What's the difference between a serious car collector and a stupid billionaire?
Apparently, it's outrageous speed.
According to GM product guru Bob Lutz, stupid billionaires are a shrinking demographic.
Three weeks ago, Lutz told the Detroit Free Press the world is running out of stupid billionaires. That's why Maybach sales are so soft, he said. Lutz figures that there just aren't enough unintelligent billionaires willing to pay more than $300,000 for an ultraluxury sedan.
But he failed to mention low-volume, high-performance sports cars, didn't he?
That means all of the serious car collectors can take heart. There's good news: After six years of planning, the Bugatti Veyron is finally in production.
The Veyron concept debuted at the Tokyo auto show in 1999, a year after the Volkswagen group bought the storied Bugatti brand.
According to Bugatti, the two-seat production model has a 16-cylinder engine that makes 1,001 hp. The price in the United States is expected to be a cool $1.25 million.
That would make target buyers either royalty from countries with an endless supply of some much-demanded natural resource or a dictator with the ability to tax his citizenry at will.
But even consumers who hit the lotto and decide they need a Veyron shouldn't expect to run down to the corner Bugatti dealership and buy one. Sales will be direct from the factory in eastern France, according to Automotive News Europe, a sister publication of Automotive News.
Bugatti says it already has 30 firm orders, with hefty deposits.
VW plans to build 300 Bugatti Veyrons over five years and admits it might later build a four-seat model to amortize the cost of the powertrain.
That must be a new demographic.
You may e-mail Edward Lapham at