1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Atlantic Coupe / 57591 Chassis Information

1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic photograph

1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic photograph

1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic
Atlantic Coupe
Designer: Jean Bugatti
Chassis #: 57591
Perhaps the most beautiful and exotic (and certainly the most expensive) automobile in history is the Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic. With graceful styling, a powerful engine, and lightweight construction, the vehicles were as impressive with the performance as they were with their design. The design was courtesy of Ettore's son, Jean Bugatti. It was influenced by aircraft styling and given an avant-grade tear-drop shape. In the front was a raked windscreen, kidney-shaped doors with matching side windows, and the memorable riveted fins in the back.

The riveted fins in the back were not just a design expression, they were a necessary part of the construction. The body was built from Electron, an alloy of aluminum and magnesium from IG Farben of Germany. It was lightweight and strong, but it was also very flammable. Thus, it was not able to be welded. The solution proposed by Jean was to use rivets.

The first example produced was finished in silver and introduced at the 1935 Paris Motor Show. Production began the following year, though only three orders had been taken. By this point in history, the company had decided to switch to aluminum, which was also lightweight - just not as light as the flammable electron.

Power was supplied from an inline eight-cylinder, supercharged engine fitted with Stromberg carburetors. The 210 horsepower was mated to a four-speed manual gearbox. Drum brakes were at all four corners, as was the Rudge Witworth wire wheels.

The prototype car - the 1935 Paris Motor Show car - is called the Aerolithe after the Greek word for meteorite. It was the only example to be constructed from the exotic material, electron.

Chassis 57591 was the final example produced of three aluminum bodied production bodied cars. Distinguishable features included the external headlights. It is also, perhaps, the most original of the three examples.

The car was first owned by R.B. Pope of London and finished in Dark Sapphire Blue. It was given EXK6 license plate as part of its original UK registration. It was given a supercharger in 1939. In the 1960s the car was sold to author Barry Price. In 1988 it was purchased by New York designer Ralph Lauren who commissioned a comprehensive restoration by Paul Russel. The work took two years to complete, and as many original parts as possible was used. After the work was complete, the car was shown at the 1990 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance where it won Best of Show.

Currently, the car is finished in black paint.


By Daniel Vaughan | May 2013

No auction information available for this vehicle at this time.

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(Data based on Model Year 1938 sales)

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Vehicle Profiles

Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571934 Rumble Seat Convertible
Coachbuilder: Franay
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571934 Stelvio
Coachbuilder: Gangloff
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571934 Aravis Drophead Coupe
Coachbuilder: Paul Nee
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571934 Aerolithe
Chassis Num: 57104
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571934 Drophead Coupe
Coachbuilder: James Young
Chassis Num: 57169
Engine Num: 101
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571935 Cabriolet
Coachbuilder: Bertelli
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571935 Drophead Coupe
Coachbuilder: Binder
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571935 Drophead Coupe
Coachbuilder: James Young
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571935 Chassis
Chassis Num: 57243
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571935 Grand Raid Roadster
Coachbuilder: Worblaufen
Chassis Num: 57260
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 57SC1936 Roadster
Chassis Num: 3826
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571936 Coupe
Coachbuilder: Binder
Chassis Num: 57295
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 57SC1936 Roadster
Chassis Num: 57374
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571936 Stelvio
Coachbuilder: Gangloff
Chassis Num: 57395
Engine Num: 57395
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571936 Pillarless Coupe
Coachbuilder: Paul Nee
Chassis Num: 57397
Engine Num: 276
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571936 Atalante
Chassis Num: 57401
Engine Num: 54C
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571936 Stelvio
Chassis Num: 57406
Engine Num: 286
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571936 Racer
Chassis Num: 57416
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571936 Stelvio
Chassis Num: 57442
Engine Num: 57442
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571936 Two-Light Ventoux Coupe
Chassis Num: 57469
Engine Num: 350
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 57SC1936 Roadster
Coachbuilder: Crosthwaite & Gardiner
Chassis Num: 57492
Engine Num: 9S
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571938 Cabriolet
Coachbuilder: D'Ieteren
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571938 Atalante Coupe
Coachbuilder: Gangloff
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571938 Monoposto
Chassis Num: 57410
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571938 Monoposto
Chassis Num: 57478
Engine Num: 354
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571938 Drophead
Chassis Num: 57567
Engine Num: 57567
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571938 Stelvio Cabriolet
Coachbuilder: Gangloff
Chassis Num: 57569
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571938 Drophead
Chassis Num: 57587
Engine Num: 458
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571938 Atalante Coupe
Coachbuilder: Gangloff
Chassis Num: 57633-463
Engine Num: 463
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571938 Drophead
Chassis Num: 57649
Engine Num: 466
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571939 Aravis Coupe
Coachbuilder: Gangloff
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571939 Stelvio Convertible
Coachbuilder: Gangloff
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571939 Stelvio Convertible
Coachbuilder: Gangloff
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571939 Stelvio Convertible
Coachbuilder: Gangloff
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571939 Stelvio Convertible
Coachbuilder: Gangloff
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571939 Cabriolet
Coachbuilder: Saoutchik
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571939 Coupe
Coachbuilder: Vanvooren
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571939 3 Position Drophead
Chassis Num: 57587
Engine Num: 458
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571939 Atalante Coupe
Chassis Num: 57624
Engine Num: 448
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571939 Aravis Coupe
Coachbuilder: Gangloff
Chassis Num: 57710
Engine Num: 46C
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571939 Galibier Saloon
Chassis Num: 57752
Engine Num: 57476 19C
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571939 Stelvio Convertible
Coachbuilder: Gangloff
Chassis Num: 57786
Engine Num: 19C.V.
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571939 Faux Cabriolet
Coachbuilder: James Young
Chassis Num: 57787
Engine Num: C66
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571939 Aravis Coupe
Coachbuilder: Gangloff
Chassis Num: 57798
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571939 Galibier Saloon
Chassis Num: 57806C
Engine Num: 87C
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571939 Cabriolet
Coachbuilder: Vanvooren
Chassis Num: 57808
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571939 Voll & Ruhrbeck Roadster
Coachbuilder: Voll & Ruhrbeck
Chassis Num: 57819
Engine Num: 90C
Chassis information for the Bugatti Type 571939 3 Position Drophead
Chassis Num: 57841
Engine Num: 109C


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