This superb series was the first (and last) fruit of Bugatti’s decision to design a single chassis suitable for every body type, where previously there had been separate options for different styles of coach work. As a result, the Type 57 was fitted with a variety of bodies, though the factory only offered four options, all with flowing lines, designed by Ettore Bugatti’s son Jean.
Three were named after Alpine peaks – the two-door, four-seater Ventoux, the four-door Galabier and the two-door Stelvio convertible, actually built by external supplier Gangloff. The seater, was dubbed the Atalante.
Coachbuilders other than Bugatti and Gangloff were responsible for creating some of the finest prewar shapes ever designed and fitting them to Type 57s, making it one of the most handsome and interesting series produced by the Molsheim factory. Star cars include those by English builders Corsica and Vanden Plas, Vanvooren (a one-off for the future Shah of Persia) and Voll & Ruhrbeck. They mainly produced long, low coupes, dropheads and cabriolets.
Performance was boosted with the addition of a supercharger in 1936 to create the Type 57C, whilst a shorter and lower version was introduced as the Type 57S. When these were put together as the rare type SC the result was a great looker with awesome performance for its day. There were various short-run derivations like the exclusive Atlantic SC coupe.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: France
FIRST MANUFACTURED: 1934 (until 1940)
Engine: 3,257 CC DOHC Straight Eight
PERFORMANCE: up to 125 mph (200 km/h)
YOU SHOULD KNOW: The Type 57 was Jean Bugatti’s triumph … not only was he the designer but he also took charge of production, as father Ettore was at the Paris office supervising the money-making contract to produce railcars for the French government.