1937 Type 57SC Atalante

1937 Bugatti Type 57SC

1937 Bugatti Type 57SC 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Sports Tourer
Coachwork: Vanden Plas
Chassis Num: 57541
Engine Num: 29S
Sold for $9,735,000 at 2016 Bonhams.
The Bugatti Type 57 was introduced in 1934 and was the first new model built under his direction and it incorporated many new features new to Bugatti. Power was from a dual overhead camshaft eight-cylinder engines that had dimensions of 72x100mm, offering 3257cc displacement, with a five main bearing crankshaft. The camshafts were driven by a train of helical-tooth gears at the engine's rear with a further crankshaft bearing behind them.

The Bugatti Type 57 was given a transmission fixed to the engine crankcase and a single plate clutch - another first for Bugatti. The four-speed gearbox had constant mesh on the top three gears. In the front was a hollow tube live axle suspended by semi-elliptical front and reversed quarter-elliptical rear leaf springs with cable-operated mechanical drum brakes.

The supercharged Type 57C was introduced in 1936. Driven by the camshaft drive at the rear of the engine, the Roots-type supercharger ran at 1.17 times engine speed, providing a 5-6 psi boot. Horsepower rose to 160 BHP and top speed approached 120 mph.

The Type 57S, with the S representing surbaisse (or lowered), was virtually a Grand Prix car in touring car guise. Although there were several differences between the Type 57 and the 57S, the fundamental difference was the Type 57S models low-slung frame design with its shorter wheelbase. The rear axle passed through the frame, while de Ram shock absorbers provided damping.

The Type 57S also had a modified crankcase with dry sump lubrication derived from the Type 59 Grand Prix car, including separate scavenge and pressure oil pumps supplied from a 20 liter tank. The engine received an increase in performance thanks, in part, to high compression pistons. The clutch was reinforced to cope with the additional output produced by the engine. Ignition was by a Scintilla Vertex magneto driven from the left-hand camshaft.

Production was limited with just 48 examples of the Type 57S chassis built before the outbreak of war. Two of these were Type 57SC models, fitted with a supercharger by the factory. Along with the Alfa Romeo 8C 2900, the Type 57SC was the fastest road car in the world.

Vanden Plas bodied just two Type 57S chassis. It is believed that this example, chassis number 57541, was ordered by George Rand via Colonel Sorel, the London agent on Brixton Road. Rand had recently been appointed Bugatti agent in New York. It was given a four-seat touring roadster body by Vanden Plas and finished in gray with red accents. It was given cut-down doors and an appearance that was similar to the Vanden Plas 4-1/4-liter Bentley Tourer body delivered to Malcolm Campbell in April of 1936. Its design is also similar to the 4.3-liter short chassis Alvis body built in 1937.

The completed car was shipped to New York where it may have been used in the A.R.C.A. races on September 25, 1937. After Rand was unable to find a buyer for the car, it was sent back to England and shown on the Bugatti stand at the London Motor Show held at the Olympia from October 13 to 22, 1938. It was given registration number FGW 384 on November 3rd of 1938.

The first English owner is not known nor is the length of time that it stayed in England. Bugatti expert Pierre-Yves Laugier suggests that it may have come into the care of Herman H. Harjes, Jr. of Paris by the end of 1938.

During the war, its whereabouts vanished. Near the close of the war, it appeared for sale at the Continental Car garage which was owned by Rodney Clarke. In 1947, it had no less than three owners, namely Rodney Clarke, Brian Finglass, and Sir Alfred McAlpine, all of whom were managers of Continental Cars. It was later sold to Jack Robinson, who exported it to Trinidad, where it was registered as PB 371.

According to Pierre-Yves Laugier, when Robinson purchased the car, it was equipped with a Type 35B 3-blade racing supercharger. Additionally, major work had been done to the car including fitting a new crankcase, cylinder block, crankshaft, pistons and connecting rods.

The car remained in Mr. Robinson's care for more than three decades. It was sold to Peter Agg in 1985. A complete restoration soon followed. The work included removing the Type 35B supercharger and replacing it with a correct Type 57, bringing it up to factory correct 57SC specification. Hydraulic brakes were fitted and the car was repainted in the light metallic blue color that it wears today.

The current owner acquired the car in 1995.
By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2016
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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