Fact Check: Cristiano Ronaldo Didn’t Actually Buy This One-Off Bugatti, but the Real Story Is Heartwarming
In 2019, Bugatti unveiled a stunning one-off supercar: La Voiture Noire. For some reason, TMZ reported that it had been commissioned by Portuguese soccer superstar Christian Ronaldo. The awkward truth is that the rumor was…just not true. But the real story has a very happy ending.
First off, La Voiture Noire is a Chiron chassis wrapped in a very unique body. Any French speakers reading this know that La Voiture Noire translates to “The Black Car.” That may be a letdown until you learn the nickname is borrowed from Jean Bugatti’s personal 1936 Type 57SC Atlantic.
The company’s founder was an artist and engineer named Ettore Bugatti. His son Jean would in turn pen some of the most beautiful bodies of the art deco era. His opus was the Atlantic, only four of which were built. After Jean’s untimely death testing a race car, his personal Atlantic disappeared.
The 2019 Bugatti La Voiture Noire brings some of Jean’s original design motifs into the modern era with a car-length dorsal fin and experimental carbon fiber coating engineered to reflect as little light as possible. But no, it wasn’t commissioned by Cristiano Ronaldo.
All Bugatti originally said was that the car was commissioned and purchased (to the tune of 16.7 million Euros), but didn’t reveal the new owner’s identity. The rumor that it was Ronaldo’s new whip was so popular that his spokespeople actually contacted TMZ:
“The story isn’t true. He hasn’t bought it.”
Why was it so believable? Because Ronaldo is a huge sports car fan. He has a collectors’-edition Ferraris, Lamborghinis, a McLaren Senna, multiple AMG Mercedes’ and multiple Rolls-Royces. His girlfriend actually gifted him Rolls-Royce number three for his 37th birthday.
All the internet rumors may have given him a bad case of Bugatti fever. In spring 2023, Ronaldo was spotted in Madrid driving a Bugatti Centodieci. And this car has a remarkably similar story to the La Voiture Noire.
Bugatti built the Centodieci as an homage to another historical car: See, after Jean’s death Ettore lost his passion for the car company. He closed the doors for good shortly after WWII. But in the 1990s, some investors bought the name and built the Bugatti EB 110 Super Sport from 1991-1995. The supercar even returned to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but it never sold well enough to keep the company afloat. And Bugatti closed its doors again.
Fast forward to 2022, and the current Bugatti company had just completed the La Voiture Noire one-off. It decided to honor another past car: the 110. So it built a more 1990s-inspired body for the Chiron: the Centodieci. (Centodieci means 110 in Italian). It only built 10, and Ronaldo’s was worth upwards of $10 million.
So who actually bought the La Voiture Noire one-off?
Even after Bugatti’s 1995 bankruptcy, one man never gave up on the marque. Ferdinand Piëch was a Volkswagen executive and die-hard Bugatti fan. He championed resurrecting the company once more, and in 2005 Bugatti began anew. This time, its launched the Veyron and then the Chiron. Without Piëch, there might be no present-day Bugatti.
When he finally retired he bought a pair of Veyrons for he and his wife to drive together. But he dreamed of resurrecting not just the company, but the Type 57 Atlantic. It was Piëch who commissioned the La Voiture Noire and worked with Bugatti to design it. But sadly he died before it was completed.
Some of the rumors may have been due to confusion about what would happen to the project after Piëch died. But his family decided the car would be the perfect way to honor him and bought it anyway.
Next, learn about the Bugatti so rare even Jay Leno can’t buy one, or learn more about Ronaldo’s car collection in the video below: