Porcelain roadster? Yep, another not-car

Thank you, Bugatti. I have a new one-liner for my personal collection of "It ain't a car, if … ."

A few decades back, I started making a distinction between cars and not-cars. To me, a car is a real world object. A car is something you drive. A car carries you and often one or more other people to somewhere else and back. A car holds stuff. A car can be used daily, for years.

By contrast, a not-car doesn't do these things. Or at least, you wouldn't dare. It's too good to use. It's too expensive to fix. Or replace. What if you spilled something on it? Therefore, it's not a car, I decided. It's investment-grade, self-propelled sculpture.

I added new lines over the years.

It's not a car, if …

  • You can't park it on the street without posting a guard.
  • You hire full-time staff to tend to it.
  • Your insurance policy won't allow you to drive it on public roads.
  • The only time it leaves the garage is on a trailer.
  • You won't let anyone with a belt buckle near it.

Now I have always included Bugattis among my not-cars. But mere 1,000-hp, million-euro roadsters already neatly qualified within my existing rules.

But this is the one-of-a-kind Bugatti L'Or Blanc, the expensive way to spell white gold, which the revived brand proudly reckons is the first motor vehicle equipped with porcelain (perhaps Bugatti has decided that those bud vases popular in upscale 1920s U.S. sedans were made of not-porcelain). In any case, the eight distinct pieces of porcelain in L'Or Blanc are not just from any ole porcelain maker, but a 248-year-old German firm that once sold stuff to the king of Prussia. An unidentified UAE collector paid $3.1 million for it.

And all so I can add a new line:

It ain't a car … if its caviar tray was crafted by the Porcelain Purveyor to Frederick the Great.

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