A bigger, faster … VW?
By Jamie BateBut for a name, the new Bugatti Veyron is a Volkswagen – albeit a very expensive and fast, very fast – VW. Yep, the Veyron will put you back, oh, more than $1 million, come with about 1,000 horses and top out at about 250 mph. Needless to say, you won’t be seeing me going from 0-to-60 in 2.1 seconds around town any time soon.I have, however, logged my fair share of time in a variety of V-dubs. After experiencing the canary yellow beetle convertible my parents stuffed my two brothers, me and a large basset hound into way back in the ’70s to my dad’s, grandmother’s, brothers’ and my own array of bugs, buses, squarebacks and ghias, I just have a hard time accepting any VW that doesn’t have the engine in the rear cooled by clean, crisp air.At least the Volkswag…., um, Bugatti Veyron has a rear-mounted engine. Not even the new VW “beetle” can make that claim.At some point the brains at Volkswagen went and bought the Bugatti name. Then they decided to engineer the biggest, fastest car for the very few people who can afford it.That’s obviously a few steps removed from the original intent of Volkswagen – the “people’s car.”But hey, times have changed. Bigger – Hummer; faster – our little Veyron; louder -Harleys, expensiver (I know, I know) – all the above, are the rage these days.Homes have even gotten bigger and more expensive. According to the Washington Post, in the last 30-plus years, the size of the average home has increased 55 percent (to 2,330 square feet), while the size of the average family has decreased 13 percent. And among the folks who can afford a Veyron, homes have even more space and fewer people. Take, for example, a beauty being built over in Incline Village. It will have a mere 10,000 square feet of living space and a six-car garage. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of those six spaces houses a Veyron.At least I have the satisfaction of knowing that the guy with way too much money who stalls his shiny new VW Veyron in the McDonald’s drive-thru (after driving there fast – very fast) because his clutch went out or the starter fried, wouldn’t be able to make it home like I did in my trusty ’68 bug. I started that old car for months by making sure I parked on a slight incline. And if there wasn’t a hill around, well, Fred Flintstone didn’t have anything on me.And I’m sure that guy with way too much money won’t be able to drop the engine in the VW Veyron with a floor jack and a 17 mm socket wrench in any of his six garage stalls.But 16 cylinders gives a driver a whole lot of redundancy. Heck, I bet you could burn through at least 12 of those suckers and still get home in a car that costs $1 million, right? I doubt it, but it sure would be fun trying. Jamie Bate is the editor of the Sierra Sun. Reach him at email@example.com.
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