by Dan Trent

March 10, 2009

For its 100th anniversary, Bugatti has created a special car for the Geneva Auto Show called the Veyron Bleu Centenaire. It revives the firm’s signature paintwork in an unusual matte/gloss combination.
And, in what Bugatti boss Franz-Jozef Paefgen joked as a limited run appropriate to current financial conditions, it will be building just one. Global recession or not, there are apparently a number of people interested in buying this unique machine.
It’ll come at a cost, though. The Bleu Centenaire carries a $210,733 premium over the standard Veyron, raising the price to $1.9 million. That’s before tax. And the buyer will have to wait, because Bugatti will be displaying the car at a number of centenary events this year, including the ultraexclusive Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in Italy this April.
Given that blue is a traditional Bugatti color, it’s perhaps surprising that no Veyron has yet been delivered in this shade before. The Bleu Centenaire’s combination of "sprint blue matte" and "sprint blue gloss" on contrasting panels is key to its unique status. Polished and anodized aluminium trim and wing mirrors, plus a new set of wheels, finish the look.
Inside, there’s special "snow beige" quilted leather trim. Aside from that, the Bleu Centenaire is identical to any other Veyron, which is to say spectacular and mind-numbingly fast thanks to its 1,001-horsepower quad-turbo W16 engine. In case you needed reminding, that includes a 253 mph top speed and ability to go from zero to 186 mph in just 16.7 seconds.
Indeed, the Bleu Centenaire could be considered a last hurrah for the Veyron coupe, with Bugatti announcing it has now sold 250 cars – just 50 shy of the predicted 300 it was scheduled to build. When that number is reached, production will then shift to the convertible Grand Sport version, which will commence deliveries in April this year.
The first cars are reserved exclusively for existing Veyron owners as a recognition of their loyalty to the brand, a move Bugatti says has been "highly appreciated" by its customers. Just 150 Grand Sports will be made, the appetite of the super-rich for such playthings apparently still intact.
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