Tag Archives: French Cars

My first Bugatti Chiron at NYIAS

Bugatti Chiron NYIAS 7

I got my first in-person look at the new Bugatti Chiron at the New York International Auto Show. Naturally it was from behind the fence meant to keep the proletariat at bay, but what I could see was spectacular. There seems to be another level of fine detail in the Chiron over that of the Veyron. It’s even more of a work of art, and that has become increasingly important for cars at this ultimate level.

One thing I noticed in particular was the Bugatti badge on the front grille. It has more dimension and appears to be hand made and hand painted. It helps give a little artisan appeal to the Chiron’s otherwise all-too-perfect modern mechanical nature.

Enjoy the photos of what should soon be confirmed as the fastest car in the world.

Continue reading My first Bugatti Chiron at NYIAS

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Some alone time with a Bugatti Type 57 Atalante

Bugatti Type 57 Atlante St. Michaels 20

There are moments where circumstances align to create unbelievable opportunities, things that aren’t “supposed to happen,” but do anyway. Being prepared, in the right place at the right time is everything. So when I found myself on the Maryland shore on a picture perfect day, all alone with a 1936 Bugatti Type 57 Atalante, I knew I had to seize the moment.

I spent well over an hour pouring over this magnificent machine. A few other people strolled over to check it out, but for most of the time it was just me and this rolling French masterpiece. How often does anyone get to shoot a car worth well north of $10 million all alone in such a scenic location?

I mean, a shoot like this, with a car of this caliber, likely isn’t something I could even organize at this point. But in the situation as it played out, the opportunity presented itself at the St. Michaels Concours d’Elegance.

Enjoy the contrast between the stark, and dark, Art Deco lines of this Bugatti in the lush landscape of the Eastern Maryland shore.

Continue reading Some alone time with a Bugatti Type 57 Atalante

1931 Voisin C20 Simoun Underslung at Hershey

Voisin C20 Hershey 1

I do have a weakness for pre-war French cars. These were the chariots of the bourgeoisie, with their fantastic art deco style, artisan coachwork, and superior technology.

This Voisin C20 Simoun Underslung was the top sport model of the Voisin V-12 range. It commanded a hefty premium even over a comparable Bugatti of the day. Only 30 Voisin C20 chassis were originally built, and this one is supposedly the only survivor.

Enjoy the photos of this most-elegant machine.

Continue reading 1931 Voisin C20 Simoun Underslung at Hershey

This 1939 Delage D6 3 Liter Gran Prix is from the last glory days of French racing

1939 Delage D6 3 Liter Grand Prix 2

1939, we all know what was happening in Europe at that time, but on the brink of the second World War, this Delage was competing in the last races before the onset of mass destruction.

It was the end of an era for the automobile, and after the war things would be faster, but they sure wouldn’t look as good. I mean look at the swooping fenders on this thing, it was as much about style as it was about speed. Pre-war era racing was a unique time in automotive history, one that will never be equalled in many respects. Racing had a lot more charm back then, it was more dangerous for it, but that also added to the appeal.

Enjoy daydreaming about this French masterpiece!

Continue reading This 1939 Delage D6 3 Liter Gran Prix is from the last glory days of French racing

The Magnificent Bugatti Type 57 Aerolithe at Amelia Island

Bugatti Type 57 Aerolithe Amelia 2

I’m sure many of you know about the most expensive car on Earth (arguably), the 1936 Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantic Coupe. Well, this Bugatti Type 57 Aerolithe was the show car that inspired the Atlantic’s design. At the 1935 Paris Auto Salon, the Aerolithe was had a striking and divisive effect on the crowd. It was unlike any car ever seen before because of its swooping coupe shape and also because its body was made entirely of electron magnesium, a metal nearly impossible to work with. It was aptly dubbed the “Electron Coupe.”

Despite initial mixed opinions in Paris, the Bugatti Aerolithe went on to inspire many other French car designs to come during the Art Deco era, including the famed Type 57 SC Atlantic. Interestingly, though, the Aerolithe vanished shortly after the Paris show, and has never been seen again.

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New York International Auto Show General Gallery

Bentley Bentayga

The New York Auto Show finished its run on Sunday evening and was home to a multitude of concept and full debuts, including Lincoln’s Navigator concept (complete with a massive gullwing door) and Mazda’s MX-5 Targa Retractable. This year, the show wasn’t nearly as glitzy as previous years, but I had an enjoyable day all the same. Although I wasn’t intent on taking as many photos (as I had spent a massive amount of time at L.A. a few months back), there was still plenty to see. Fiat showed off the new 124 Abarth, and Porsche had the 911R on display for all to see, just ahead of the new 718 Boxster roadster. Enjoy the brief gallery of what was on display this past week, with some more to follow. Continue reading New York International Auto Show General Gallery

An Honest Take on the Bugatti Chiron

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The Bugatti Veyron hit the world of supercars over the head with a hammer. In a world where 600hp was still hypercar territory, the Veyron came in with 1,000hp. It was the first road car to crack the 250mph barrier, it was the most expensive car on sale, it had the most radiators… essentially it was the Guiness Book of World Records on four wheels.

Bugatti just released their next-generation hypercar, the Chiron, at the Geneva Motor Show this week, and it’s the exact same recipie as the Veyron. I mean, sure it has 500 more horsepower than the original Veyron had, and sure it looks a little fancier, but it’s really just more of the same ingredients. It’s the same type of car, but is that a good thing, or a bad thing?

Continue reading An Honest Take on the Bugatti Chiron

1947 Delahaye 135M Narval “Cover Girl” at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

47 Delahaye 135M Amelia Island 5

Only automobile aficionados know about Delahayes. But when anyone asks me who made the most beautiful cars of all time, I usually drop the Delahaye name. They are gorgeous, they are elegant, they are as French as French can be.

Any connoisseur of pre-war automobiles will know of all the stunning machines that came out of France in the early-mid 1900s. Many might argue that Bugatti or Talbot should hold the crown of  beauty instead, but Delahayes have always dropped my jaw in a way that no other marque ever has. They are magical machines with the power to make everything around them disappear.

The 1947 Delahaye 135M you see here turned many heads at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. It is one of a few hundred 135Ms produced in the difficult post-war era. France was ruined and there wasn’t much room for ostentatious luxury cars as the country was being rebuilt. As a result, most post-war Delahayes were exported to wealthy buyers outside of France. Delahaye’s larger military contracting business kept them afloat until they lost a major contract with the French government, and went bust in 1954.

This beautiful black Delahaye 135M Narval was built for a wealthy industrialist in Ohio. It’s design was inspired by the elegant motion of aquatic mammals, specifically the Narwal. It was built for the President of The Prima Company Ohio, and was showcased in a magazine ad for “Covergirl Dress Flats by Prima,” hence the car’s nickname “Cover Girl.”

This Delahaye stands as a masterpiece of art on wheels. Enjoy the gallery.

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Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse Blue Carbon at the Quail Lodge

Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse Blue Carbon 9

No matter what you may think of the Bugatti Veyron, there is no denying the hefty presence it has when you see one in person. It’s not a particularly big car, and it doesn’t have the flashiest exotic shape either. The Veyron is very round, some might even say bulbous, but it has an essence of sheer quality that will make almost any car near it seem shamefully cheap.

I recently heard somewhere that these Super Sport model Bugattis cost Volkswagen a whopping $6 million each to produce. That means VW lost $2-4 million on each Veyron they sold. Most cars are a lot cheaper in build than their price tag would suggest, especially in the luxury arena. Not the Bugatti Veryron, though, and it really does show when you see the car up close in the real world.

I know I’ve been one to criticize the Veyron from time to time, but that’s mostly for people reasons, not because of the car itself. Sociologically, the braggadocios Veyron got played out pretty quick, and Bugatti even struggled to move the last few units. But there’s no denying what a significant technological achievement this car is, even despite the existence of the LaFerrari, Koenigsegg and the other, newer hypercars.

Sure, there are quicker cars out there. But the Veyron doesn’t just do 250 or 260 mph, it makes it an easy affair. I often joke that the Bugatti’s real achievement wasn’t in breaking the 250 mph barrier, but in that it would allow Paris Hilton to do it in heels while texting, petting her toy dog and taking a selfie. That is a massive engineering achievement, and if you tried the same in a Hennessey Venom GT…. well, you’d probably wind up losing your phone.

What a fantastic objects these later-production Veyrons are, when Bugatti started getting fancy with the color schemes. This Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse, which we found at the Quail Lodge during Monterey Car Week, just looked unreal with it’s two-tone French Racing Blue and blue carbon fiber bodywork. If I were spec’ing up a Bugatti Veyron for myself, this would surely be the epitome of my desire.

Enjoy the photos of this serious stunner!

Continue reading Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse Blue Carbon at the Quail Lodge

Best Of Show Winners from the 2015 Concours of America at St. John’s

1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Front//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Six months back, Nick, Shane, and I were all in attendance at the 2015 Concours of America, over in Plymouth MI.  Nick’s shown us all the highlights and I’ve done a few features on one or two muscle cars and a set of dry-lake race cars, as well as a very unique Corvette.  However, nothing gets in front of Best of Show, and at this show, one award is given to the best American car, and one is given to the best imported car.  The winners this year genuinely embody the best of what the pre-war world of cars had to offer 80 years ago. Continue reading Best Of Show Winners from the 2015 Concours of America at St. John’s

Various Racing Machines in the Laguna Seca Paddock

Porsche 956 Laguna Seca Paddock

Some more shots from the Paddock of Laguna Seca during Monterey Car Week, here is a gallery of awesome racing cars, old and new.

I always love seeing the old pre-war racecars sitting right next to more modern racecars, like Group C, because it really puts in perspective how far the automobile has come in just a few decades. That said, the drivers of those older racing cars were men among men. Those cars were not especially slow at all, reaching over 100mph, but with very primitive technology.

Enjoy the spectacle!

Continue reading Various Racing Machines in the Laguna Seca Paddock