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A blinding Bugatti

TRADITIONALLY, the Bugatti name has meant to things: luxury and performance. The French car company dominated Grand Prix racing in the 1920s but at the same time built the incredible Bugatti Royale, a car designed for kings and emperors only. In the 1930s Bugatti returned to sporting success with two victories in the Le Mans 24 Hours.

The company faded away in the 1950s but was revived in the late 1980s by Italian Romeo Artioli who built a range of supercars. He made more money from merchandising associated with the Bugatti name than from the cars.

The name has since been purchased by Volkswagen and the German magazine Der Spiegel will publish details on Monday of the Hannover company's plans for the future Bugatti marque. It seems that VW is hoping to marry luxury and performance with an 800 horsepower supercar. This will be aimed at the super-supercar market and will priced at around $750,000. The cars, the first of which will appear in 2003, will be built at a new facility in Molsheim in Alsace where the original Bugatti factory was located. The cars will have a top speed of 252mph and the first model will be limited to just 50 cars. There are plans for a second supercar which will have 1000 horsepower. It remains to be seen whether or not VW decides that such cars need to be marketed. They may consider that the Bugatti name is strong enough not to need promotion and with plans to race Bentleys at Le Mans and with the Lamborghini name also in the VW portfolio it may not even consider an F1 program.

But then again...

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