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1934 Bugatti Type 57 news, pictures, specifications, and information

Drophead Coupe
Coachwork: James Young
Designer: Jean Bugatti
Chassis Num: 57169
Engine Num: 101
 
Sold for $726,000 at 2008 Gooding & Company.
The Type 57 was a new design for Jean Bugatti, the son of Ettore - who was the founder of the Bugatti marque. The Type 57 was produced from 1934 through 1940 with a total of 710 examples being produced. Most of the Type 57s were given coachwork by some of the greatest coachbuilders of this era. Twelve were bodied by James Young, such as this example.

This Bugatti Type 57 was sent to London in September of 934, the first year of Type 57 production. It was entrusted to coachbuilder James Young to be given a four-seat cabriolet body. The first owner of this car was V. Derrington of Britain, followed by J. Coleman. It was imported to the United States by V. F. Mashek, the car's next owner. It was later purchased by Dr. Peter and Susan Williamson in January of 1968. The car has remained in their car until coming to auction in 2008.

After many years, the car was finally treated to a concours-quality restoration and finished in two-tones of maroon with brown leather upholstery, maroon-painted wire wheels and black cloth top.

There are many interesting features to this vehicle, such as the single enclosed sidemounted spare wheel and tire, Andre Telecontrol shocks, Lucasa lighting, trafficators and Raydyot fender mirrors.

Upon completion of the restoration, the car was invited to the 2006 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. The car is one of just two examples of this James Young coachwork on the Type 57 chassis. In total, there were just 607 examples of the Type 57s produced from 1934 to 1939.

This car is powered by an eight-cylinder engine with dual overhead camshafts and fitted with a four-speed manual gearbox. There are live axles with semi-elliptical front leaf springs and reversed quarter-elliptical rear leaf springs.

In 2008, this Type 57 James Young Cabriolet was offered for sale at the Gooding & Company auction held in Pebble Beach, California and was estimated to sell for $500,000 - $700,000, and offered without reserve. As the gavel fell for the third and final time, the lot was sold for the sum of $726,000, including buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2009
Aravis Drophead Coupe
Coachwork: Paul Nee
 
This car was delivered in 1934 as a Type 57 Galbiar sedan. In 1937, the owner returned the car to the factory for 'Repairs' to save taxes. Only the frame and a few odd pieces were kept and a whole new car was created with hydr7aulic brakes, soft engine mounts, new differential and an entirely new 2-seat, disappearing top, Aravis body created by Paul Nee.

It is thought that this Belgian coach maker was chosen because Bugatti was indebted to the King of Belgium at this time.

This car is one of only fourteen 2-seat Type 57s built.
Aerolithe
Chassis Num: 57104
 
Bugatti 57104 was the fourth Type 57 chassis built by Bugatti. It is the oldest surviving Type 57 known. When this car was being restored it was decided to exactly recreate the famous aero coupe called the 'Elektron' Coupe or the Aerolithe.

The original car has been fabricated from magnesium, as is this recreation. After being shown at the Paris Auto Show in October 1935 and being driven briefly in England in 1936, the car disappeared forever. This left only a handful of photographs as proof that it had ever existed. Interestingly enough, although this design proved a commercial failure for Bugatti, it influenced many of the important European coachbuilders to create aerodynamic, art deco masterpieces for the balance of the 1930's.

The recreation cost millions to build, but it is a perfect recreation of the mysterious original Aerolithe.
Many manufacturers during this time produced multi-purpose vehicles that could be driven to a race track, raced, and then driven home. The Bugatti Type 57, however, was solely a road-going vehicle and is considered the most celebrated of all non-racing Bugattis. Even though the Type 57 was strictly a road-going vehicle, a racing version was created for the 1937 24-Hours of Le Mans race. This vehicle, based on the Type 57S chassis and named the 57G, won the race. A supercharged version was created for the 1939 Le Mans race and also was victorious. This is the legacy of the Bugatti heritage and the quality and innovative designs that were truly masterpieces in all respects.

In 1934, the Type 57C entered the scene, a project headed by Jean Bugatti, the son of Ettore Bugatti. The vehicle centered around refinement while focusing on the values that had made Bugatti successful.

Three 'factory' bodies were available and consisted of the Ventoux, a two-window and four window version, the Stelvio, and the Atalante. All of the Atalante bodies were produced and all were done in-house. The Atalante was named after peaks in the Alps and is one of the most exclusive bodystyles ever produced by Bugatti.

The Type 57 could also be ordered with Galibier four-door bodies. Ealier versions of the Galibier bodies had suicide-opening front doors with no pillar. Later versions had suicide-opening front doors and rear doors hung in the traditional fashion. The front and rear doors would share a common pillar.

Jean designed an indepenent front suspension to aide in the handling of the vehicle. This was not popular with Ettore Bugatti and had the traditional Bugatti front axle installed.

A 3.3 liter, twin-cam, straight-eight engine was used to power this vehicle. Even with the heavy saloon bodies, the engine could propel the vehicle to a speed of around 95 mph. A Roots-type supercharger was later added and the vehicle was given the designation 57C. The supercharger was quiet and provided between three to four pounds of boost pressure. The addition of the supercharger increased the horsepower rating to 175.

The Type 57S version was a 'sportier' version of the Type 57. The chassis was shorter, with the rear axle running through the frame. A slightly tuned engine with higher compression and a dry sump lubrication helped increase the performance of the car. The front and rear axles received de Ram shock aborbers, replacing the Hartford Friction dampers.

The Type 57SC was a combination of the 57C and 57S. The engine produced between 200 and 220 horsepower.

On August 11, 1939 while testing a Type 57C tank-bodied racer near Molsheim, Jean Bugatti was killed. This was the same day as the start of the 2nd World War, which inevitably meant that the race Jean was preparing the vehicle for would never be run.

By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2006
Ettore Arco Isidoro Bugatti was born in Milan, Italy in 1881. His father, Carlo, was a furniture designer of some fame. The father's brother, Rembrandt, was a gifted sculptor of animals. When he was old enough, Ettore attended the Brera Academy of Art where he studied sculpture. Soon, he turned his attention to mechanical endeavors.

The first Bugatti motor car was built in 1899 though the first vehicle to bear his name was the Type 13 of 1910. Power came from a four-cylinder, eight-valve engine. The 1913 the radiators became more rounded and in the shape of a horse shoe.

The company's first eight-cylinder engine production car was introduced in 1922 and dubbed the Type 30. The engine had a single overhead camshaft and displaced two liters. The car had a drum brakes, solid axles and leaf springs on all four corners.

The Type 35 in all sequences, the A, B, C, and T, were some of Bugatti's early examples that made the marque famous. The Type 57 introduced in 1934 and continued in production until 1940. They were powered by a 3257cc straight-eight engine with double overhead camshafts that produced between 130 and 140 horsepower. There were four road-going versions of the 57 and these were the Type 57, Type 57C, Type 57S, and Type 57SC. The Type 57C was a supercharged version while the Type 57S was a sporty version based on a short and lower wheelbase. The Type 57SC was a combination of the 57S and 57C. A variety of body-styles were offered throughout the years.

The engine rested in a ladder-type frame and matted to a four-speed manual gearbox. The front had a tubular axle with the suspension comprised of longitudinally mounted semi-elliptic leaf springs. The rear axle was suspended in place by a pair of quarter-elliptic leaf springs. The early versions of the vehicle had cable-operated drums on all four wheels. Later versions were upgraded with Lockheed hydraulic brakes with twin master cylinder, which first appeared in 1938.

The Type 57 and its variants were intended for road going use. However, many made their way onto the racing circuit. Lord Howe drove a Type 57 to a third place finish in the 1935 Tourist Trophy. A Type 57G won the Monthlhery and Reims race in 1936. In 1937, Jean-Pierre Wimille and Robert Benoist drove a Bugatti to victory at LeMans.

Many of the cars were clothed by prominent coachbuilders such as Figoni, Van Vooren, Corsica, and James Young. Most of the chassis were bodied by the factory with coachwork in the style of Jean Buggatti. The catalog bodies included two versions of the Ventoux Coupe, the Galibier four-door sedan, the Stelvio cabriolet, Atalante, and Atlantic. The Atlantic and Atalante were constructed in two-door coupe configuration. Gangloff, a Swiss coachbuilder, was tasked with clothing most of the factory bodies.

By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2007
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