂

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
4 months ago
Reply to  Aaron

That’s what I’m talking about. Piech and the gang did it because it was cool, not caring about the effects on shareholders, stock price, profitability, or Piech’s reputation.

There were many good reasons not to do it, but they did it anyways, and that’s cool.

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
4 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

Yep, it’s both. Most of us can feel two things at once. If you merge David’s and Jason’s personas you’ll get one complete human being, or perhaps some kind of Supernerd.

Manuel Verissimo
Manuel Verissimo
4 months ago

Torch, you could apply your entire argument to the SR-71. No one but the Air Force (and the CIA) could afford to maintain it, very few were made, there’s very little chance you’ll see one and after spy satellites came to be they literally turned into museum pieces. The tech used for it didn’t exactly trickle down either.

Yet it’s still a reminder of the engineering might of Lockheed and proof that humanity can twist physics when it wants to. It could outrun missiles FFS! I’ll never own one or fly one but I nearly cried when I sat in the cockpit of one in a museum.

You sir have no heart. David wins this one, despite you mentioning the 280Z on the day mine came back from the body shop.

Last edited 4 months ago by Manuel Verissimo
Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
4 months ago

The difference is that the SR71 served a useful purpose. For 20 years, even well after the introduction of spy satellites the SR71 filled gaps in said satellite coverage and to photograph things hidden when spy satellites were known to be overhead.

The SR71 may have been an expensive, maintainence intensive, fuel hungry pig but at least it was useful.

The former can be said of the Veyron but not the latter.

Manuel Verissimo
Manuel Verissimo
4 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Stroking the ego of Dubai princes isn’t useful to you?! (It’s not)

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
4 months ago

Stroking Dubai princes isn’t my thing but there are plenty of others who will…for a price.

Wuffles Cookie
Wuffles Cookie
4 months ago

Er, the SR-71 was an incredibly useful plane, and remained so even after satellite reconnaissance became big. For one, it could get just about anywhere in the world in a handful of hours, not beholden to the iron laws of orbital mechanics which may dictate days for your satellite to cross over a target. It could also get all sorts of angle shots of an area of interest that can tell you far more than a direct overhead satellite shot would. Lastly, there was the element of surprise and deterrence- just knowing that a Blackbird could streak overhead at any hour and snap photos of all of your super top secret doings, giving you virtually no warning of it’s arrival and the worse knowledge that there was not a damn thing you could do to stop it, was a major check on the ambitions of hostile states.

Really, the SR-71 was not replaced by satellites but rather by stealthy drones that could do the same thing for cheaper.

Manuel Verissimo
Manuel Verissimo
4 months ago
Reply to  Wuffles Cookie

You’re right but I was massaging the truth to make a point. Leave me alone with your facts and knowledge! /S

Last edited 4 months ago by Manuel Verissimo
PaysOutAllNight
PaysOutAllNight
4 months ago

SR-71 tech did indeed trickle down. I won’t go into details of the electronics, because a lot of that stuff is still classified after all these years. And there’s a lot of stuff that isn’t classified anymore, but it’s not common knowledge that it came directly from the SR-71.

But the Blackbird was the original successful stealth technology aircraft, and before it was developed, nobody had the knowledge and skills use titanium in large scale uses. So even for just those items, it was highly influential and a useful experimentation platform.

Manuel Verissimo
Manuel Verissimo
4 months ago

Electronics I don’t know about so I’ll trust you on this. The SR-71 isn’t stealth though and titanium construction hasn’t been used in any other aircraft to the best of my knowledge so you can’t really say it trickled down.

PaysOutAllNight
PaysOutAllNight
4 months ago

The SR-71 is not up to modern stealth technologies, but the radar profile is far smaller than the actual size. It’s not nearly as effective as today’s stealth, but it’s where today’s stealth comes from.

Many military craft use titanium now, but not in the exact same form and manner. Even some commercial craft use it.

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
4 months ago

Manuel, you have stirred a hornet’s nest of nerds!

Manuel Verissimo
Manuel Verissimo
4 months ago
Reply to  Vetatur Fumare

I’ve fucked up haven’t I?

Last edited 4 months ago by Manuel Verissimo
sentinelTk
sentinelTk
4 months ago

Ok, the Jeep kitten reference was beautifully below-the-belt and priceless at the same time. I love you both. Never change gents.

David is right.

Last edited 4 months ago by sentinelTk
Chris Hoffpauir
Chris Hoffpauir
4 months ago

“Bugatti Veyron” must be Alsatian for “I have a small penis.”

Bracq P
Bracq P
4 months ago

I am with Ingvar Kamprad on this one

Any designer can design a desk that will cost 5,000 kronor. But only the most highly skilled can design a good, functional desk that will cost 100 kronor. Expensive solutions to any kind of problem are usually the work of mediocrity.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
4 months ago
Reply to  Bracq P

100 SEK = $9.59 USD so it seems IKEA has no highly skilled designers.

Bracq P
Bracq P
4 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Ingvar wrote this just before turning fifty 😉

The message is clear though, with enough money it is relatively easy to build the “best”, “fastest” even “most efficient”.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
4 months ago
Reply to  Bracq P

Oh I agree. I’m mostly disappointed IKEA has strayed from that.

158
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x