Bugatti has been exceptional experiences in Simon’s career. The most prestigious automobile manufacturer on the planet is part of the Volkswagen network, and after leaving his senior design position at the German mothership, Simon found an incredibly creative playground in the just established Bugatti design team under the lead of Design Director Achim Anscheidt. Between 2005 and 2008 Simon worked under Anscheidt’s supervision in a micro team on a wide variety of Bugatti concepts (one ultimately leading to the Galibier study), on the intense and difficult quest for a successor or partner for the omnipresent Bugatti Veyron. The Veyron was created in 1999 at Volkswagen under the helm of Hartmut Warkuss, by exterior designer Jozef Kabaň, and is successfully sold in a variety of limited editions ever since. One of them is the 2008 Veyron Fbg par Hermès at the price of around 2 million US dollars.
Hermès is a French prestigious fashion house, and a collaboration between those two exclusive names seemed to be only a matter of time. Designer Gabriele Pezzini lead the project on the Hermès side, with Achim Anscheidt, Etienne Salome and Daniel Simon on the Bugatti side. Due to the extreme research and testing efforts of a Veyron, there are designated areas where the car can be bespoken – one shall not forget that the Veyron is one of the extremest vehicles ever built, faster then Formula 1, and aerodynamics, cooling and forces are extremely complex. Each part is discussed and developed with engineers down to the smallest detail to match the highest possible quality and functionality.
The wheels of a Veyron turn a staggering 75 times per seconds at top speed. Enormous forces occur. The design is inspired by typical Ettore Bugatti straight 8-spoke wheels of the 1924 Type 35, with a knock-off styled hub and an outer ring with screws. That outer ring was stylized to long holes – a metaphor for Hermès leather stitching. That styling was challenging to realize. Structural lateral stiffness, sufficient cooling air circulation up to 407 km/h, and even the positioning of the valve had to be tackled and track tested at Ehra-Lessien. Visually not a large wheel due to the outer ring, it still offers a very unique and truly Bugatti-esque look. Other exterior specialties include a lower reaching front face in trim color, and a bolder horseshoe grill frame with ‘H’ themed mesh. Even the mesh had to be track tested to assure that the stylized pattern offers approved airflow to the coolers and turbo chargers.
The cockpit features a different steering wheel, door panels and center console details. The steering wheel is based on the original 16.4 wheel, with the front face subtly shaved off, to create a visually bolder look. Buttons on the center console are changed from the streamlined original look to match the overall long hole theme (which included crash safety research). The inside door handles are removed in favor for a stylish flush panel feature, which required alterations to the door frame structure. The inside handles resemble classic Hermès leader handles – a perfect balance between delicate fashion approach and mechanical requirements for the pull forces on the car door. Finally, almost the entire cockpit is covered in two-toned bull calfskin, and a luggage set is tailored to the front trunk, hand-crafted at the Hermès ateliers.
The Veyron Fbg par Hermès is the only Bugatti project Simon worked on that can be seen on the road. All of his concept work remains within the company.
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