Walter de Silva is a powerhouse of modern automotive design. With cars like the Audi R8, TT and A5 among the many to his credit, his exteriors have a way of capturing the mind as well as the eye. But it wasn't always thus.

In 1999, when Volkswagen was just beginning the revival of Bugatti, then-head of Volkswagen Design, Hartmut Warkuss, asked de Silva, then at Seat, to pen a preview of a Bugatti hypercar. De Silva delivered what you see here.

While it does bear some resemblance to the final Veyron, there's enough different to mark it out as its own entity. The aggressive wrap-around side scoops/roof layout and low, pointed roof brow put an odd hairline on an odd-faced vehicle.  Fortunately for enthusiasts and aesthetes everywhere, the design made it no farther than the full-scale mockup stage. It was Warkuss' design that was eventually picked to become the Veyron.

His failure to win the Bugatti design challenge doesn't seem to have hurt his career, however, as he's now in the position that Warkuss held ten years ago: head of VW Group design.

For more on the real Bugatti Veyron, check out our review of the Grand Sport, or for a look at what might be the next thing out of Bugatti, take a look at the Galibier 16C.