The rumor couldn’t be ignored once Kris Singh — managing director of a U.S. investment firm, Lamborghini Veneno owner, and supercar collector — made a post on Instagram the same day as the Supercar Blog post. Next to an image of the 110 Ans Bugatti, Singh wrote, “it will be fun to see this alongside the Divo and the top secret 16 million euro Bugatti one-off that was made exclusively for Dr. Piech.”
As chairman of the VW Group, Piëch fathered the Veyron when he demanded his engineers turn the 2001 Geneva Motor Show concept into a proper production car. After a roaring 14 years, Piëch’s tenure ended with a whimper when he was ousted in 2015 in an internal battle with Group CEO Martin Winterkorn. A few months after Piëch hit the bricks, dieselgate broke. Last year, U.S. prosecutors charged Winterkorn — who remains in Germany — with wire fraud and conspiracy to defraud the United States in connection with the emissions scandal. Piëch, on the other hand, had different pursuers: Volkswagen said in 2017 it might go after the family scion for reportedly leaking about potential cheating on the emissions tests six months before the situation went public. The same year, Piëch sold his 14.7 percent stake in the the VW Group’s holding company, netting him a billion.
So what could the now-81-year-old ex-Caesar be doing with Bugatti now? The easy money is on some kind of Chiron-based coupe, but for a reputed $18 million, this would need to be a massive departure from the Chiron. Assuming the price is accurate, this would outdo the most expensive new car yet, the Rolls-Royce Sweptail of 2017, said to cost $13 million. The English custom kept “30 to 40 designers, engineers, craftspeople, and testers” busy for four years. With that kind of timeline, It’s possible Piëch started this project before he left the company, told Bugatti to keep working on it as he was walking out the door, and said to send him a bill.
No matter that, what if this is something more wild than a rebodied Chiron — like, say, a do-over of the 2009 Galibier sedan concept? The silver-sided bullet looked incredible, but it was said Piëch didn’t like the design compromises involved in stuffing the Veyron’s 8.0-liter quad-turbo W16 under a hood out front. Last August, a Bugatti customer posted a picture on Twitter of a stretched Bugatti under a tarp, on a loading ramp behind the Bugatti design center in Wolfsburg. It had a Chiron-like nose, but room for more than just two doors between the wheels, and a much longer rear overhang.
Curiouser and curiouser is all we can say for now. But this might be the most interesting Geneva tease so far.