The T57SC Atlantic 57591 Portfolio Slide Show

rPortfolio/bugatti/38_atlantic

1938 Bugatti T57SC Atlantic Coupe

Chassis No. 57591
Engine No. 57591

To build the forty-two Type 57S sports cars, Bugatti created a shorter and lower Type 57 chassis and fitted it with De Ram shock absorbers, split front axle, dry sump lubrication, higher compression pistons, distinctive 'V' radiator, and other modifications. The later addition by the factory of superchargers led to the Type 57SC designation.

For the T57SC Atlantic coupe, Jean Bugatti's goal was to design the ultimate high-speed grand touring car. The concept was for the body to be built from Elektron, an aluminum-magnesium alloy that was difficult to work with. Of the four Atlantic Coupes built originally, we have seen the remaining three and all are made from aluminum. Apparently, though no longer desired as a construction method, Jean Bugatti did not give up on the riveted flange design, hence the spines along the center of the body and fenders.

The challenge when restoring truly rare classics such as this Bugatti is to show restraint. The easiest method would be to replace everything, from the structural woodwork to the aluminum skin. The real skill and experience shows when the restorers are capable of disassembling, repairing, and rebuilding the car using the original components. Only in selected areas and only as absolutely necessary were new replacement parts created.

Keeping the long-term preservation of the car in mind, we removed all of the fifty-year-old rivets because their flange faces were beginning to corrode. The aluminum skin was treated to arrest the corrosion, and the newly reproduced aluminum rivets were installed individually, by hand, with a custom-made bucking tool.

The Atlantic had been serviced and repainted by previous owners but had never been fully restored, thus we were able to discover many of the construction details produced by the original builders. For instance, the camshaft boxes on Bugatti engines were finished with a decorative scraping in several distinctive patterns. The Atlantic's engine had suffered 'restoration damage' years before when all of its aluminum parts were highly polished, disguising the original pattern. We lightly block sanded the surfaces, which revealed enough of the scraping grid for us to duplicate.

This attention to detail has led to multiple honors and world-wide recognitions since the car was judged Best of Show at the 1990 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. Years after the restoration was completed, the craftsmanship in this exquisite car is still awe-inspiring, as demonstrated at the Art of the Automobile exhibit at the Paris Musée des Arts Décoratifs in the spring of 2011 and most recently by the Best of Show award at the 2013 Villa d'Este Concorso d'Eleganza.

Awards

Villa d'Este Concorso at Villa Erba, 2013
Young People's Award
Italia Trophy

Villa d'Este Concorso d'Eleganza, 2013
BEST OF SHOW
First In Class
Coppa d'Oro

Louis Vuitton Classic, 1999
BEST OF SHOW
First In Class

Eastern United States Concours d'Elegance, 1994
BEST OF SHOW
Best PreWar Closed Car

Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, 1990
BEST OF SHOW
First In Class

Recognitions

Musée des Arts Décoratifs, 2011
The Art of the Automobile

Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2005
Speed, Style & Beauty Exhibit

Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, 2003
Bugatti Anniversary Display

Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, 2000
Best of Show Retrospective

Cleveland Museum of Art, 1999
Bugatti Family Exhibit

Classic & Sports Car Magazine, 1997
Voted World's Most Beautiful Car

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 1995
Moving Beauty Exhibit

Concours Automobile Classiques: Bagatelle, 1991
Guest Exhibitor

Articles

Ivar Engerud, “Verdens Fineste?”
Right On, January 2004 [Norway]

Ralph Lauren, “Living the American Dream”
Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance: Celebrating Fifty Years of Automotive Style, 2000

Jed Rapoport, “1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Coupe”
Car Collector, October 1994

David E. Davis Jr., “Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Coupe”, photography by Martyn Goddard, Al Satterwhite
Automobile Magazine, August 1991

Paul Russell, “Restoring the Atlantic Coupe”
Automobile Magazine, August 1991

Ray A. March, “A Bugatti's Odyssey”
Robb Report, May 1991

The T57SC Atlantic 57591 Restoration

rPortfolio/bugatti/38_atlantic

Click image to start/stop slide show.

We're very sensitive to the history and authenticity of a car, and we do not want it to suffer from any 'restoration damage' by erasing history. So we scrutinized similar cars and examined a wide range of Bugattis from the same era. We also did a great deal of research, aided by the Bugatti Trust among others. The detective work continued during the entire two years and 9600 worker-hours it eventually took to complete the restoration.

Paul Russell, “Restoring the Atlantic Coupe”, Automobile Magazine