1937 Bugatti Type 57S news, pictures, specifications, and information
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.
Chassis Num: 57532
Engine Num: 27S
Vin Num: 3612
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 sump lubrication. High compression pistons gave the new engine a significant performance edge and the clutch was reinforced to cope with the extra output. Ignition was by a Scintilla Vertex magneto driven from the left-hand camshaft. The Type 57S had a new low-slung frame on a short wheelbase, the rear axle passing through the frame, while de Ram shock absorbers provided damping cleverly engineered to increase with speed. In the front was a vee-shaped radiator with no less than 46 vertical slats.
This car, chassis number 57532, was tested at the factory in April 1937 and registered on April 28th of that year. It was sent to Gangloff for the coachwork to be fitted. It was given black livery with tan pigskin upholstery. The car was built for Dr. André (‘Charles') Chauvenet who had it for several years. When he suffered an illness in 1938, the car was laid-up, emerging from storage in April 1939 with just 15,000 or so kilometers recorded. The next owner was Dr. Dinoire who intended on transforming it into a race car. The plan was to shorten the chassis, fit a supercharger and update the braking system to Lockheed hydraulics. The coachwork was removed and carefully stored during the war years, however the racing car project was never proceeded with and the coachwork was subsequently refitted to the chassis in the garage of M. Arnaud at Niort.
In February of 1943, ownership changed to E. Mouche of Paris. In January of 1948, it was in the ownership of celebrity Danish/French singer, songwriter and composer, Georges Ulmer. During one of his trips to the United States, his pregnant wife sold the car, as her doctor advised that it was not a good car for her back.
Raymond Dupont became the owner of the car in December of 1951. It was acquired by St. Quentin brewer, Henri Berlaimont, in March 1952. While in Berlaimont's possession, the car was overhauled by Bugatti specialist Hermanns in Asnieres at the Garage du Pur Sang.
The car was sold in the summer of 1953 to Robert Ford who toured Europe extensively in the car and kept it until his death in 1982. Ownership later passed to Michel Seydoux who commissioned a restoration for the car. It later joined the collection of Swede Hans Tulin before acquisition by the present long term owner in the early 1990s.
In 2009, this car was offered for sale by Bonhams at the Exceptional Motorcars and Automobilia at the Quail Lodge Resort in Carmel, Ca.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 together. Four examples were created and only two survive in original condition. Chassis number 57374
was the first example created and delivered new to Lord Rotschild in London. The car was later upgrade to Type 57 SC specification by adding a supercharger to the engine.
In 1971, the car was purchased at Sotheby's Auction in Los Angeles by Bugatti collector and President of American Bugatti Club, Dr. Peter Williamson. Dr. Williamson treated the car to a restoration and would remain in his care until his passing in the late 2000s. All of the cars in the collection were entrusted to Gooding & Company for sale. The Atlantic was brokered through a private deal in April of 2010. The car was sold for an undisclosed amount, believed to be between $30 - $40 million.
In 2003, the car was shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance where it was awarded 'Best of Show.' Chassis number 57453
was the second of the four Atlantic bodies built by Bugatti. The car was put on display at the 1937 Auto Salon in Nice and its subsequent history is not fully known. It is believed that it was offered to the privateer racer William Grover who had a history of winning prestigious races in Bugattis. The trail ends there and one theory is that the car was dismantled before the start of the War. Chassis number 57473
, the third of the four Atlantics, was completed in October of 1936. The car was sold to Mr. and Mrs. Jacques Holzschuch of Paris, and in 1937 it won the Grand Prix d'Honneur at Juan-les-Pins. A short time later, the car was modified (the work believed to have been tasked to Figoni) with the addition of louvers in the door. The car's next care-taker was Bugatti collector Rene Chatard.
Sadly, Chatard and a friend, Janine Vacheron, were killed and the car was seriously damaged when hit by a train in 1955. The car was sequestered by the railway company and only several years later released to a scrap dealer.
A Bugatti collector named Paul-Andre Berson discovered the remains in 1965 and set about a rebuild, using the damaged chassis and right-hand side of the coachwork. Many of the body parts from the left-hand side were distorted and were not able to be used. The original engine was also too badly damaged and difficult to repair. After many years of reconstruction, the 'new' Atlantic was returned to its original glory. The car was owned for many years by Nicolas Seydoux, selling it in 2004 to its current owner.
The current owner had restoration expert Paul Russell rebuild the car using all available remaining original parts. The body panels revealed the cars original grey color and the leather wrapped around the aluminum dashboard were indications of the interior trim.
In 2010, the rebuilt car was on display at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. It was certainly the most elegant car and a serious contender for Best in Show honors. Since this car was viewed as a 'replica', it was not judged. Some entrants felt that its presence on the lawn at Pebble should not have been allowed. All agreed, however, that it is a magnificent work of art and its two-year restoration performed by Russell was exquisite. Chassis number 57591
was the final Atlantic created, and was completed in 1938. The car is similar to its siblings, with subtle distinguishable details throughout. Since these cars were hand built and there were two years difference between the first and the fourth car, differences are expected. Chassis 57591 has separate headlights; its predecessors are mounted flush with the fenders.
The cars original owner cared for the car for nearly three decades. For the past two decades, Ralph Lauren has owned the car. The car was given a restoration by Paul Russell and in 1990 it was shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance where it won 'Best of Show.'By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2010
Chassis Num: 57532
Engine Num: 27S
Vin Num: 3612
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 nearby Colmar.
This Type 57S coupe by Gangloff was ordered by a young French doctor who fought for the French resistance. The Type 57S was the most sporting of all the Type 57 models, with its surbaisse (low) race-proven chassis and powerful 3.3-liter engine. This two-seat model was especially fast and caused a sensation on the roads of rural France. The Type 57S was a very rare car ordered by very discriminating customers. This example was recently restored by its current owner, who described it as 'an athlete dressed in a tuxedo.'
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 and installed in a chassis inspired by competition.
Along with the introduction of the second-series Type 57, Bugatti also unveiled the Type 57C and the Type 57S. The 'C' was a supercharged model, with the 'C' representing compressor. The Type 57S had a re-engineered chassis that was both lower and shorter, with the 'S' representing surbaisse, French for 'lowered.'
The Type 57S was given a specially tuned engine featuring a higher compression ratio of 8.5:1. It was given a dry sump to accommodate the lowered center of gravity. It had a magneto-driven ignition, and a low-mounted radiator with a V-shaped grille. The rear axle passed through the frame rather than the tradition method of under it, thus allowed a lower stance. The front axle was articulated in halves.
During its first 12 months of racing, the Type 57S claimed three competition victories during the 1936 season, including at the French Grand Prix, La Marne Grand Prix, and the Commings Grand Prix. Its racing prowess would continue to grow during the 1937 season, with victories at the Pau Grand Prix, Bone Grand Prix, La Marne Grand Prix, plus the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
During its racing career, the Type 57S set records on 14 differnt types of event, including a speed average of 85.07 mph at LeMans.
The factory offered three forms of coachwork: a roadster, the Atalante coupe, or the Atlantic coupe. Around half of the total production were factory bodies, with 22 examples being sold as rolling chassis and dispatched to the buyer's coachbuilder of choice, including Gangloff, Corsica, Letourneur et Marchand, and Vanvooren of Paris.Cabriolet by Vanvooren
This unique cabriolet is fitted with its original factory-equipped matching-numbers gearbox and engine, mated to its original chassis and body. It was initially sold in early 1937 to Francois Labesse as part of trade for chassis 57269. (Chassis number 57269 was a four-seat drophead coupe by Vanvooren that Mr. Labesse purchased in May of 1935).
This chassis, number 57513, was completed on March 22nd and shipped by train to Courbevoie where it was given Cabriolet coachwork by Vanvooren. It is one of just four such cabriolets created by Vanvooren on the Type 57S chassis. Currently, three are known to survive, with one example residing in the Schlumpf Collection in Alsace and the other in a collection in the United Kingdom.
This cabriolet was delivered to Labesse's Parisian headquarters through Bugatti's Avenue Montaigne showroom on July 7th of 1937. It is believed that the car had been originally finished in black paint with a thin red line.
Mr. Labesse was chauffeured in 57513 for less than two years before he passed away in early 1939 at the age of 58. In the spring of 1939, his brother-in-law offered the car for sale. At the time, the odometer showed 8,000 kilometers.
Over the next few months, the Type 57S was garaged and maintained by Gaston Docime, a Bugatti expert in Neuilly sur Seine who tended all of Mr. Labesse's cars. It is believed that the car was sold into British ownership during the summer of 1939, as it was registered in Great Britain in June of 1939 with tag FYE 416.
The car's first recorded British owner was Dr. Tomas Harris. In the early 1950s, it was acquired by Jack Lemon Burton. In 1954, it was sold to Ronnie Symondson. Mr. Symondson entered the Bugatti at the BOC Members Testing Weekend at Prescott on March 27th of 1954, achieving a best time of 58.6 seconds. On May 9th, the car took second place in the Bugatti handicap class at the National Hillclimb at Prescott, setting a time of 55.84 seconds.
It may have raced at Silverstone on June 19th, and a day later it was part of the three-car Bugatti team who raced at Shelsley Walsh. Later in 1957, Symondson used it as a touring car for vacationing through continental Europe. During the trip, the car was sidelined with engine problems. Mr. Symondson had the car sent to the Molsheim factory, where a new cylinder block and pistons were fitted.
After returning to Britain, it is believed that the car was used in further BOC events. Modifications and updates were made to some of the mechanical components, including the addition of Koni shock absorbers, and a hydraulic brake system.
T.A. 'Bob' Roberts purchased the car in 1962. In May of 1962, Mr. Roberts took the car to Prescott, and that winter he performed some cosmetic work on the car, eschewing by then two-tone black over grey-blue paint for a new black over yellow. The bonnet apertures were given plated-steel mesh cooling grilles in place of the original louvered sides. The headlamps may have also been changed at this time, from the original bumper-level faired-in units to the higher bullet-style components currently fitted to the coachwork.
Also during Mr. Roberts's ownership, the original engine (number 21S) was removed and retained as a spare. It was replaced with an unnumbered 57G competition engine that had been an extra for the Bugatti factory team at LeMans in 1937.
After Mr. Roberts' passing in 1990, the Type 57S was offered for sale by his estate. It was displayed at Rétromobile in Paris in February 1991, and sold on June 10th to Claude Decoster. Mr. Decoster drove the Type 57S in several events, including the 1992 International Bugatti Rally in France, and the 1994 Bugatti Rally in Italy, where it was displayed on the Piazza San Marco in Venice.
Eventually, Mr. Decoster commissioned Henri Novo to re-install the original factory-equipped motor, which currently resides in the engine bay.
The current caretaker acquired the car in 1995. Recently, the clutch was rebuilt and the original factory gearbox was refitted.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
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