My Car Quest

May 27, 2024

Automotive Marketing: Bugatti’s Forgotten Prototype and The Case for Bringing it Back

by Wallace Wyss –

At a recent unveiling of a Bugatti special edition at the Quail, of yet another two seater mid-engined car, I saw the crowd was ten deep but I wonder if Bugatti has saturated the market of mega million dollar hypercars.

In other words have they sold as many as they can sell on that style of car at the very top?

Methinks, if I were their marketing consultant, that I would recommend that it is about time to capitalize off their reputation for high quality, highly developed cars and make a sedan. Yes, a four door with four or five seats. One that could be sold in numbers topping four digits per year.

What would it look like? Well, fact is, they have already paid for several designs. I think they have the perfect right to go back and put any of these into production. I am not sure if they could get a Porsche front engine platform but they might have an existing platform to put it on from VW who after all own Bugatti. And if they use a production platform they could have it out by 2022.

Bugatti 16C Galibier

The key thing is to have a Bugatti exclusive engine but it need not be 16 cylinders. Twelve would do just fine and even eight if it had some interesting turbocharging. I looked at their past prototypes and focused in on the 16C Galibier, a four door sedan planned for a front-mounted, 8.0 L twin-supercharged W16 engine delivering power via permanent all-wheel drive. At first they threw out a figure of 1,000 hp, then mentioned a scaled-back 800 hp which utilizes only two turbochargers.

Bugatti 16C Galibier


OK I get it, the 16C Galibier name is a reference to a mountain pass, in this case France’s Col du Galibier. The “16C” refers to the engine’s 16 cylinders. But it’s too hard to pronounce. I’d try to find something on the Riviera (damn Bentley for taking the name Azure and now not using it!)

Ironically a production version was expected to be named the Royale, after the over-the-top prewar car originally built to sell to royalty only.

Bugatti was expected to produce 3000 units ten times the volume of the Veyron. It was also expected to retail at a million pounds or $1.4 million USD at the time.

But if they do revive it, I wouldn’t price it in the million dollar class, maybe within a dollar or two of the most expensive Mercedes, Rolls and Bentleys. And allow paint schemes to be custom-ordered as well has provide matching luggage.

Bugatti 16C Galibier

I considered recommending the 1999 Bugatti EB 183/ Chiron by Ital Design but after I saw the Galibier I threw out that recommendation. The EB183/Chrion had only a hint of the Galibier’s grandeur.

Bugatti 16C Galibier

The 2009 Bugatti Galibier 16C was a proper sedan with a proper inset grille with a chrome surround and mesh. I don’t know how the polished chrome body would go over but that could be just one variation. That car had one of the best modern day/retro-style dashes I have ever seen looking in some ways prewar but still with some modern instrumentation. The bonnet opened like an old Rolls Royce Silver Cloud but don’t know how that would come across today.

Bugatti 16C Galibier

It’s decision time over in Molsheim. I think the latest mid-engined one is superfluous, not filling a niche that still exists, just like the original prewar Royale did. The top of the top, so to speak but a car you could drive, say, out to the Hamptons or down the Boulevard de la Croisette, in Cannes.

Are they listening over there in Bugatti land?

Bugatti 16C Galibier

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss, who started out his career in advertising on automotive accounts as a copywriter, has been a consultant to several automakers.




Bugatti Signature

Automotive Marketing: Bugatti’s Forgotten Prototype and The Case for Bringing it Back
Article Name
Automotive Marketing: Bugatti’s Forgotten Prototype and The Case for Bringing it Back
Our writer provides unsolicited advice to Bugatti.


  1. imwithstoopid says

    Yep, I believe that you’re on the mark. As it is, except reduce the exhaust to 4 pipes. Don’t care for wagon wheels either, something full covered for a more elegant look and feel.

Speak Your Mind