1939 Bugatti Type 57

Vehicle Profiles

Aravis Coupe
Coachwork: Gangloff

Chassis Num: 57710
Engine Num: 46C

Introduced in 1934, and produced until 1940, the Type 57 is the ultimate Bugatti road car. They were fitted with some of the most dazzling coachwork ever produced, and this car, #57710, is a fabulous example. This chassis of the car, fitted with en....[continue reading]

Stelvio Convertible
Coachwork: Gangloff

The Bugatti Type 57 was effectively the marque's last production model, and perhaps the best. With a supercharger for the eight-cylinder engine, this model became the Type 57C. The Type 57 has a 130-inch wheelbase, and the 200 cubic-inch engine was....[continue reading]

Stelvio Convertible
Coachwork: Gangloff

The transmission was seamless, since at that point the Type 57 was Bugatti's only production car, and one of its most successful. The standard 57 engine was a 3257cc inline eight, developed from the Type 49 but equipped with gear-driven dual overhead....[continue reading]

Voll & Ruhrbeck Roadster
Coachwork: Voll & Ruhrbeck

Chassis Num: 57819
Engine Num: 90C

Ettore Bugatti had a vision of creating a grand touring automobile by marrying the excitement of Bugatti's racing heritage to the refinement of a road car. The result was the Type 57 designed by Jean Bugatti, son of founder Ettore. Type 57s were buil....[continue reading]

Galibier Saloon

Chassis Num: 57752
Engine Num: 57476 19C

This beautifully restored Type 57C is a 3rd series car and is number 19 of 27 cars built between October 1938 – July 1939. Of the 27 cars built during that period, only 11 cars were supercharged. Bugatti offered clients the choice of four factory-des....[continue reading]

Stelvio Convertible
Coachwork: Gangloff

Ettore Bugatti was born in northern Italy but started building automobiles in Molsheim in the Alsace region of France. Ettore Bugatti's son Jean was in charge of the design team responsible for the Bugatti '57C's'.....[continue reading]

3 Position Drophead
Designer: Letourneur et Marchand

Chassis Num: 57809

The Type 57 is the most celebrated non-racing Bugatti. Only 680 were made from the years 1934 through 1939. This was the last Letourneur et Marchand bodied car, delivered in April 1939 in Paris. There were only 13 Letourneur et Marchand bodied type 5....[continue reading]

Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, the Prince of Persia and future Shah of Iran, received this supercharged Bugatti (the black Bugatti Type 57C) as a gift from the French government on the occasion of his first wedding. The dramatic body was constructed by Vanv....[continue reading]

Faux Cabriolet
Coachwork: James Young

Chassis Num: 57787
Engine Num: C66

The Bugatti Type 57 was produced from 1934 through 1939 and was designed to compete with other luxurious road-going models such as the Delahaye and Delage. The development was heavily influenced by the son of Ettore Bugatti, Jean Bugatti. Mounted u....[continue reading]

Atalante Coupe

Chassis Num: 57624
Engine Num: 448

From 1937 through 1940, there were only 95 examples of the Type 57C produced. The original names for Jean Bugatti's cars were originally sourced from the Alpine passes (Stelvio, Galibier, Ventoux); it is unclear why he ventured away from this naming....[continue reading]

Galibier Saloon

Chassis Num: 57806C
Engine Num: 87C

This 1939 Bugatti Type 57C Galibier Sport Saloon is fitted with the supercharged DOHC straight-eight engine. It is a late Galibier that was ordered directly from the Bugatti factory by author L. Cabot Briggs. It was delivered to him in the United S....[continue reading]

Aravis Coupe
Coachwork: Gangloff

The Type 57 was designed under the supervision of Ettore Bugatti's young son, Jean. For the first time in a Bugatti, the transmission was mounted integrally with the engine, separated by a single-plate clutch. In 1936, the company introduced the su....[continue reading]

Stelvio Convertible
Coachwork: Gangloff

Chassis Num: 57786
Engine Num: 19C.V.

The Stelvio coachwork on this Bugatti is by Gangloff in Colmar. Few Stelvios were made, and no two were identical. A total of 96 57Cs were built. It is a documented supercharged Type 57.....[continue reading]

Coachwork: Vanvooren

This Bugatti Type 57C with Atalante style coachwork by the French coachbuilder Van Vooren was ordered by M. Fernand Chaussivert in April 1939 and delivered two months later. It spent all its life in France before coming to the United States in 2009 a....[continue reading]

Coachwork: Saoutchik

This Type 57 Saoutchik cabriolet was a very worthy winner of the Best of Show Trophy at Pebble Beach in 1985 - the same memorable year that all the Bugatti Royales were seen together for the first time. It was owned at that time by Jack Becronis. Bet....[continue reading]

Stelvio Convertible
Coachwork: Gangloff

Named after the Passo dello Stelvio pass in the Eastern Alps, the Type 57 Stelvio four-seat cabriolet penned by Jean Bugatti was the factory's most popular open car. Most Stelvio bodies were manufactured by Gangloff of Colmar, who modified the design....[continue reading]

Coachwork: Vanvooren

Chassis Num: 57808

This Type 57C was originally owned by the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi. An avid car enthusiast and collector, he received this striking supercharged Bugatti as a wedding gift from the French government when he married his second wife, Pri....[continue reading]

3 Position Drophead
Designer: Letourneur et Marchand

Chassis Num: 57841
Engine Num: 109C

Jean Bugatti introduced his Type 57 in 1934 and it quickly became one of the very best sporting chassis available. It featured a gearbox that was fixed to the crankcase and serviced by a single-plate clutch, with the top three gears in constant mesh.....[continue reading]

Aravis Coupe by Gangloff
Chassis #: 57710 
Stelvio Convertible by Gangloff
Stelvio Convertible by Gangloff
Voll & Ruhrbeck Roadster by Voll & Ruhrbeck
Chassis #: 57819 
Galibier Saloon
Chassis #: 57752 
Stelvio Convertible by Gangloff
3 Position Drophead
Chassis #: 57809 
Faux Cabriolet by James Young
Chassis #: 57787 
Atalante Coupe
Chassis #: 57624 
Galibier Saloon
Chassis #: 57806C 
Aravis Coupe by Gangloff
Stelvio Convertible by Gangloff
Chassis #: 57786 
Coupe by Vanvooren
Cabriolet by Saoutchik
Stelvio Convertible by Gangloff
Cabriolet by Vanvooren
Chassis #: 57808 
3 Position Drophead
Chassis #: 57841 


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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