The Bugatti Veyron. Arguably the most captivating car of the last twenty years. With its million dollar price tag, 1000HP, and limited production volume, the highly coveted car was opulence on wheels. Few other items at that time signified wealth and success like the Veyron did. And to think, it started life as a sketch on the back of an envelope.

Used by most people to scribble down phone numbers or grocery lists, envelopes are usually promptly discarded. In 1997 while on a train ride, Volkswagen Group CEO Ferdinand Piëch had an idea. He began to sketch an engine. A very, very, large engine on a blank envelope he found in his briefcase. It was a naturally aspirated, composed of three Volkswagen VR6 blocks strung together. The 18 cylinder car would be the VW groups take on the future of the legendary Bugatti Brand. That sketch would turn into a concept car called the EB 118. A rounded four door sedan that had an accompanying coupe, the EB 218.

Next came the EB 18/4 Veyron in 1999. The concept was mid-engine and would go one to be the styling used for the production car. The next year the W-16 engine was featured in the EB 16/4 and that would be the powertrain used for the future icon. It wasn’t until 2005 that the Veyron would go into production with 987HP and a top speed of 253MPH. That car would go on to spawn more powerful variations like the Vitesse and Super Sport and ultimately its successor, the Chiron. To think, the legacy of one of the worlds most exclusive car brands was solidified on the back of an envelope.