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Briefly >> Hot Wheels

Bugatti Veyron test drive photo
Folks on Ocean Drive gape as Miami Herald staff writer Nick Spangler cruises by
in a pricey Bugatti Veyron.
Photo by DAVID ADAME/For The Miami Herald

It takes quite a bit to score stares from the jaded habitués of South Beach’s Ocean Drive, but cruising by in the world’s most expensive car – a $1.4 million Bugatti – does it every time.

Miami Herald writer Nick Spangler found that out when he got behind the wheel of the one and only Bugatti Veyron for sale in North America. Fresh from the Los Angeles car show, the vehicle and its pilote official, Pierre-Henri Raphanel, were visiting South Florida during the annual Miami International Boat Show. Yacht buyers, it seems, often have a little cash left over to spend on ground transportation.

Before letting Spangler behind the wheel, Raphanel put the Veyron through its paces near the Miami Children’s Museum. “Not many children were around, so it was a good place to do what Pierre did next, which was accelerate to 100 mph in around three seconds, take his hands off the wheel and come to a complete stop in another three seconds,” wrote Spangler. “[I] smiled and said a very, very bad word that would have shocked the children at the museum. Some young men who had seen the performance approached and joyfully unleashed almost two minutes of almost-as-bad words. A sort of motif was developing: All afternoon, young men walked up to the Veyron and swore.”

Eventually, Raphanel let Spangler drive – “without even checking to see if I had a driver license,” he said.
On Ocean Drive, Spangler wrote, “Pedestrians stopped walking. They gasped. They took photos. Everybody smiled. At the cafes, they got up from their chairs and watched. ‘Is that somebody famous?’ asked a woman in very tight white pants.”

Hot sports cars are chick magnets, but, Spangler said, “I didn’t actually get any phone numbers. They looked at the car more than me.”

At the end of the day, the Bugatti was returned to the showroom, where it “made the $340,000 Rolls-Royce Phantoms around it look like fat cows.” Spangler drove off in his Honda Accord.

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