What is the world’s most sought-after vintage car? Based on this spring’s car auctions, and the prices the model has received in recent years, Bugatti’s 57SC Atlantic should do well.
It was at the end of March 2018 that this car model received the award for the best car from the 1920s and 1930s at the Motor Klassik Awards organised by the German motoring magazine Motor Klassik. Readers voted for the award, which is already the fifth time the same car model has received the title. In fact, Bugatti is the first car brand to have won the award every time it took part in the competition.
The Bugatti 57SC Atlantic is perhaps best known for being part of Ralph Lauren’s private collection. This car is valued at 40 million dollars. However, it is not the easiest to get hold of this stunning beauty. Between 1936 and 1938, only four examples of the 57SC Atlantic were built. Of these, only two cars exist in their original condition.
The Atlantic is the most famous of the Bugatti cars known as the Type 57. With the SC model (where SC stands for “supercharger”), Jean Bugatti, son of the founder Ettore, wanted to offer a sportier model to the standard version. The Type 57SC is not really an official Bugatti name, but is often used to refer to the 57S, which has a supercharged engine.
The name of the sports version was actually Type 57S and was completely redesigned, compared to the standard 57, with a shorter and lower chassis. The rear axle went through the chassis beams, instead of under them as normal. Jean Bugatti had fitted the car with a simple form of individual front suspension. In order to mount the engine as low as possible in the chassis, the 57S had the same dry-sump lubricated engine as the Type 59 race car. The price of a 57S was twice that of a standard 57. Despite this, it became too expensive to produce and was replaced from 1938 by the 57C. The engine of this model had been fitted with a supercharger to increase performance.¹
In total, 630 Type 57 and 57C models were produced.
That even the more common models of Bugatti’s Type 57 car model are hotly sought after on the market was demonstrated by the Salon Rétromobile auction in February 2018, during which a Bugatti Type 57C coupé Atalantic sold for €2,903,200, which is $3,191,056 in today’s dollars.