Sam Nazarian's road show

We seem to be in the goofy zone this afternoon, so here's one more: nightclub owner, film producer and man about town Sam Nazarian showing off his $1.4 million Bugatti Veyron to Fortune's Sue Zesiger Callaway. In case you're wondering, this is a car, described as unlike any other car on the planet, which it had better be if you're shelling out enough money to buy a nice house (even in L.A.). It's also a car made by VW, which seems strange until you find out that there are 135 orders (never underestimate how dumb rich people can be). Now here's the deal with speed: a Bugatti can normally go 233 mph, but if you use a second key to turn over a second ignition you can go up to 253. There's a silly video accompanying the Fortune piece that has Nazarian talking about how the valets at his nightclub know to keep an eye on his prized possession, and Callaway frittering on about how Angelenos only care about cars (oy). "If you don't spend time on the Left Coast, you may not have heard of Nazarian - yet," Callaway writes - perhaps forgetting that the New Yorker profiled him more than a year ago (or was it two?). Finally, it was her turn to drive the thing:

As I opened the door, I looked longingly at the second ignition tucked alongside the seat track. It is with a second key engaged that the Veyron can achieve its 253-mph top speed (without it, speed is "limited" to 233 mph). The crowd swooned as I launched us into the night, all 16 cylinders lighting up behind us in a whoosh of jetlike power. Finally, with a clear block in front of me, I laid the pedal down - and slapped my head into the seat back as we bulleted forward. It felt eternal, that G-force-drenched speed blur, but after about three seconds I let up and checked the speedo: 73 mph. Horsepower used: 449 (so said the very trick horsepower gauge) - only half her potential.


Is that exhilaration worth $1.4 million? For most people, probably not. But I can tell you, having driven just about everything, I cannot imagine finding such a sensation anywhere else. And so it was with more than a bit of wistfulness that I walked away from the Veyron at the end of the evening. And in a wonderfully Freudian move, I forgot to return the second key. When Nazarian politely asked me later how he might get it back, I came up with the perfect solution: Rent a track. Then I'll have to be there to witness all 1,001 horses at full gallop.

More by Mark Lacter:
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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
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