People in Dallas are known for their love of cars. But do they love them enough to spend more than $2.5 million on one? You bet they do. That’s why Park Place Motorcars on Lemmon brought in the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse.
The world’s fastest production roadster (zero to 60 in 2.6 seconds) had at least four test drives scheduled yesterday, when my son and I stopped by to take a look. Most buyers, unless they want the instant gratification of driving one off the lot, will want to configure their own, says Butch Leitzinger, a factory driver for Bugatti. Production takes anywhere from five months to 18 months, depending on the level of customization. (Catch more from Butch in this video with Jay Leno.)
Bugatti produced 300 hard-top Vitesse coupes two years ago; they’ve all sold out. Of the 150 Grand Sport (convertible) models, fewer than 30 remain available.
Park Place Bugatti opened about three years ago. New York, Miami, and Los Angeles are the top U.S. markets for the carmaker, but Dallas is very successful as well, says Michele Gregory, director of owner relations for Bugatti: “There are fantastic roads and weather here, so Dallas drivers have a great opportunity to actually get out and drive.”
The car has become well-known with a younger set of would-be drivers, she says, due to rap lyrics and video games like Grand Theft Auto.
The Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse has an exposed 16-cylinder W16 engine, with four turbo chargers. Its top speed is 255. But despite the supercar’s “outer-worldly” acceleration, Leitzinger says, it’s easy to drive. The goal in designing it—a process that took eight years—was to produce the world’s fastest production car, but also one that would work for “driving your wife to the opera,” he says. “Normally you’d need a drag racer to steer and control the car. But with this one you can go from a dead stop to open throttle with just two fingers on the steering wheel.”
While at Park Place, we also took a look at the new Bentley V8S, which the dealership got in about 10 days ago (they run about $260,000), and the McLaren 650S (which starts at about $265,000). But it was the Bugatti that stole the show.
The best part of the tour—besides scoring major mom points with my son, who got to sit behind the wheel of the Veyron—was seeing the face of a young boy who happened by. Sporting a Bugatti t-shirt, he was on his way home from Scottish Rite Hospital, where he’s a patient. His parents brought him to Park Place on the chance that he could see some exotics. After spotting the Veyron, he was rendered momentarily speechless, before breaking into a $2.6 million smile.