Inside Bugatti's Factory, Where The World's Fastest Cars Are Built

veyron grand super sport bugatti

Photo: via CarBuzz

It has 16 cylinders, 1,001 horsepower, goes from 0-60 in 2.5 seconds, a top speed of 253 miles per hour, and a starting price of well over $1 million.The Bugatti Veyron is made of incredible numbers. What began as a mere idea deep within the Volkswagen Group has grown to become the equivalent of the Concorde for the road.

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In the early 20th century, the Bugatti name was synonymous with performance. Frenchman Ettore Bugatti founded the company in 1909 and built some of the most legendary performance and touring cars ever. However, misfortunes and changes in markets forced them to shut down in 1952.

But the company has been resurrected twice. In the late 1980s, Italian businessman Romano Artoli purchased the rights to the name and built the EB110 supercar. But the company shut down in 1995.

In 1998, Volkswagen bought the name, and unleashed a slew of concept cars on the show circuit. Starting in 2001, they decided to make the fastest car in the world in a bespoke factory in Molsheim, France.

But how they make and test the Veyron is unlike any other car in the world.

The 16-cylinder engine is the heart of the Veyron.

And it's journey starts here: VW's Salzgitter engine plant.

This is, without a doubt, one of the largest engine factories in the world.

Yet the Veyron's engine is assembled by hand in a tiny room.

The bespoke titanium and aluminium parts are delivered by hand in sealed, padded cases.

Each piston is carved out of solid aluminium.

The engine is actually a W configuration. This is two V8 engines bolted together.

It takes craftsmen one week to complete a single Veyron engine.

To test it, they ran it on a dyno for the first time in 2001.

There, it produced the magical 1000 horsepower, and then some.

It actually made 3000 horsepower, 2/3 of which was heat. The building almost burned to the ground.

When the car was first tested on the road, it had 6 foot flames shooting out the back at 200 MPH. That isn't exactly legal.

So they upped the cooling capacity. Each Veyron has 10 radiators.

Italian company Riccardo was contracted to make the gearbox.

While it is common now, this was one of the earlier applications of a dual-clutch unit.

They could make it go, but could they make it stop?

The Veyron has massive carbon-ceramic brakes.

They are all hand made, once again in Germany.

They can withstand heat up to 1,800 degrees farenheit. But that wasn't enough to safely stop the car.

So the rear wing pops up to help it stop from speeds over 125 MPH. On its own, the air brake provides 70 per cent the force of standard car brakes.

Heggemann Aerospace constructs the wing and other assemblies in Germany.

The front of the car is made of aerospace grade stainless steel.

The fuel tank has 250 separate components and takes three days to complete.

When complete, the parts are shipped to Bugatti in France.

Tires had never been built for a car this fast. Michelin was contracted to make them work.

They originally made two tires, one for the road and one for the track. But Bugatti came back and said they needed one for both.

A standard tire can be stamped out in 30 seconds. Veyron tires take one hour to make.

And if they go bald, you are in for an expensive bill. A set of four costs $17,000.

Inside, incomplete Veyrons are kept in three sections until they are ready to be put together.

The carbon fibre driver's cockpit provides protection for the occupants.

It may be hard to believe, but the front and rear of the car are held together by just 14 bolts.

Before the body panels are applied, the car is run through a series of tests to make sure assembly went as intended.

Every bolt in the entire car is done by hand. Each car takes four to five weeks to finish.

Every Veyron is then driven 300 miles to ensure that the work was done properly.

Some are even tested at Volkswagen's test facility, Ehra-Lessien, in Germany.

At top speed, the Veyron is covering more than a football field each second.

And it gets three miles per gallon. It runs out of fuel in 12 minutes.

It is then lovingly polished for two days.

Before it is sent to its new owner.

But if you're paying $1 million for a car, you expect this level of commitment.

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