Bugatti has had close associations with aviation ever since the company was first established more than 110 years ago. Many successful Bugatti racing drivers, including Albert Divo, Robert Benoist, and Bartolomeo Constantini, all flew for the French Air Force; and French aviator legend and sportsman Roland Garros also owned one of the seven Bugatti Type 18 ever made – the model was later affectionally given the name “Garros”.
In fact, founder Ettore Bugatti himself was also involved in the design of aircraft engines, and from 1937, also developed an entire aircraft just to break speed records. The project unfortunately had to be stopped due to World War II, but Bugatti kept in close personal contact with the pilots throughout his life.
As a tribute to these “daredevils”, Bugatti has unveiled the Chiron Sport “Les Légendes du Ciel” edition in honour of the brand’s heritage. Based on the Chiron Sport, the Legends of the Sky edition is limited to just 20 units, and will cost EUR2.88 million net each.
The main standout feature on the “Les Légendes du Ciel” is its matte-grey paint job, dubbed “Gris Serpent”, which Bugatti says is a modern interpretation of the exterior colour found on aircrafts from the 1920s. A white gloss centre stripe splits the car into two halves right down the middle, all the way from the top of the horseshoe grille to the edge of the rear wing.
Speaking of the horseshoe grille, Bugatti has also given the Chiron Sport “Les Légendes du Ciel” a unique mesh pattern, made of laser-cut and deep-drawn aluminium, to represent planes flying in formation in an air parade. The same pattern is also found on the stitched seams on the leather seats inside.
Other exterior features include the “Les Légendes du Ciel” logo on the front fender, while the exposed black carbon fibre side sills are decorated with the French “Le Bleu-Blanc-Rouge” tricolour. Further back, black exposed carbon fibre along with white contrast lettering is again used on the engine cover, while the exhaust trim cover is 3D-printed out of a high-temperature-resistant Inconel material.
Moving inside, you’ll immediately be greeted by the special-edition Logo puddle light projected on the ground once you open the doors. The door sills also feature the “Les Légendes du Ciel” logo, and are made out of brushed aluminium – the only material on the trims you’ll find inside the cabin, contrasting the “Gaucho” bright tan leather which the company says is reminiscent of the leather used in aircrafts from the olden days.
The “Les Légendes du Ciel” logo can be found again on the headrests along with the special-edition numbering “1 of 20”, as well as the centre console insert which is made out of polished aluminium in perlée-finish, a nod to Bugatti’s historic race cars. As an option, the Legends of the Sky special edition can also be fitted with a “Sky View” glass roof to simulate the feel of an open-top aircraft.
Other details that can be found on the interior include a hand-sketched racing scene on the door panels, featuring the Nieuport 17 aircraft and Bugatti Type 13 – the two “souls” honoured by this special edition.
The Nieuport 17 is a French biplane aircraft built from 1916 that was very popular among pilots due to its reliability, speed, agility and manoeuvrability, while the Bugatti Type 13 was the first model to bear the Bugatti nameplate, and formed the foundations for the brand’s racing success.
The W16 engine found behind the passenger compartment is unchanged, with a capacity of 8.0-litres delivering 1,500 hp and 1,600 Nm of torque. 0-100 km/h takes just 2.5 seconds, onward to a electronically-limited top speed of 420 km/h – certainly fast enough to run alongside a fighter jet, as Top Gear demonstrated 12 years ago with the Bugatti Veyron.