When I ask people what’s the point of a Bugatti Chiron, the $3 million engineering marvel with capabilities virtually nobody who buys one will ever remotely tap, I’m usually told the point is “bragging rights,” like that’s not an idiotic thing. The Chiron, though, fails at the most coveted bragging right, so what’s the point? If bragging rights are so important, I have a much better idea for a hypercar.
The holy grail of bragging rights, currently, seems to be having a car that can hit 300 mph. Of course, this is a singularly idiotic thing to brag about, because even if you had a car capable of 300 mph, there’s almost nowhere outside of the Bonneville Salt Flats that you could even attempt it, assuming that you had the skill to handle a car going 300 mph, which, let’s face it, most of us don’t. At all.
Some rich jackass (who’s not, say, a professional racing driver) who buys a car capable of that sort of incredible performance and somehow deludes themselves into thinking that they could actually drive the car at that level is no different than someone who buys the same kind of paintbrushes that Andrew Wyeth used and thinks they can just crank out another Christina’s World. That’s not how it works.
Plus, it was just shown that due primarily to tire issues, the Bugatti Chiron will likely never be able to hit 300 mph, anyway. So, this amazing, three-million dollar automotive triumph that’s useless except for bragging about what it could hypothetically do if everything was ideal can’t even do the biggest thing to brag about: hitting 300 mph. So what’s the point?
If we accept that having a car that can hit 300 mph is the ultimate bragging right that rich, insecure people will be willing to pay a lot of money for, then I have a much better idea for a hypercar. It’s one of the few types of cars that has been proven to go over 300 mph on a regular basis. It’s not some hypothetical, computer-modeled bullshit; it’s an honest, timed 300+ mph speed.
The car is a top-fuel dragster.
Look, if this is all about bragging rights and big numbers and raw power, why is anybody even fucking around with some anemic 1500 horsepower Chiron that can only go 261 mph? Your average top-fuel dragster has an eight-liter V8 that makes between 8,000 and 10,000 hp. Speeds of over 300 mph are fairly routine. That’s something to brag about.
So, here’s what we need for a perfect Chiron-killer: it’s built on a top-fuel dragster, but with the spartan driver’s cockpit replaced with a luxurious, leather-slathered two-person passenger pod. Fill that thing full of all the modern electronics and climate-control goodies you think the rich dorks who buy these kinds of cars will want.
Stick headlights, taillights, turn indicators, the all-important side marker lights, and whatever else is needed to get it basically street-legal. Then, to avoid all the ways it won’t be actually street legal, replace the front axle and its tiny pizza-cutter wheels with a one-wheel front axle/steering solution, so the car, as a three wheeler, is exempt from most of the rules that those plebeians in their four-wheelers have to worry about.
Remember, Elio’s done all the legwork to make three-wheelers legal and drivable, sans-helmet, in almost every state.
Here’s a quick sketch of what I’m thinking:
If you want to make an impression and be able to back up your bragging rights with proof, the Top-Fuel Hypercar blows the Chiron out of the water. Or, road, I guess. Out of the road-water.
Even the fact that it requires $30/gallon nitromethane fuel is a bragging right plus here. You have a Chiron that uses normal pump gasoline? The same stuff that people put into their Kias? No thanks, I’ll stick to my $30-a-gallon superfuel. If you can’t afford $30 fuel, why are you even trying to hypercar?
Will it handle well? No. Hell no. But who cares? Is anyone going to autocross a Chiron? Rally one? Not anytime soon.
And, the best part is, something like this would be even cheaper than a Chiron! A top-fuel dragster, ready to go, costs about $500,000. Let’s say we then add an extra $250,000 or so for the fancy cockpit and other modifications. That’s still way less than half the cost of a Chiron! This thing is a steal.
Sure, if you drive a top-fuel dragster flat-out in a race context, it’ll cost a staggering $1000/second, because you’ll have to overhaul the engine afterwards, but most of the time owners of these Top-Fuel Hypercars will be loping around at maybe 1 percent of the potential of the engine. Even at idle, though, this thing will sound like Satan’s own near-death flatulence experience.
If they ever did decide to take it to the track and prove that 300 mph claim, they could, but they’d probably have to yank some stuff from that bigger cockpit and be prepared to spend some money afterwards. But hey, it’s 300 mph that a Chiron can’t do.
So, if what everyone says is true, and Chirons are sold for the bragging rights, then this should be the death knell of the Chiron. Anyone who was considering a Chiron purchase should immediately have their majordomos start calling top-fuel dragster builders and the coachbuilders of their choice to begin putting together their own Top-Fuel Hypercars.
Even better, Top-Fuel Dragster builders need to start offering these street-going dragsters as an option, and put these in production, pricing them at, say, around $2.5 million. Then they can undercut the Chiron price for the savvy hypercar-shopper.
Or, if bragging rights mean that more of everything is better, fuck it, charge $4 million for one, then.
It really doesn’t matter. Hypercars are overdone and ridiculous as it is, so why hold back? Street-modified ultra-luxury dragsters are the only logical evolution of this segment, and I welcome their inevitable arrival.
Dragster makers, you can contact me here for licensing arrangements.