“I don’t design clothes, I design dreams.”
Ralph Lauren is as famous for his work as a fashion designer as he is for his love of rare cars. Ranked by Forbes as the 102nd richest person in the United States with a wealth estimated to be in the area of six billion, he certainly has the money to fill out his personal auto hangar. If we wanted to list every car he owns, we’d be here all day, but it may be the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport that most suits the fashion designer. As sleek and stylish as an authentic Ralph Lauren piece, it’s the perfect auto for the fashion icon.
A One-Man Empire
Born in the Bronx on October 14, 1939 to house painter Frank Lifshitz and mother Frieda, Ralph Lauren’s early career began with a couple years in the US Army before finding his way to the clothing industry as a tie salesman for Brooks Brothers. At twenty eight years old, Lauren was working for Beau Brummell where he was able to talk the president into letting him launch his own line of neckties. Right away, Ralph had a knack for design and, with his experience in sales, he was ready to strike out on his own.
In 1968, Lauren launched Polo. Named for the sport of the same name, inspired by Ralph Lauren’s passion for athletics, Polo was a one-man operation. Lauren had a single drawer in an Empire State Building showroom, and whenever an order came in, he would hand-deliver the items directly to the store by himself. Within a year, Bloomingdale’s signed an exclusive deal with Ralph Lauren to give him his own boutique in the store, the first time the clothing store had done this.
Men’s fashion will only carry you so far, of course, and in 1971 it was time to expand to women’s clothing. The Ralph Lauren Corporation began with tailored women’s shirts, the first Lauren designs to feature the famous Polo player logo on the cuff. That same year, Polo had become successful enough for Ralph Lauren to open his Rodeo Drive location in Beverly Hills. This was the first time an American designer had ever launched a store just to sell their own brand.
The next year Lauren expanded the women’s line to create whole ensembles, and introduced the classic Polo shirt with which we now associate the brand. The Polo player had been moved from the cuff to the chest, and the shirt was offered in seventeen colors. The shirt has since become iconic, as much a staple of the “preppy” look as the leather jacket and cuffed jeans are for gearheads and greasers, bell-bottoms for hippies, and polyester for the disco kids. To this day the Polo shirt remains the number-one item a costume designer will seek out to establish a character as a hip, fashionable teen from a well-to-do family.
In 2018, Ralph Lauren held a 50th Anniversary celebration for the company with everyone from Robert DeNiro to Hillary Clinton in attendance. Today the company’s name can be found on several stores and boutiques across the country and a line of fragrances, and Ralph has featured on the cover of every magazine from Time to Vogue to Forbes and GQ.
Many people who reach Ralph Lauren’s level of success start to buy up fashionable clothes by designers like, well, like Ralph Lauren. So what do you spend your money on when you are Ralph Lauren? What else? Expensive cars like the Bugatti Veyron.
A Fashionable Car For A Fashion Icon
Debate continues as to whether or not Ralph Lauren’s Bugatti Veyron Super Sport is one of the “World Record Edition” models. The World Record Edition was a 30-unit-run of Super Sports with a 267.856 mph top speed, setting the world record for fastest production car in 2010. The car is so fast that it has to have its speed electronically capped at 258 mph, because the tires will simply disintegrate if they spin any faster than that.
At first glance, Ralph’s Veyron looks the part, and he could certainly afford it, but… some of the colors are a bit off. The World Record Edition features an orange-and-black color scheme, while Ralph’s is all-black. However, we do know that Ralph’s Veyron was custom-ordered, so it’s not unreasonable to think that Lauren, a fashion designer, loved everything about the car except the orange. Or, given his love of rare cars, he simply wanted a car that was completely one-of-a-kind, and liked the idea of an all-black look to set his own Super Sport apart from the other twenty-nine.
Whatever model of Super Sport it is that Lauren’s driving, this is still one of the world’s coolest and most stylish cars. A two-door coupe with seven-speed direct shift automatic transmission on an 8.0 liter quad-turbocharged W16 engine, the Super Sport roars like a lion when you hit the street. The car is loaded with cool features like “Top Speed Mode.” You activate this mode by toggling a key which retracts the rear spoiler, shuts the front air diffusers, and drops the car to a two and a half inch ground clearance. This thing takes off like a jet, and you don’t want to do that by accident. If ever there was a car to match Ralph Lauren, this is it.
“A lot of hard work is hidden behind nice things.”