Eyes widen when automobiles fetch six-figure costs at public sale. Mouths drop when the bid reaches seven figures. Eight figures? Outstanding, and the Bugatti Kind 57SC Atlantic is considered one of just a few automobiles that has achieved such worth. The final one to move for public sale was in 2010, because the world was simply beginning to get well from the worldwide monetary disaster, and it nonetheless managed to promote for greater than $30 million.
Jay Leno explains what the fuss is all about within the newest episode of “Jay Leno’s Storage.” The featured automotive is a Kind 57SC Atlantic duplicate Leno has owned for 30 years. It has some authenticity, although, because it’s primarily based on a Bugatti chassis and powered by a Bugatti engine.
Bugatti solely constructed 4 of the delightfully swoopy coupes between 1936 and 1938 they usually stay the crown jewels of Bugatti manufacturing automobiles. The fashions got here to life when Ettore Bugatti’s son, Jean, determined to modernize the corporate’s car lineup.
Relatively than constructing many alternative fashions, Bugatti determined to develop one automotive with completely different variants. The Kind 57 bore the Galibier sedan, Stelvio convertible, Ventoux two-door sedan, and Atalante coupe. By 1940, Bugatti ended manufacturing of the model after producing 800 automobiles.
Nonetheless, the Kind 57SC Atlantic was completely different. Jean developed the automotive from the Aérolith prototype inbuilt 1935, and used aluminum for the physique. The outside additionally featured rivets, which recalled the Atlantic prototype made out of aviation supplies. Jean determined to call the coupe the Atlantic in honor of his pal, Jean Mermoz, who by no means returned from a South Atlantic aviation journey in 1936.
The distinctive design featured an impossibly lengthy hood that hid a 197-hp 3.3-liter inline-6. By this time horse-drawn carriages had been changed by the Ford Mannequin T, however 197 hp was unimaginable. The coupe may additionally clock a high velocity in extra of 125 mph.
Of the 4 Bugatti 57SC Atlantics constructed, simply three of those elegant fashions had been bought to non-public prospects. The primary automotive (chassis no. 57374) was bought to British banker Victor Rothschild, and was the automotive that went to public sale in 2010. The third automotive (chassis no. 57473) was delivered to Jacques Holzschuh of France. The automotive was later concerned in a crash with a practice that fully destroyed it, although it underwent a painstaking restoration, albeit with most of its elements being new. Regardless of trendy expertise and instruments, the engine was misplaced. The fourth automotive (chassis no. 57591) was bought to R.B. Pope of Britain. At this time, designer Ralph Lauren owns it.
The second manufacturing model (chassis no. 57453) stays a thriller. The one instance initially painted black, Jean Bugatti constructed the automotive for himself and lent it out to Bugatti racing drivers. Pictures exist of the automotive for promotional supplies, however there’s not a single report of the automotive after 1938. Bugatti believes it may have been bought to considered one of Jean’s racing associates. A extra possible state of affairs, per the model, is that the automotive was hidden as Germany invaded France throughout World Warfare II. Whereas it hasn’t been discovered to this present day, the automotive served as inspiration for a contemporary successor within the type of the one-off La Voiture Noire.
Click on on the video above for extra particulars concerning the Bugatti 57SC Atlantic generally and Leno’s painstakingly constructed duplicate specifically.
HIGH-RES GALLERY: Bugatti Kind 57SC Atlantic