So it’s 2010 and we’ve almost cracked 270mph in a road car. Ludicrous? Perhaps. Unnecessary? Definitely. Induce heartbreak in Caroline Lucas? We can only hope.
When I saw the Day-Glo orange and carbon Bugatti Veyron Super Sport I wondered whether VW had – to use a cliché – over-egged the custard. Seriously: 1200bhp, 1200lb/ft and 1.5 million euros. In the UK there’s nowhere you could deploy that kind of cataclysmic shove in an effort to v-max it. Not even a Boeing-length runway would suffice…
So what’s the point? To vex a burger-chewer called Jerod Shelby? Unlikely. To be the undisputed production car record holder? Someone will always go out of their way to break it eventually (aforementioned Shelby), so again…why? It’s a hard one to fathom.
McLaren held the speed mantle for some 11 years, but in the past 5 we have been inundated with these 250mph monsters all jockeying for the title. And with very few actually going out and proving their capabilities it makes them slightly more pointless than they perhaps already are.
I can’t help but think it’s to justify a price tag. ‘Boutique’ cars command prices 5 or 6 times more than a Ferrari 458 and for what? Zero pedigree, a bad chassis and a theoretical top speed?
For a brief 30 minute period I understood this power struggle. I was watching a fantastic Channel 4 documentary about the demise of Concorde. It was all about pushing the limits, when Britain was at the cutting edge of engineering and design and striving for something beyond the imagination of the watching World. There was a massive sense of national pride and just plain awe of what we (and the French, of course) had created. Car makers evidently aspire to a similar level of evolution and the big black Bug is the closest yet.
Sadly the Veyron SS owners club is far more exclusive than Concorde economy and, more poignantly, it will rarely get to demonstrate its full capabilities as frequently as flight BA001 did all those years ago. Shame.