Bugatti’s Fifth Legend Model "Black Bess" will Debut in Beijing

Bugatti will blow the covers off the fifth model in the six-part Legends Edition at the Beijing Auto Show next week, with the new car paying tribute to the Bugatti Type 18 “Black Bess”.

The Type 18 was one of the most important Bugattis of the pre-WW1 era. Powered by a 5.0-liter 4-cylinder in-line engine producing over 100 PS (99hp), the Type 18 reached a top speed of 160 km/h (100 mph), a feat deemed virtually unbelievable for the 1910s.

Only seven units were built, with one of them bought by French aviation pioneer Roland Garros. That particular car with identification number 474 was later named after the English racehorse “Black Bess” and is one of only three vehicles still remaining. The car will join the new Bugatti Legend at the Beijing premiere.

Like all previous Bugatti Legends, the “Black Bess” is based on the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse, powered by a 1,200PS (1,184hp) 8-liter W16 engine. The car sprints from 0–100 km (62 mph) in 2.6 seconds and can reach a maximum speed of 408.84 km/h (254 mph) with the roof down.

The bodywork is made entirely of carbon fiber and is painted completely black with gold-colored accents. Some of the body components are even coated in 24-carat gold, including the Bugatti horseshoe on the grille, the EB logo at the rear, the hub covers on the black rims and the tank and oil caps.

The interior is fully upholstered with leather: the headliner, footwell, seats, elongated centre console and rear bulkhead are bedecked in a light “Beige” tone, while the dashboard, dash panel, door trim panel and cowl panel offer a discreet contrast in ”Havanna”. Furthermore, Red “Crimson” leather adorns the steering wheel rim as a reference to the historic Type 18 “Black Bess”.

The most striking details are the hand-painted door panels, which bear scenes depict the historic Type 18 “Black Bess” as well as Roland Garros’ airplane, a Morane Saulnier Type H. These sketches have been hand-painted directly onto the leather, just as the components in luxury vehicles were hand-painted in the early 1920s.

As with all models in the Edition, the current Legends model is limited to a run of three vehicles and is available for a net price of €2.15 million ($2.97 million). All previous four Legend models (12 units) are sold out.

By Dan Mihalascu

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