Ettore Bugatti can certainly be considered one of the more colorful characters throughout automotive history. Though born in Italy, Bugatti spent most of his life in France. Nearly 8,000 cars bearing the Bugatti name were produced at the Molsheim factory located in Alsace, France. This number includes fifty two different models produced over the years from about 1910 to 1951. They ranged from the Type 35 Grand Prix racer, to one of the most costly and luxurious automobiles ever built, the Bugatti Royale. Bugattis were both superb performers for their time as well as aesthetically pleasing automobiles. Unlike other race car builders of the era, Bugatti sold cars to his competitors while his cars were still winning races.
In addition to being an automaker, Ettore Bugatti was an avid horseman and the traditional horseshoe grille became the trademark of every Bugatti built from race cars to touring cars. The Type 57 can certainly be considered the most celebrated non-racing Bugatti ever built. Introduced in 1934, production continued until the outbreak of war in 1939 - in all its forms 710 were sold.
The Type 57 was a design and engineering masterpiece; its chassis fitted with bodies created almost entirely by Jean Bugatti, son of Ettore. The Type 57 was the first Bugatti that didn't share its chassis design with race cars, as had earlier models. It would be the rival of its competitors Delahaye and Delage offering a car capable of high performance without sacrificing comfort, luxury, or convenience.
The Bugatti Type 57 was both beautiful and powerful and provided cash-flow for the Bugatti Company during a difficult economical time in history. It was introduced in 1934 and quickly grew a reputation for low noise and vibration from the engine. The engine is a 3.3-liter engine capable of producing 135 horsepower. There were four-bodystyles offered and their names were in honor of the Alps mountain peaks, the Galibier, Stelvio and Ventoux. The Ventoux body style had seating for four and two doors. Its design, such as raked windshield, was borrowed heavily from the Type 50. All of the Ventoux bodystyles were created in-house, by Jean Bugatti. Most of the Stelvio bodystyles were outsourced to custom coachbuilders.
A second series was introduced in 1936 and featured a redesigned chassis which accommodated a more flexible engine mounting system.
The 1938 Bugatti Type 57 Ventoux Coupe with seating for four was on display at the 2007 Eastern Concours of the United States.
This 1938 Bugatti Type 57 Three Position Drophead Coupe has coachwork by Letourneur & Marchand. It carries chassis number 57649 and engine number 466. It is finished in blue owner white with a tan leather interior. Under the bonnet is a straight-eight engine with twin overhead camshafts, sixteen valves and coil ignition. Total horsepower is around 140 which is sent to the rear wheels with the help of the four-speed manual gearbox. Drum brakes can be found on all four corners.
The alternative to the factory bodies were created by coachbuilders such as Graber, Corsica, Saoutchik, Labourdette, and Letourneur et Marchand. The versatile chassis lent itself well to the elegant and unique creations created by these master craftsman.
One of the earliest creations by Letourneur was in 1926 when they bodied a Voisin car. Their designs during the 1930s is among the most memorable of their creations, with many designs featuring aerodynamic principles and fitted to some of the sportiest French automobiles of the era. Many of the designs were penned by Letourneur's son Marcel.
In total, Letourneur created seven Aravis bodies for the Type 57 and eleven other bodies for the Type 57. The very first Aravis, shown at the 1938 Paris Salon, was created by Letourneur.
This Three Position Drophead Coupe has many similarities to the Aravis design. It has a finned boot lid, twin opening handles and hinges, no running boards, same wing lines and roof line, and the spare wheel is hidden in the trunk. The rear wheels are covered and the fenders have a teardrop style.
This car spent its early life in Europe and brought to the United States after the Second World War. It has an older restoration but still in very good condition. The interior and paint are some of the more visual signs of the age of the restoration. It was even a recent exhibit in New York City at the Allan B. Stone gallery.
At auction the car was estimated to sell for $600,000 - $800,000. This was the last vehicle to cross the auction block and sadly failed to find an interested buyer willing to meet its reserve. The car was left unsold.
The coachbuilding firm of D'Ieteren was founded in 1805 by Jean Joseph D'Ieteren, who started his career as a wheel-wright. Thus D'Ieteren, which is located in Brussels and still exists today, is one of the oldest automoitve firms in the world. From 1897 to 1935 the firm built something like 6,000 high quality coachworks on chassis from Hispano Suiza, Minevera, Mercedes-Benz and Bugatti. It counted Dutch and Belgian royalty amongst its clients. Sadly just 30 to 40 of those magnificent cars have survived. This is the only Type 57 Aravis Known to have been bodied by Albert D'Ietern. It was delivered on March 9, 1938, to its first owner, a Mr. Baggage.
This Alfa Romeo, chassis number 57478, wears replica coachwork similar to the body of the Type 59/50B found in the Schlumpf Museum. It was produced in November of 1936 and built to the requests of its original owner, Fernand Huck. It originally wore coachwork by Gangloff with a pillarless Galibier Aerodynamique body. Huck took delivery of the car in March of 1937 and registered in Paris that same year.
The second owner was Jean De Dobbeleer who purchased the car in 1958 and had it exported to the United States the following year. Dave Park purchased it next and sold it to Jerry Sherman prior to 1962. While in Sherman's care, the Galibier body was discarded and the wheelbase was shortened to 108 inches. A custom aluminum lightweight open body was built with the intent to race in VSCCA events.
Unfortunately, the car was involved in a barn fire; the remains were purchased by David George and later by Karl Larsen. A replica 59/50B body was created by Ron Fournier and the vehicle was restored by Jim Stranberg. The coachwork was later re-done by Jim Stranberg of High Mountain Classics.
This supercharged Bugatti Type 57C Atalante has been referred to as 'the greatest barn-find ever,' and its story is certainly remarkable. John W. Straus, the grandson of the founder of Macy's department stores, parked this Bugatti in a Pound Ridge, New York, barn in 1962, and there it stayed until earlier in 2007. Mr. Nicotra placed the winning bid at an auction in June and immediately sent the car to his friend and preservation car expert Mark Smith, who confirmed the car's absolute integrity. After tending to a very few leaks and adding new oil, the engine was hand-cranked and sprang to life after 45 years. The only items that have been replaced, for safety's sake, are the tires. A truly unique Bugatti.
In its original 3.3-liter form the Type 57 delivered 135 horsepower, but with a supercharger this increased by 25 horsepower. This Bugatti was originally bodied with Stelvio coachwork, but was changed to the Atalante body in the 1940s. This Atalante was parked in 1962 and stored for 45 years, then shown in its barn-find condition at Pebble Beach in 2007. It has since been restored.
Sold for $682,000 at 2006 Gooding & Company. This Bugatti was originally ordered by wealthy French Industrialist Fernand Crouzet and has a custom body by Gangloff that features unique bumpers and wheel discs.
During World War II, this Type 57 was hidden under hay in a barn in France. After the war, the car was refurbished by the Bugatti branch in Paris and was sent to England where it was used as a French Embassy car until 1948.
The car is powered by an in-line 3257 cc (3.3L) eight-cylinder engine coupled to a 4-speed manual transmission. The 3,415 pound vehicle was stopped by hydraulic brakes. The supercharged model had a top speed of 112 miles per hour. The car has been in private collections since the late 1940s.
This car was offered for sale at the 2006 Gooding & Company Auction held in Pebble Beach, Ca. It was estimated to sell for $650,000-$850,000 and was offered without reserve. All the benefits of this sale were to go to the Ministrelli Women's Heart Center at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Michigan.
This car has had a 100-point restoration in 2005. The interior is finished in an Ostrich patter, wool broadcloth headliner and French Walnut instrument panel. It has a correct Scintilla ignition switch, Scintilla coils and Bosch distributor.
1938 Bugatti Type 57 Cabriolet by Letourneur & Marchand
This pre-war Bugatti was acquired by its current owner in 2003 who promptly returned its original engine to its chassis, No. 57567. Its Letourneur & Marchand coachwork was a precursor to the famed 'Aravis' Bugattis they built along with Gangloff.
Sold for $693,000 at 2011 RM Sothebys. Sold for $962,500 at 2014 RM Sothebys. Ettore Bugatti had founded the company bearing his name in 1909 in Molsheim, Alsace. While the company would be founded and grow because of the prowess of Ettore, his son Jean, would also go on to show off his talents by fashioning one of the more iconic of designs in Bugatti's line.
Widely known for their incredible reliability and performance Bugattis would become almost the element of choice whether taking part in grand prix or other endurance races. Building upon what his father had already managed to establish, Jean would improve the company with the Type 57, which would go on to win Le Mans in 1937 and again in 1939. This kind of race-going performance and reliability made the car quite popular to those just looking for an elegant and luxurious means of going from point A to point B.
Jean's Type 57 was a departure from what Bugatti had become known for prior. The overall design of the car was certainly something like a sports car, and yet, had all of the refinements that one would expect from a frame capable of carrying exotic and expensive custom coachwork. One of the sport touring Type 57s, a 1938 Type 57 Stelvio, would be offered at this year's RM Auctions event in Monterey, California.
Despite war brewing uncomfortably close on the other side of the Rhine river, Bugatti was fully committed to building its Type 57. By this point in time, the Bugatti company had become more adept in designing and building its own coaches and would merely contract out the help of local coachbuilders to actually piece the car together. One of those local coachbuilders Bugatti would turn to would be Gangloff.
In the case of chassis 57569, Gangloff would be hired to build a Stelvio cabriolet coach body. The chassis had been finished and delivered to Gangloff by late-summer of 1937. A Stelvio cabriolet body would then be ordered for a customer in the fall of that year and would end up being delivered to Bugatti's main agency in Paris by late-October.
Besides its familiar vertical, arched chrome grille and sweeping fenders lines, the Stelvio cabriolet would come with a 135 bhp, 3.2-liter inline eight-cylinder engine and a four-speed gearbox.
While the bodywork was clearly a Stelvio cabriolet made by Gangloff, this particular chassis boasts of some minor changes that make it certainly unique. Most notable are the car's smaller dimensions and its downward sweeping doors.
It is believed the car had originally been ordered for a member of the Pernod family. After a very brief spell with its first owner, the car would be returned to the Paris agency and would be later re-sold to its now second owner, a person by the name of Gaillard.
Unfortunately, after being delivered to its second owner in April of 1938, nothing is really seen or heard of the car until it turns up again in the early 1960s. By that time, it had come to be the property of Guy Huet of Holland who, in turn, had purchased the car from Pierre Proust Garage in Montrouge, France.
While under Huet's ownership, chassis 57569 would go through restoration by Piet Peperkorn in Haarleem. After restoration the car would be sold to a number of other owners. Of the few subsequent owners during this period the perhaps most noted owner would have to be Erwin Hucke.
Not until the very late-1980s had the car left Europe. However, ever since then the car has remained in the United States and has included another list of notable owners including John R. Lee of Dallas, Texas.
Over the last twenty years the car has undergone restoration and has clearly benefited. At this year's auction that beautiful red and black contrasting finishing would attract a sale price of $693,000.
Sources: 'Lot No. 139: 1938 Bugatti Type 57 Stelvio by Gangloff', (http://www.rmauctions.com/CarDetails.cfm?SaleCode=MO11&CarID=r227&Currency=USD). RM Auctions. http://www.rmauctions.com/CarDetails.cfm?SaleCode=MO11&CarID=r227&Currency=USD. Retrieved 29 August 2011.
Wikipedia contributors, 'Bugatti Type 57', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 15 May 2011, 20:01 UTC, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Bugatti_Type_57&oldid=429282827 accessed 29 August 2011By Jeremy McMullen
The Bugatti Type 57, introduced in 1934, was both beautiful and powerful, and it provided a much-needed boost for the Bugatti Company during the difficult economic climate of the time. Five body styles were offered - most named after Alpine mountain peaks, including the four-seat, two-door coupe called the Ventoux. Much of their design, such as the raked windshield, were influenced by the Type 50. All of the Type 57 body styles were created in-house by Jean Bugatti.
This Ventoux is one of the later examples, built just before the Paris Auto Show in October 1938, which heralded the end of Ventoux production.
This Bugatti Type 57, built in September 1937, was delivered to Letourneur et Marchand to be fitted with this rare two-door, four-seat, three-position cabriolet body. Letourneur et Marchand, located in the Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine, constructed 19 bodies on the Bugatti Type 57 chassis. This automobile was ordered by Baron George de Cocq, the husband of the Comtesse de Caraman-Chimay, and was delivered to their home in Paris just a few months before the war and then quickly hidden away. After the war, the car was sold to Dr. Milton Roth and taken to the United States. In 2002 its original engine and Cotal gearbox were rebuilt and it was fully restored. The car was shown at Pebble Beach in 2004 and was Second in Class. It has since moved to Paris, been refreshed in Holland and then returned to the United States.
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.
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