Bugatti Bolide Blues

Submitted by peter on Sat, 10/31/2020 - 13:25

The Bugatti Bolide announcement featured a car painted blue and brings a blue moment to green enthusiasts plus, I think, genuine car enthusiasts. Supercars are supposed to develop better technology that can work down into our daily rides but nothing in the Bolide brag bag is of any use on the road.

The photographs show no gap between the tires and the body which means no suspension which means you cannot drive it on a road. The windows block your view of the traffic, another killer when you commute.

The long list of "technology achievements" contains nothing new. Adding more turbochargers is a backward step from reliability and usability and the many green fuel alternatives. Titanium panels is such an old idea that my ancient cheap notebook computer is encased in titanium. Carbon fibre filtered down to mid priced computers and is used as decorative "wallpaper" in common cars.

While carbon fibre can be lighter for some uses, the limitations of carbon fibre make it mostly useless, replacing only components that already have several light weight alternatives. The really heavy components require something with better wear characteristics. The alternatives are already recycled while carbon fibre remains stuck as a use once material.

Some plastics are advertised as recyclable but they can only be reused once as a degraded filler in bulk plastic items like garbage bins and the dashboards for cheap cars. The resultant plastic mix cannot be recycled a second time. There are already lots of green filler materials for bulk plastics, making that first recycle a waste.

The Bolide is a Chiron after a diet. The Chiron added only some styling changes to predecessors. The Bolide removes the few attempts at practical or safe driving.

Bugatti is a Volkswagen with different body trim. Volkswagen bought Lamborgini, a car maker who kept some minor concessions to good design. Lamborgini was buried in the Volskwagen Audi brand with only one advance that I can remember. Audi build a full size wind chamber instead of the toys used to test little models. Lamborgini benefited. Bugatti started out as an extreme combination of big Audi sedans and Lamborgini performance based on extreme versions of Volkswagen engines.

I am surprised they never built a Bugatti beach wagon with a surfboard painted on the side an air cooled engine that burnt out every summer. Acquaintances built a huge car maintenance business almost entirely on replacing Volkswagen engines. Their only other business was the usual replace Ford engines, Ford gearboxes, Ford engine+gearbox, plus replacing Ford suspensions to make the cars safe on country roads.

The Bolide adds nothing. F1 cars produced some improvements we use every day but, in general, supercars contribute nothing. So where do we get improvements?

Volvo developed the biggest single improvement in car safety, the safety belt. Toyota made reliability a basic expectation. If Volkswagen achieve what Toyota perfected 50 years ago, a Bugatti might be a better investment.

The Americans have only one recent contribution, the SUV, where they attempt to make a practical sedan/wagon hybrid to replace the awful hatchbacks they sold for way too many years. Unfortunately they continue the American practice of showing real SUV to journalists then substituting an inferior product in the showroom. You end up with an over priced sedan, lots of chrome trim, but not the technology behind the great rides you see in the media.

Bugatti crashes highlight another downside of owning a Bugatti. A minor car park collision costs more to fix than buying a Range Rover for every member of your family. The Bolide contrast to other cars makes the Toyota RAV, Subaru Forester, and similar cars much more interesting for post COVID lockdown trips around the country.

Plus, the change you save is enough to step out of the RAV for a holiday at a lovely beach, swim in the ocean, then buy the cottage overlooking the beautiful blue bay.