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Luxury car maker returns to the water

Published on January 19, 2016 by   ·   No Comments

6_1Iconic supercar maker, Bugatti, is partnering with the USA’s Palmer Johnson Yachts to create a series of sport yachts with classic Bugatti flair.

Based on the Palmer Johnson SuperSport hull shape, the new Niniette range will be built of blue morta oak (aka bog wood, but that doesn’t sound very Bugatti) on the topside with a carbon fibre hull.

The curves and two tone are a nod to the styling of the Bugatti classics from the 30s – in fact the Bugatti designers name check two of the most iconic Bugatti cars: the Type 57C Atalante and the Type 41 Royale.

This isn’t the first time that Bugatti has built a boat, but it’s been a while.

The first Niniette range of racing boats was built between 1931 and 1938. They were powered by Bugatti cars’ eight cylinder engines and were incredibly fast. In 1931 a Bugatti Niniette broke the speed record reaching a cheek wobbling 102 km/hr.

The modern day Niniette will be available in three models ranging in length from 42 to 88 feet.

The mid-sized model, the PJ63, is 63 feet long and contains two saloons, accommodation for four guests and a crew cabin.

“Niniette” is the nickname company founder Ettore Bugatti had for his daughter, Lidia Bugatti.


The first car name checked by the latest Niniette designers, the Type 41 Royale, was Ettore Bugatti’s most luxurious and extreme car.

The Type 41 Royale was designed for heads of state and its eight cylinder 12.7-litre engine is still the largest engine ever to be used in a production car.

Only six were ever produced with Forbes magazine calling the model “a triumph of hubris over reason”.

The second car that the Niniette’s designers nod to is the Type 57C Atalante. Bugatti built about 40 Atalantes, which were capable of reaching speeds of more than 120 miles per hour at a time when the average car couldn’t do more than 50 miles per hour.

It was a Type 57C that won Le Mans in 1939. Ettore’s son and heir, Jean Bugatti, took the car out for a celebratory post-race spin, but Jean crashed the car swerving to avoid a cyclist that had got onto the track, and tragically died at age 30.


The death of Jean meant that when founder Ettore Bugatti died in 1947 there was no successor to lead the factory and the original incarnation of Bugatti finally ceased operations in 1952 having only produced 8,000 cars.

In 1998 Volkswagen acquired the Bugatti brand. In 2004, the Company began production of the Bugatti Veyron, a super sports car that carried a price tag of over a million USD and was capable of reaching speeds of around 250 miles per hour, making it one of the world’s fastest production cars.

What’s in a name? You may think that a VW with a Bugatti badge is still a VW but you’d be wrong. The Veyron was named Car of the Decade by BBC Top Gear and the second-hand value of these cars is somewhere around the million euro mark, slightly pricier than a Beetle.


The new Niniettes will set you back a cool 2 million euros for the 42 footer and 3.5 million for the 88. That might sound like a lot, but it’s cheaper than the cars they are styled on. A 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante Coupe that was found in the garage of a British doctor sold at a Paris auction in 2009 for a staggering 4.4 million USD.

Next year will be a busy year for Bugatti. As well as the Niniette range of yachts, 2016 will also see the launch of the Veyron’s successor, the Bugatti Chiron, which will have its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show.

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