The legendary story of Bugatti is as much one of arete art and elegance par excellence as it is of exquisite engineering and prodigious performance. These impeccable values form the unyielding pillars that underpin every Bugatti model, from the revolutionary Type 10 to the 2022 W16 Mistral ultimate roadster. Thus, September’s Chantilly Arts & Elegance Richard Mille near Paris proved the perfect venue to present some of the Bugatti brand’s most desirable creations.
Bugatti has played a pivotal role in supporting the Chantilly Arts & Elegance Richard Mille since the show’s inception in 2014. The event takes place in the park adjacent to the stunning Château de Chantilly. Located 45 km (28 miles) north of Paris, the Château is regarded as one of the finest jewels in the crown of France’s cultural heritage. Each year the unparalleled gathering celebrates the very finest things in life, with sublime offers from the fields of automotive, art, luxury, haute cuisine, and haute couture. Held over the weekend of 23rd to 25th September, the Chantilly Arts & Elegance Richard Mille attracted some 16,000 visitors.
As is the custom, three automotive competitions for vehicles of exceptional pedigree and caliber – the Concours d’Elegance, the Concours d’Etat and Grand Prix des Clubs – were held over the weekend, with Bugatti strongly represented in each category. Bugatti selected the Chantilly Arts & Elegance Richard Mille to give the breathtaking Mistral W16 its European debut, and also entered the ultimate roadster in Sunday’s Chantilly Concours d’Elegance. Named after a one-of-a-kind wind that heralds the new seasons in southern France, the supremely powerful 1,600 PS W16 quad-turbo Bugatti Mistral provides unsurpassed freedom and exceptional elegance and represents nothing less than the ultimate roadster.
Bugatti first unveiled the Mistral to the world at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering during Monterey Car Week in the US in August. Chantilly gave visitors what will prove to be an exceptionally rare opportunity to catch a glimpse of the W16 Mistral, as all 99 examples – priced at 5 million euros (net) each – had already been spoken for by discerning collectors prior to the car’s debut at Monterey. The Bugatti W16 Mistral was presented under the Dome of the Great Stables at Chantilly on Saturday night at the exclusive opening gala dinner at which Bugatti hosted 60 guests. Throughout Saturday and Sunday, all visitors to the Chantilly Arts & Elegance Richard Mille were able to appreciate the W16 Mistral, which was displayed within a covered booth in a prime position on the grounds right beside the Château.
Over the entire weekend, Bugatti customers and enthusiasts were made welcome at the Bugatti stand. Also on display was an eclectic ensemble of Bugatti models brought to the event by owners. This remarkable collection included: a Chiron2, a Chiron Sport3, a Chiron Pur Sport4, two Chiron Super Sport5, a Divo, an EB110, a Type 57 Gangloff, a Veyron and the Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse World Record car. In addition, no less than six Bugatti Baby II cast their alluring spell over junior drivers and adults alike. Collectively, the Bugatti customer models represented an exceptionally strong entry in Sunday’s Grand Prix des Clubs.
The Bugatti W16 Mistral was one of nine vehicles competing in the Chantilly Concours d’Elegance on Sunday, with each car representing the pinnacle of contemporary automotive design and technology. Chantilly Arts & Elegance Richard Mille was created to evoke the spirit, ambiance and unsurpassed glamour of the very first automotive Concours d’Elegance events held in France in the 1920s. At the time, they celebrated the most exceptional offerings from not only the fledgling automotive industry but also the finest haute couture from the world’s leading fashion houses in Paris.
Uniquely, a century later, the Chantilly Concours d’Elegance reunites the worlds of high fashion and automotive excellence to revive the glory of that earlier era. Each automotive manufacturer competing in the exclusive event partners with a fashion house; on Sunday, each car was paraded alongside a model wearing the very finest fashion, with the clothes are worn accounting for 25 percent of the total points on offer.
For the event, Bugatti elected to partner with the Dylan Parienty Couture House Paris. Parienty’s determination to design with a limitless vision makes the garments he creates the perfect accompaniment for the avant-garde Bugatti W16 Mistral. The model accompanying the Bugatti W16 Mistral wore a spell-binding black dress encrusted with yellow Swarovski crystal pieces. The sophisticated outfit perfectly symbolized the elegance and freedom of spirit of the Bugatti W16 Mistral, and of course, beautifully complemented the black and yellow of the ultimate roadster’s cabin.
Forged for the ultimate in automotive adventure, the W16 Mistral pays homage to one of the marque’s most elegant models, the Type 57 Grand Raid Usine. Like that legendary model, the W16 Mistral sports the colors chosen by Ettore Bugatti for many of his personal cars, black and yellow, which to connoisseurs of the brand timelessly denote the essence of elegance and the peak of performance. And it was to Ettore’s Bugatti’s guiding values that the designers and engineers of the W16 Mistral returned to once again to create the brand’s future, bolstered by the appliance of the very latest and very best automotive technologies.
A captivating collection of Bugatti models participated in Sunday’s Chantilly Concours d’Etat, with the marque sponsoring two classes: Bugatti Type 55 and Bugatti, La Renaissance (from EB110 to today). Four cars featured in the former category, two of exceptional historical significance. The one-of-one Bugatti Type 55 Figoni was raced at Le Mans in 1932 by legendary works Bugatti pilot Louis Chiron, competing in the privately registered team of Count Guy Bouriat, with whom Chiron shared the driving duties. Unfortunately, a freak occurrence, which saw a stone wedged between the rear axle and the fuel tank, where it caused a leak, prevented the car from completing the race. Still, it subsequently achieved success at Concours events throughout Europe. A Type 55 Roadster designed by Jean Bugatti also featured in the class, one of just 15 examples built and one of the most original in existence.
The ‘Bugatti, La Renaissance’ class featured four variants of the iconic EB110, introduced in 1991, alongside one of the most intriguing cars of the Romano Artioli era of Bugatti, the EB112. Work had commenced on only three examples of this iconic saloon designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro when Bugatti Automobili S.p.A., as the company was then known, ceased trading in 1995. The example on display at Chantilly was purchased part-built along with a second example by Gildo Pallanca Pastor, who subsequently completed the construction of both cars.
The Bugatti Type 55 Roadster Jean Bugatti (1932) triumphed in first class, while the Bugatti EB110 S ‘Le Mans’ (1994) emerged victorious in the ‘Bugatti, La Renaissance’ class. Bugatti Managing Director Sales and Marketing, Hendrik Malinowski, and the company’s Head of Sales, Guy Caquelin, presented the prizes.