One of the most elusive, bewitching, alluring and precious cars in the world is the Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic. A shy more than 80 years old, the masterpiece from Bugatti still looks so ravishing and makes your eyes tear up whenever you have a look at it. The company built different models of the same car rather than building a horde of different models back then. The Type 57’s different models were the Galibier sedan, Stelvio convertible, Ventoux two-door sedan, and Atalante coupe. But, only 4 exquisite teardrop coupes were built between 1936 and 1938 designed by Ettore Bugatti’s son, Jean. These were christened the Type 57SC Atlantic. Today, only 3 out of the 4 masterpiece’s remain and all of them are in the garages of the best car collectors in the world.
The Type 57SC Atlantic was built from the Aérolithe prototype, also known as Coupé Special or Coupé Aero. The swoopy coupe’ had its body made out of Elektron sheet for one model. Elektron sheet is an alloy of 90 percent magnesium and 10 percent aluminium. Even though it was strong, it could not be welded and hence you can see rivets on this particular model, with chassis number 57 104. The kind of production version of the car featured an all aluminium body but Jean kept the rivets on the dorsal seam for a more riveting look. Bugatti named the car Atlantic in honour of Bugatti’s friend, Jean Mermoz, who never returned from a South Atlantic aviation journey in 1936.
Bugatti combined a strong chassis, lightweight body and a very powerful engine to make the Type 57SC Atlantic come to life. The car featured a 3.3-litre inline-six engine that churned out 200 PS. This meant that the car could go past a top speed of 200 km/h and remember, this was the time when horse-drawn carts were still in the picture. I don’t think even today, Indian manufactured cars can do the same. The fourth car was reportedly driven by Jean himself, who later gave it to Bugatti racer Robert Benoist. Bugatti even went on to win the 1937 24 Hours of Le Mans with the car but then shortly after, during the World War, the car was put in a safe place from which it has not been found till date.
However, it is reported that Bugatti is going to build a one-off Atlantic to complete their line-up. It won’t be the same as before but it will be fully modernized and one can trackback its heritage to the 1930s. Also, if any of you find the lost Bugatti, let us know.