My Encounter with Ralph Lauren and his Bugatti Veyron - July 16, 2007

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1X83Z

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This week, my girlfriend, who lives in Atlanta, Georgia, came to Colorado to visit. I wanted to show her the most beautiful parts of my state so in order to do that I took her to, among other places, the small town of Ouray, a beautiful southwestern Colorado town that refers to itself as the "Switzerland of America." We stayed there for two nights, and during the second day there, we decided to take a day trip to Telluride, about an hour away. In order to get to Telluride from Ouray, you have to take US Highway 550 to Ridgway, Colorado, and then from there, Colorado State Highway 62 to Placerville, Colorado, and finally Colorado State Highway 145 into Telluride. It is common knowledge in the area that fashion designer Ralph Lauren owns most of the land between Ridgway and Placerville along CO-62.

On the drive to Telluride from Ouray I told my girlfriend jokingly, 'be on the lookout for Veyrons and McLaren F1s - Ralph has them all registered here!' Common knowledge of the area also dictates that Lauren registered each of his supercars at his Colorado ranch in order to get car dealer status, meaning he didn't have to pay taxes on each of his cars. However, it's well-known that he doesn't keep the cars here.

With that said, as we drove by the ranch on the way to Telluride, we could clearly see at least fifteen or twenty garage spaces next to the main buildings. I told her it was 'scary' to think what he might have in there - considering his collection spends most of its time on tour in museums. Granted the spots could be empty, but who knows. We drove by the rest of his beautiful property and into Telluride, and, to some degree, forgot about Ralph.

On the way back, she had evidently forgotten my ultracar warning and promptly fell asleep as soon as we left Telluride. We started on the drive back and began going by Ralph's ranch. She was sleeping in the passenger seat and I was daydreaming, staring off at the beautiful ranch and glancing at the road every few seconds. Nearing the main buildings, it happened.

Immediately as I saw the Veyron coming toward me, I recognized it - which is odd because having never seen one before I thought I'd freeze or question my eyes or something. But I immediately recognized it and knew I had to give chase, as I've waited my entire car spotting career to see the thing - even though I never thought in a million years I would actually see the car on this stretch. I slammed on my brakes and pulled into opposing traffic and began screaming:

"KATE!!! KATE!!!" She woke up and was totally startled.
"What?! Where are we?! What's wrong?"
"I just saw a ****ing Veyron!!"

Now mind you at this point I am in opposing lanes and am coming to a stop. I made a three-point turn (on a 65mph state highway - to much honking from vehicles behind me) and put the pedal to the floor. I tagged 105mph before I caught a second glimpse of the vehicle. I made several daring two-lane passes and finally got directly behind the Veyron, which was doing the speed limit or slightly under. Realizing at any time he could floor it and be completely gone, I began snapping photos. Early ones turned out shaky because my hands were shaking from the excitement:

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But eventually I settled down and was able to snap some clearer shots:

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As you can see the Veyron's New York license plates read RLX 7, which I was mystified about, but based on the proximity to Lauren's ranch and the 'RL' in the tag - and that I knew he was from New York - it was a pretty easy jump to believe it was him. I knew I had to wait for some side shots of the car and I was ready to follow until that happened. So I followed...

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...and followed...

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...and followed...

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...until finally we came to the junction where you can choose to take CO-145 to Telluride. I presumed he would turn and head into Telluride, although my own previous jaunt into the town showed me that construction was so bad there was no way he could get the Veyron in there. I knew this might be my best chance for a side shot so I steadied the camera, and just hoped. And...

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Not bad! I was pretty pleased, but I wanted to see what would happen next. Thank god I did, because after a short drive...

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...the driver turned into a small parking lot in the town of Placerville, Colorado, whose population can't be more than 50 or 60.

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The driver then made a U-turn in the parking lot, revealing unquestionably that it was none other than Ralph Lauren piloting the vehicle.

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At this point I was beside myself with shock and anticipation, not knowing what would happen next. And in this gravel parking lot next to a small house and some roadside shops, Ralph... parked. I didn't miss the opportunity. I got out and snapped away:

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Now at this point both Ralph and his passenger, a bearded man some years younger than Ralph, had both waved to me, and naturally a small congregation formed around the car. Six or seven people came out with cameras - perhaps the entire population of the immediate vicinity of the parking lot. The passenger rolled down his window and I walked over. I later explained to my girlfriend, though she didn't understand it, that at this point I was not thinking of Ralph as a man worth nine figures or the man who made most of my clothes - I was thinking of him as a car guy and a Veyron owner. That made it easy to open with...

Me: What's it like, Ralph?
Ralph Lauren: (laughs and nods) It's incredible. I like your shirt. [I was wearing Polo.]
Me: Thanks, I like it too.
Ralph Lauren (to Kate): I like yours too. [she was wearing my Polo sweatshirt]
Kate: Thanks, it's his.
Me: How long have you had it?
Ralph Lauren: About a year now.
Me: Did you just take it out from your ranch?
Ralph Lauren: Yeah.
Me: Is it unlike anything you've ever experienced before? Is it just incredibly fast?
Ralph Lauren: Well you know, I obey all posted speed limits.
Me: I can imagine.
Ralph Lauren: What do you think of it?
Me: It's beautiful. Absolutely incredible.
Me: Sorry about all this. (referring to all the photographers taking pictures of the car from all angles)
Ralph Lauren: Don't worry about it.
Me: Thanks so much for bringing it out.
Ralph Lauren: Sure.
Me: Goodbye.
Ralph Lauren: Goodbye.

I continued to photograph as Ralph drove away, back to the ranch...

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Not only did I see a Bugatti Veyron, I spoke to the owner. Not only did I speak to the owner, but the owner was Ralph Lauren. Not only was Ralph Lauren the owner, but he complimented my shirt. As I thought about it later, I realized I could've asked a few more questions - 'How does it compare to the McLaren F1?' 'What does insurance cost?' 'Do you keep it here?' - but in my view, what was said didn't matter. I got the pictures, and I got the story. As we drove back by his ranch later, the beautiful black Veyron was sitting parked in front of one of his leagues of garages, ready to go back inside. God only knows what else was sitting in there that day.

For the record, Ralph couldn't have been nicer to me. He seemed to be showing his passenger - someone I didn't recognize - the Veyron, as if the passenger was looking to purchase one. Ralph was incredibly good to talk to me about the car and be so cool about it, considering he was simply out on a drive and really didn't need to deal with people asking about it. But I wasn't asking about his clothes, or if I could get a picture with him, or for his autograph - it was about the car, and I think he knew that. Also for the record, the Veyron doesn't really sound that incredible. Granted, Ralph never floored it, but the sound was underwhelming - a throaty growl equal to a twelve-cylinder Ferrari or Lamborghini. Nothing spectacular - nothing like you'd expect such an alien car to sound. No turbine, no 'woosh' - just a mean exhaust note with no twist or surprise. At the Ralph Lauren store in Aspen, Colorado, we discovered 'RLX,' the initials on the license plate, are Ralph Lauren's winter clothing line.

I have always purchased Ralph's clothing on the grounds that he loves cars and lives in Colorado, same as me, and that he rose from virtually nothing to become so wealthy and famous. I will continue to do so in the future. But I will never look at that little Polo logo on my shirts the same way ever again.

Hope you enjoyed the story and the photos.
 
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TheCracker

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Congrats on the Veyron and Ralph spot 👍

What did you actually think of the car now you've seen it in the the flesh? they're smaller in real life then you'd expect aren't they. Black on black is a good combo IMO.

You are lucky that your girlfriend is so understanding, my wife would instantly file for divorce if i suddenly turned and started chasing after a car - no matter what it was. Although she might be more understanding if she thought she might get to meet Ralph Lauren.
 

Muzaffar

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Wow,you must been one lucky guy.....Must have been lucky to see one on the road,and to actually meet Ralph Lauren.I'm just in awe.Nice job of taking the photo as well.Too bad i can't see the car here in Malaysia (what cars do I get to see here in Malaysia :boggled: )The thread is top notch!I'll +rep your post.Its wonderful to get to do a report like this.How did your girlfriend feel when you suddenly turn around and chase one of the most rarest cars in the world?does she even know what car it was?Well,i wish i was in your shoes,cause you will never get to have a chance of doing this again ever!(not never,less likely should be the word...)

Edit:🤬 i have to rep someone else before i get to +rep you.i'm so sorry for that....
 

ExigeEvan

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When he pulled into the car park I was expecting him to ask WTF you thought you were doing tailing him for so long.

Good spot, great experience 👍
 

Duke

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So, how are you planning to dodge the marshall when he comes to serve the restraining order?
 

CAMAROBOY69

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Now that was a great story. Thanks for sharing the pics too. 👍 I also wear Polo shirts once in a while.
I have never even seen a single picture of that car before today.
 

Touring Mars

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Wow, amazing catch. Great write up, too 👍 So you're branching out into paparazzism now?
 

GilesGuthrie

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Yes, ignoring the "driving without due care and attention" angle, a quality effort all round!
 

Pupik

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You are lucky that your girlfriend is so understanding, my wife would instantly file for divorce if i suddenly turned and started chasing after a car - no matter what it was.
Uh-huh. She'd beat me with the camera, too.

Doug, you're scary. Scary-good or scary-bad, I'm still not sure which.

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Edit: I like the Jo Mama's Moving trucks; a silly company name, a famous person (who's apparently a nice guy), and a Veyron in one photo.
 

Jordan

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Awesome, Doug, you got REALLY lucky. Most of us will be lucky to see a stationary Veyron at a distance - much less in real life, running, with its celebrity owner at the wheel! I imagine this thoroughly topped your infamous Carrera GT sighting... Were you driving your Volvo or Audi at the time?
 

Alex.

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what Carrera gt sighting was this Jordan?

great spot, and +rep
 

SRV2LOW4ME

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I have a simular story, only mine ended with a restraining order. :lol:

Seriously though, cool story, definitely a conversation starter.

You wear Polo though? Are you sure you didn't mean to type "boyfriend"?!
 

G.T

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The luck is incredible on seeing a Veyron on the public roads, let alone the driver being Ralph, AND him speaking to you two!

That's got to be one of the most impressive encounters you'll ever get. 👍
 

1X83Z

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What did you actually think of the car now you've seen it in the the flesh? they're smaller in real life then you'd expect aren't they. Black on black is a good combo IMO.

You know, I saw one before about a year and a half ago at an auto show, and having spent so much time online admiring it, it actually looked exactly as I thought it would: not wider, not lower, not smaller, which is usually what I say when I see supercars (like the Ferrari F40 I saw a couple of months ago). Really - exactly as I thought it would look. What surprised me most is that I instantly realized what it was, having never seen one on the roads before.

You are lucky that your girlfriend is so understanding, my wife would instantly file for divorce if i suddenly turned and started chasing after a car - no matter what it was. Although she might be more understanding if she thought she might get to meet Ralph Lauren.

:lol: I've been talking about the Veyron quite a bit over the last few months; she was nearly as pumped to see it as I was. She took a few pictures too and was thrilled to meet Ralph. Both of us consider him the most famous person we've ever met.

Duke
So, how are you planning to dodge the marshall when he comes to serve the restraining order?
ExigeExcel
When he pulled into the car park I was expecting him to ask WTF you thought you were doing tailing him for so long.

Actually remember, this was the only road into Telluride, and Ralph's property along with other ranches rim it, so there aren't really any turn-offs. Yeah, I followed Ralph in the Veyron, but the guy behind me followed me, and Ralph followed a Jeep Wrangler most of the way (until the Wrangler lost him - truly). It only became a bit creepy when I followed him into the parking lot, but if you drive a $1.5 million car, you have to kind of expect it. It was clear from his actions that he had experienced this kind of thing many times before, and he was so gracious and warm about it that it was clear he didn't care.

Jordan
Awesome, Doug, you got REALLY lucky. Most of us will be lucky to see a stationary Veyron at a distance - much less in real life, running, with its celebrity owner at the wheel! I imagine this thoroughly topped your infamous Carrera GT sighting... Were you driving your Volvo or Audi at the time?

Yes, this trumps the Carrera GT spot, which oddly happened two years and one day earlier. Any Veyron spot would've trumped that, but a Veyron and Ralph Lauren puts it in a whole new league. I could spot cars for the rest of my life and I would probably never get another one quite like this.

I sold the Volvo back in September; the Audi was its replacement. Chasing the Veyron I really missed that turbocharger - at this altitude (~8000ft) the A4's naturally-aspirated engine really is gasping for power. Getting to 105mph in the thing was not an easy proposition, but fortunately, Ralph 'obeys all posted speed limits.' :D

GV
what Carrera gt sighting was this Jordan?

This one back on July 15, 2005.

SRV2LOW4ME
You wear Polo though? Are you sure you didn't mean to type "boyfriend"?!

I only wear Polo, based on Ralph's ranch and his car collection. And I'm being serious - I don't buy them because I like them (though I do), I buy them because I like Ralph and his ranch and his cars.

Thanks to all who have given me rep and thanks for all the kind words - it really was spectacular! :D
 

Alex.

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I see a carrera GT outside of a house it shouldnt be parked outside. Have I missed somthing?
 

Danoff

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Nice spot M5. I remember freaking out when I saw a Veyron from the back seat of my car. If I'd been driving, though, I probably wouldn't have gone after it like you did. But you got to meet the owner and got a great story because of it so well done.

Nice shots too.
 

-Fred-

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Sorry Doug, but I don't think there's a VW out there that's worth driving 105mph+ to catch up to it... this one included.
 

JCE

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I'd +rep you M5 but the forum won't let me. MOTHER ****ING BRILLIANT! You are my hero. Whats even more awsome is it seems Mr. Lauren is actually a nice person.

I've done the same **** myself upon seeing a mega rare car.

And the all black Veyron looks sexy as ****. I want one. How much can you get for selling some duplicate bodily organs?
 

Omnis

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Ralph Lauren > Tommy Hilfiger.

Great shots, man. What camera and lens are you using again?
 

YSSMAN

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Thats simply amazing. I still have yet to see one, and I'm quite jealous. None of my friends seemed to believe the story, as it is a wild one. Funny enough, its on Digg.com as well, last I checked it had a few less than 10 Diggs so far...

One helluva story, thats for certain. I would have done much the same for a Veyron, so I have plenty of sympathy for you...
 

Philly

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Way to Go! Great sighting. I'm happy you decided to follow it. That makes it seem so much more special. You could've gone and put it in the DYSAGT thread but I'm sure we're all glad you decided to make a new thread about it. This is truely amazing. I can only dream of having a similar experience in my lifetime.👍

Oh yeah, it might just be me but seeing Ralf Lauren just doesn't seem that exciting, especially next to a Veyron. He does seem like a very nice person. Those are the kinds of people that should be driving these cars. I do think he is very wise to follow all speed limits; cops would be on his tail for going barely over the speed limit.
 
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:eek: Wow Doug. Just wow.


On another note, I now know there is more than 1 Veyron registered in NY! :D