I've been getting into the BBC2 show "Top Gear" as of late. Jeremy Clarkson is an absolute riot to watch and hear. He's doing what I picture Jay Leno doing, if Jay wasn't doing his variety show: Witty, scathingly honest reviews about cars that he can get his hands on.
I know I've written about this before, but I must do so again: The Bugatti Veyron will be the finest piece of road going machinery we will probably ever see in our lifetimes. I think it can deserve another few paragraphs of gushing.
In 2005 and 2006, Top Gear ran a couple of shows with information about the Bugatti Veyron. Michelle will tell you that if money were no object, I'd own one of these in a heartbeat: A gorgeous body, wrapping up a monster of a turbocharged heart. The w16 with it's 4 turbos generates 1000+ horse power, and can drive the car up to a electronically limited 253 miles per hour. That's outstripping everything but drag cars at that point, and considering that it's an amazingly civilized car (according to Clarkson (who drove the car for 13 hours straight from Italy to London), and one of his co-hosts, James May (who took the car up to it's top rated speed of 253 MPH on a controlled course)), the car is an engineering feat of staggering proportions. Clarkson states "This is concorde [I assume that this is a reference to the Concorde SST. Not being from Europe, I get a bit hamstrung on some of the colloquialisms]. Not just the best car that's ever been made, but possibly, the best car we'll see in our lifetime."
This make me a little sad, as I'll probably NEVER even SEE this car driven in person, much less be able to touch or DRIVE said vehicle. At $1.7 million US, it's a bit out of reach, not including whatever one has to do to actually get to where you can drive one. To bring one over will invariably require some sort of Federal intervention, as you're not going to want to give the DOT 5 or 10 of these to put through their wringer. While it's probably an outstanding track car, who really wants to drive something like this only on the track and on the show concourse? The other option is to relocate to somewhere in Europe. Not quite my speed, as while I have my beef with the Feds, it's genuinely better here than anywhere else. Also, it costs VW (Bugatti's parent company) something along the order or $10 million US *EACH* to produce, so it will be a very limited production run. No, that's not a typo... the car is "a technical exercise". Perhaps that number will go down now that the engineering is done (I don't have a cost breakdown as to where the $10mil is spend), but I still expect it to stay firmly in the realm of "completely unattainable".
Don't get me wrong, there are many other great cars out there, that are great in their own right. The Ford GT, The Opel Speedster, Caterham Super 7, Ariel Atom, Chevrolet Corvette C6, Dodge Viper R/T10, Saleen S7... the list could go on. Many on that list are (with a bit of saving for a few years), actually something that many of us could actually have in our garage if we so chose. But nothing, and I do mean NOTHING, comes close to the work done on the Veyron. It's as inspired as German/Italian/British engineering gets.