With seemingly every motor show now hosting another 2,000hp EV, Ferrari launching a series production 1,000hp hypercar and run-of-the-mill supercars requiring 700hp to even be considered as such, the impact of the Bugatti Veyron back in 2005 could easily be forgotten. After all, what's 1,000hp in 2019? The Holy Trinity was yonks ago, a McLaren 720S already feels like it has 800hp and Dodge will even sell you a 1,000hp crate engine.
But 15 years ago, one thousand horsepower really was a huge deal. And while we're getting a little bit blase about numbers nowadays, it still is a huge deal. Because the Veyron's success, and incredible technical achievement, was in making 1,000hp accessible and usable for your average billionaire. For years before it we'd seen 1,000hp claimed for various RB26- and 2JZ-engined tuner specials, but this really was something new: a luxurious, sumptuous, cosseting super-GT sports car creation, one to whisk the world's richest to wherever they might want to go, that was also capable of 250mph.
Remember the jokes before the Veyron was launched? Its gestation period was fraught with problems, as Bugatti tried desperately with its first car since the EB110 to keep that mammoth 8.0-litre engine cool and get 1,000hp to the road reliably and effectively. But with the might of VW behind them, the Molsheim team did it: the Veyron was no harder to drive than a Bentley Continental GT, yet faster than anything else on the planet. Even today, there's not much that's quicker and, it might well be argued, precious few sports cars that are more lavishly appointed.
Some will say it's bland and emotionless against the hypercar pin ups that preceded it, and the Veyron's quad-turbo V16 certainly doesn't have the charm of a V12. Regardless, the big Bug marks a significant milestone in the story of fast cars; there was a time before they had 1,000hp and 250mph capability, then the post-Veyron world, where it became the yardstick against which all others are judged.
This particular Veyron, as the astute of you will have noticed, is a Grand Sport, the Veyron roadster that followed soon after the coupe. Named after the Type 40 and 43 racers - the first to be termed 'Grand Sport' by the Bugatti family - the Grand Sport was mechanically identical to the 16.4, and was even capable of the same incredible top speed.
The original cars were later superseded by the 1,200hp Super Sport and Grand Sport Vitesse models, and regular production versions like this White with Beluga Black leather Veyron were outdone in the publicity stakes by innumerable 'special' editions. With everything from a 'Black Bess to the 'Dubai Motor Show 2011' special editions, Bugatti certainly wasn't shy in grafting on a new name. To a limited run car. Who knows, this 'regular' Grand Sport might be quite rare in just having a normal spec...
It's certainly notable for having been used: this 2009 car has covered more than 1,000 miles a year in the past decade, which is quite something when you consider its price tag and the cost of ownership. A Bugatti Certified vehicle, it was first registered at Bugatti London and always maintained through that dealer - with regular visits to Molsheim for servicing, too. Given an annual service is said to cost around £15k, a set of wheels £50,000 and tyres £6,000 a corner, it would be fair to assume a lot has been spent on this car's upkeep.
What a way to spend it, though. New benchmarks, for all that's claimed, don't come along all that often. What the Veyron did for hypercars the Grand Sport did for their convertible counterparts, and its impact - for ICE-engined exotica, at least - hasn't been matched. How often have you heard of the Chiron being called the Veyron's replacement, or Bugatti's second record breaker? The Veyron established the precedent of being the ultimate, a precedent that the Chiron had to uphold. For bringing quad-turbo Bugatti madness back to the world after a decade away, and proving that something really could go faster than the McLaren F1, the Veyron's place in history is assured. The only issue now is deciding whether your £1.7m goes on a coupe or a convertible...