Ettore Bugatti built automobiles of uncompromised elegance and sporting competence from 1911 to 1939. He was a mildly eccentric individual and an utterly brilliant Italian engineer; his automobiles were temperamental, technically complex and very expensive.
Though he clung to mechanical brakes, he experimented with aerodynamics and the use of lightweight metals such as magnesium. During the early 1930s, as the luxury automobile market dwindled, Ettore and his son Jean went to the extreme by producing a very special model - the Type 57. The Atalante bodystyle was designed by Jean Bugatti and was a slightly larger, more comfortable production Grand Tourer fitted to the Type 57 chassis. The name was sourced from Atalanta, the huntress and princess of ancient Greek mythology who swore she would only marry a man who could run fast enough to catch her.
Bugatti produced around forty examples of the Atalantes on the standard Type 57, and the slightly shorter, low-slung, sporty Type 57S chassis before World War II broke out.
This example was delivered in September of 1937. This example was one of the last of 17 to be fitted with factory built black Atalante coupe coachwork. It was completed on February 28,1 938, and delivered to England the following month for its first owner, Dr. J.R. Scott of Surbiton, in whose name it was registered EXK 5 on April 6, 1938. It passed through the hands of several British owners until it was added to the Seydoux Collection in Paris in 1986. After returning to England, it was exported to the United States in 1993. In 1996, it received a restoration to its original color scheme of black and yellow accents. The car has been shown at the Pebble Beach Concours where it placed second in its class. In 2005 it was acquired by its current owner.
A unique feature of the Type 57S was its solid-appearing front axle which actually split in the center, allowing independent operation. 1937 was also the final year that Bugatti used cable-operated brakes. The engine was a 3.3liter 16-valve dual overhead cam straight-eight engine featuring a 'V' radiator. The engine produced 170 horsepower. Vehicles fitted with the optional supercharger were called the Type 57SC. The DeRam frictional/hydraulic shock absorbers adjusted to varied road conditions.
Many people consider the Type 57S as the ultimate road-going Bugatti.
The production run of the Bugatti Type 57S was brief, as manufacturing costs were excessively high. It shared many of the features of the Type 57 and its differences set it in a league apart. It had a modified crank case with dual oil pumps and dry s [Read More...] By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2009
The Bugatti Atlantic One of the most elegant and attractive vehicles ever created is the Bugatti Type 57 Atlantic. Bugatti gave the Atlantic their race-inspired engine, short and low chassis, and a body made up of two halves riveted togethe [Read More...] By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2010
The Bugatti Type 57, designed by Ettore Bugatti's talented son, Jean, was built between 1934 and 1940. Most were bodied as Galibier and Ventoux sedans, Stelvio drophead coupes, and later Atalante coupes with coachwork by Bugatti or by Gangloff in nea [Read More...]
Sold for $7,700,000 at 2017 RM Auctions. Bugatti's second-series iteration of the Type 57 was introduced in October of 1936 at the Paris Auto Salon. The sporty touring car had been designed by Ettore Bugatti's son, Jean, and was powered by a 3.3-liter dual overhead-cam eight-cylinder engine [Read More...] By Daniel Vaughan | May 2017
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