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 Bugatti Type 57 photo

1937 Bugatti Type 57

History

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

1937 Vehicle Profiles

1937 Bugatti Type 57 vehicle information

Ventoux Coupe

Chassis Num: 57345

Ettore Bugatti would earn a reputation as a wonderfully talented chassis builder. His son, Jean, would earn an equally impressive reputation for the strikingly elegant bodies that graced his father's chassis. One of the best examples of Jean's artist....[continue reading]

1937 Bugatti Type 57 vehicle information

Ventoux Coupe

Chassis Num: 57584
Engine Num: 507

Ask someone to describe a classic pre-war car and it wouldn't be at all surprising if the resulting characterization would look strikingly like a Type 57 Bugatti. Furthermore, show he or she the Ventoux and prepare to hear 'that's it!'....[continue reading]

1937 Bugatti Type 57 vehicle information

Roadster
Coachwork: Vanvooren

Chassis Num: 75542

The original Bugatti Type 57 was designed by Jean Bugatti purely as a road-going vehicle, and it is the most celebrated of all non-racing Bugattis. Apart from the three famous Bugatti Atlantics, just three two-door 'factory' built bodies were availab....[continue reading]

1937 Bugatti Type 57 vehicle information

Roadster
Coachwork: Vanvooren

Chassis Num: 57617

This 1937 Bugatti Type 57C, serial number 57617, was built by Van Vooren and sold new to Monsieur Le Depute Jean Gapiaud of Paris. Originally constructed as cabriolet drop-head, it was modified by Van Vooren prior to delivery.....[continue reading]

1937 Bugatti Type 57 vehicle information

Ventoux Coupe

Chassis Num: 57614
Engine Num: 429

The Bugatti Type 57 was displayed at the 1934 Paris Automobile Salon where it was a highlight of the event. The car was created as a replacement for the Type 49. The Type 57 was powered by a 3257cc engine that had a 72mm bore and a 100mm stroke. T....[continue reading]

1937 Bugatti Type 57 vehicle information

Atalante Coupe
Coachwork: Gangloff

Ettore Bugatti was an Italian who lived nearly all his life in France. Raised by a family of artists, he was a greatly gifted and very proud man who was indifferent to any opinion, save his own. ....[continue reading]

1937 Bugatti Type 57 vehicle information

Atalante Coupe
Coachwork: Gangloff

Chassis Num: 57641

Continually seeking ways to cheat the wind, French Designers developed a practical approach to aerodynamics in the 1930's. Crafted prior to the development of the wind tunnel and computer aided design, they accomplished their magic with the use of ro....[continue reading]

1937 Bugatti Type 57 vehicle information

Atalante Coupe
Designer: Jean Bugatti

Powered by an advanced 3.3-liter twin-cam straight-eight engine, the Type 57 Bugatti was a fast, comfortable touring car. The supercharged version, known as the Type 57C, was introduced in 1937 and built for two years. Ettore Bugatti's son Jean signi....[continue reading]

1937 Bugatti Type 57 vehicle information

Pillarless Sports Coupe
Coachwork: Hermann Graber

Chassis Num: 57443

The Bugatti Type 57 was introduced in 1934 and was the first model built under Jean Bugatti's direction. It incorporated many features that were new to Bugatti including the company's first use of a transmission fixed to the engine crankcase and a si....[continue reading]

1937 Bugatti Type 57 vehicle information

Cabriolet

Chassis Num: 57156
Engine Num: 48

This Bugatti Type 57 currently wears a Cabriolet body by an unknown coachbuilder. It was assembled in June of 1934 for a Belgian customer named Frederic Deflandre. It had chassis number 57156 and engine number 48, which it retains in modern times. On....[continue reading]

1937 Bugatti Type 57 vehicle information

Special Coupe
Coachwork: Gangloff

Chassis Num: 57517

Having worked for nearly 10 years with such notable firms as De Dietrich, Mathis and Deutz, Ettore Bugatti established his own firm in 1909. One of his notable early successes was the Bebe made by Peugeot to Bugatti's design. Nearly 8,000 cars and 52....[continue reading]

Ventoux Coupe
Chassis #: 57345 
Ventoux Coupe
Chassis #: 57584 
Roadster by Vanvooren
Chassis #: 75542 
Roadster by Vanvooren
Chassis #: 57617 
Ventoux Coupe
Chassis #: 57614 
Atalante Coupe by Gangloff
 
Atalante Coupe by Gangloff
Chassis #: 57641 
Atalante Coupe
 
Pillarless Sports Coupe by Hermann Graber
Chassis #: 57443 
Cabriolet
Chassis #: 57156 
Special Coupe by Gangloff
Chassis #: 57517 


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Performance and Specification Comparison

Model Year Production

#1#2#3Bugatti
1942Chevrolet (254,885)Ford (160,432)Plymouth (152,427)
1941Chevrolet (1,008,976)Ford (691,455)Plymouth (522,080)
1940Chevrolet (764,616)Ford (541,896)Plymouth (430,208)
1939Chevrolet (577,278)Ford (487,031)Plymouth (423,850)
1938Chevrolet (465,158)Ford (410,263)Plymouth (285,704)
1937Ford (942,005)Chevrolet (815,375)Plymouth (566,128)
1936Ford (930,778)Chevrolet (918,278)Plymouth (520,025)
1935Ford (820,253)Chevrolet (548,215)Plymouth (350,884)
1934Ford (563,921)Chevrolet (551,191)Plymouth (321,171)
1933Chevrolet (486,261)Ford (334,969)Plymouth (298,557)
1932Chevrolet (313,404)Ford (210,824)Plymouth (186,106)

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