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February 29 - March 1, 2024 Gooding & Company Amelia Island Auctions USA

  • 1925 Bugatti Type 35C Grand Prix, Chassis 4634
    From the Peter Mullin collection
  • 1931 Bugatti Type 49 Coachwork by Gangloff, Chassis 49377, Engine 305
    From the Peter Mullin collection

  • 1938 Bugatti Type 57C Stelvio, Coachwork by Gangloff Chassis 57606/57699, Engine 499
  • 1938 Bugatti Type 57C Atalante
    Chassis no. 57767 Engine no. 62C

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March 1, 2024 Broad Arrow Auctions The Amelia Auction 2024 USA

  • 1929 Bugatti Type 46 Cabriolet, Chassis No. 46524, Estimate: $850,000 - $1,200,000

Having proven his cars on both the road and track, by the end of the 1920s Ettore Bugatti would introduce a new road car to fill the gap between his Type 44 and gargantuan Type 41 Royale. Introduced in 1929, the new Bugatti Type 46 would feature a 5.4-liter single overhead-camshaft straight-eight engine that slotted perfectly within the Bugatti lineup of fast and exciting touring cars. Attracting the attention of some of the finest coachbuilders of the era, bodies would vary based on customer preference from formal and stately Saloons to more sporting open-top Cabriolet models. Enticing many buyers, Bugatti would sell around 462 examples of the Type 46 to those who were drawn to the latest creation from one of the world's most highly revered automakers.

Benefitting greatly from its proximity to the Type 41 Royale, the Type 46 was able to share many developments with its stablemate resulting in the affectionate nickname of “La Petite Royale.” Beginning with the straight-eight engine, effectively a short-stroke version of the 12.75-liter engine found in the Royale, the Type 46 would also utilize axles, brakes, and a rear-mounted transmission found in the Type 41 Royale, of which only six models were produced. Gathering the attention of many, period magazine reviews from The Motor would describe the Type 46 as "A really solidly built, beautifully sprung, comfortable saloon car with exceptionally rapid acceleration through its speed range… It combines the luxury of a large limousine, the flexibility and top gear performance of a thoroughbred town carriage with the perfect road holding, the speed and acceleration of the best type of sports model."

Ordered new by Swiss Bugatti agent Bucar of Zurich, this 1929 Bugatti Type 46 Cabriolet, notably equipped with stunning alloy wheels and four-seat Gangloff Touriste cabriolet coachwork, is believed to have been sold new to Hans Lindt of Stockholm, Sweden. Once ready for delivery, Barrie Price's book Bugatti Type 46 & 50 would note that Mr. Lindt would collect his new Type 46 and soon begin his 1,500 kilometer journey back home to Stockholm in his new Bugatti. Following ownership by Mr. Lindt, chassis number 46524 was purchased by fashion boutique owner and well-known Bugatti connoisseur René Chatard.

Under ownership with Chatard around the mid-1930s, the body was likely separated from the chassis and fitted with blackout lights and rudimentary seats, a measure likely performed to disguise the car from occupying forces during World War II. Records also indicate that in 1940, following an aborted experiment to convert this example with a “gazogene” unit to run the car on wood fumes in place of gasoline, it was parked for storage. Following an unfortunate incident in which Chatard and his companion were killed in 1955 following a train strike in another of his special Bugatti's, a Type 57 Atlantic, Chantard's widow would later sell chassis number 46524 and six other cars to famed Bugatti collector Jean De Dobbeleer.

Soon sold as a running chassis with a radiator, hood, and cowl to Bob Estes and Otto Zipper of Precision Motor Cars in California, 46524 was then purchased by the famed Harrah collection in Reno, Nevada as it was acquired by De Dobbeleer in 1956. Remaining in the Harrah collection for a number of years, chassis number 46524 was then purchased at the Harrah auction in 1973 by Ed Morgan and his son.

Avid restorers and collectors, the Morgans would leave this example as found for a number of years while plotting the best course of action. During their extensive research, it was discovered by the Morgans that in addition to the Weinberger-bodied Type 41 Royale Cabriolet commissioned by Dr. Joseph Fuchs, a similar Type 46 was also ordered. Inspired by this discovery, a trip was planned to the home of the Weinberger Royale which now resides at The Henry Ford Museum to measure and photograph their example. Using the information collected about the the Weinberger Royale, numerous drawings, measurements, and templates were contemplated before a final design was settled and in 1992, 46524 was handed over to Monty and Greg Montiller to receive its new coachwork.

Completed in 1998, chassis number 46523 would emerge after receiving new coachwork and a full chassis and mechanical restoration in the Morgans' personal restoration shop. Finished in a beautiful two-tone green, the upholstery work was completed by Ken Niminek in a complementary two-tone green and tan leather. Riding on a 140-inch wheelbase chassis, the stunning coachwork featured sweeping Jean Bugatti-style wing fenders forming one continuous line running from the front to the rear of the car. Paired with Royale-style 20-inch alloy wheels, a contrasting tan canvas top, an upholstered rear-mounted trunk, and dual rear-mounted spare wheel, the newly restored Type 46 exudes a graceful appearance and debuted with a richly deserved First in Class at the 1998 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

Following the initial showing, the Morgans would continue to show their newly completed Type 46, winning Best in Show at the 2000 Hillsborough Concours and Most Elegant Open Car at the 2003 Palo Alto Concours. Emerging from concours events, 46523 would continue to prove its merit while the Morgans participated in the three-day Bugatti West Coast Rally in August of 2003. A prized member of the Morgan Collection, this Type 46 was acquired in 2017 by The Gregorie Neck Collection where it has regularly been described as the crown jewel.

Currently displaying just 511 kilometers at the time of cataloging, there has been minimal road-use of this example following the concours winning restoration. Finished in a stunning exterior with finely detailed brightwork, this Type 46 may very well be the perfect fit for the collector searching for an example with extraordinary history and stunning design.

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March 9, 2024 RM Sotheby's Dubai Auction

1935 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Recreation by Erik Koux
Chassis "57302", Estimate: $700,000 - $900,000

  • An expertly moulded recreation of the impossibly beautiful Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic ‘La Voiture Noire’
  • Transformed by Erik Koux for a Dutch collector with work completed in 1992; registered in the Netherlands before being taken to the Middle East in 2008
  • Based on the identity of a Type 57 Galibier; now features an engine built to Type 57SC specifications using some original parts
  • All-aluminium bodywork painstakingly crafted by hand
  • Please note this car is offered with a UAE Vehicle Registration. Please also note the car is titled as 1950.

The rarest interpretation of the Type 57S by Bugatti was the famous Atlantic Coupé. Featuring an exotic, streamlined body which borrowed heavily from contemporary aeroplane construction methods of the era, this design was a true highlight of pre-war engineering and aesthetics. The Atlantic Coupé is undoubtedly Bugatti’s most revered, legendary, and valuable model created in its esteemed history. Only three examples were made, meaning that this fascinating Atlantic Coupé Recreation by Erik Koux is as close as most Bugatti aficionados might get to the real thing.

In 1973, the Bugatti enthusiast and mechanical engineer Erik Koux began his ambitious goal of producing exacting recreations of the marque’s most esteemed models. Already well-versed in the European circuit of Bugatti collectors, historians, and restorers, the network built by Koux provided his budding project with a unique perspective. In the end, his efforts proved a tremendous success; today, his creations are hailed by the Bugatti community for their fastidious attention to detail, uncompromising build quality, and transparency, and they have been found in notable collections—including that of consummate enthusiast Jay Leno.

As noted in a review of Koux’s recreations for an August 2009 issue of The Bugatti Revue, 'They are not mere look-alikes, they all have a significant amount of original Bugatti parts in them. The rest is precisely remanufactured duplicates. Type 57 engines converted to dry sump, and double oil pumps, power all but two of them ... donor Bugatti provide parts and titles, and yet there is no intent to deceive. The original Atlantics and the Koux recreations are so few, and so well known, that there can be no suggestion of passing one off as the other.' At any rate, Koux’s incredible methods of replication are detailed in explicit detail by multiple enthusiast publications.

The Type 57SC Atlantic Recreation, offered here, is documented to have been built by Bugatti as a Type 57 Galibier chassis, which then gained coachwork by Vanvooren. It is believed that, as a new car, it was shown at the 1935 Prague Salon. While little is known from then until its adaptation by Koux, the chassis registry within Bugatti Magnum by Hugh Conway suggests that by 1989 its chassis number “57302” was recorded in the United States.

Shortly after that, Koux’s great work began. The project was commissioned by a Dutch collector residing in Maastricht, and the Recreation was completed in 1992. Taking the usable underpinnings of the original car and manufacturing a new Type 57S chassis, also bearing the number “57302”, the Atlantic Recreation began to take shape. Its distinctive black bodywork hints at the visual cues of the car it pays homage to, while the central dorsal seam, impressive swooping front and rear wheel arches, and signature horseshoe grille reinforce the car’s standing as a faithful recreation of the Type 57SC Atlantic. After being prepared by Koux, the Bugatti was subsequently registered for the road in the Netherlands, remaining with the same owner until it was exported to the Middle East in 2008.

The extract from the aforementioned issue of The Bugatti Revue sheds light on the recreation’s early years, after being completed by Koux and enjoyed by its Dutch owner: ‘He sold it only because the bumpy roads in the Netherlands repeatedly damaged the exhaust, requiring several very costly replacements. Besides the "wonderful sound" of the supercharged engine, "it drove like a modern car, steering light, brakes strong and lots of power. I must have driven it more than 40,000 km, more than any other Atlantic owner. Wherever it went it attracted large groups of people. Sometimes I was asked if I were Mr. Ralph Lauren, and of course I said I was.’

This Atlantic Recreation by Erik Koux is a fascinating tribute to what many consider to be the most extraordinary car of all time. It would be an inspired acquisition for any serious collector of the marque who wishes to experience the thrill of this legendary model, while lessening the element of fear and risk that could come with driving the real thing. No doubt it would be equally welcome at concours events and shows as the car it was built to replicate.

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January 31 - February 4, 2024 Retromobile Paris, France

Though the poster shows an MG, of course there will be a lot of Bugatti's at Retromobile, as practically every year. For many, it's the start of the season.

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February 2 - 3, 2024 Artcurial Retromobile Auction Paris, France

  • "1925" Bugatti T35 Grand Prix by Gilles Fournier, Chassis n° 4467
    Estimate € 300,000 - 500,000, No reserve
  • 1929 Bugatti T40 Roadster Gangloff, Chassis n° 40488, Engine n° 387
    Estimate € 350,000 - 450,000
  • 1930 Bugatti T40 Grand Sport, Chassis n° 681 / 40655
    Estimate € 160,000 - 240,000 €
  • 1934 Bugatti T57 Galibier, Chassis n° 57140, Engine n° 35, Carrosserie Galibier n°18
    Estimate €250,000 - 350,000, No reserve
  • 1936 Bugatti T57 Stelvio Gangloff, Chassis n° 57395, Engine n° 275
    Estimate € 600,000 - 800,000


"1925" Bugatti T35 Grand Prix by Gilles Fournier, Chassis n° 4467

  • Magnificent quality of execution
  • Numerous original parts
  • Sold for the benefit of the France Parkinson association
"Track record between the 24th January 1926 to the 19th September 1926 - 503 wins - Over 2 victories per day - 351 First Prizes - 47 Records" are the words written in the Bugatti catalogue in 1926! This enlightening list of achievements, which was expected to increase significantly in years to come, was largely due to what many considered to be THE masterpiece of Ettore Bugatti: the Type 35. Its first official appearance was on the 3rd August 1924 during the Lyon Grand Prix and even if the results were not instantly there, the essential part was there: a narrow horseshoe radiator in the extension of which you can find a profiled bodywork finished with a Bordino tip, gorgeous cast aluminium rims integrating the brake drums and a brilliant 8-cylinder in-line 2L engine derived from the Type 30. The overall quality of execution is simply incredible, the car is stable and fast and it didn't take long to establish itself worldwide.

The 35 evolved in accordance with regulations, seeing its cylinder capacity in-crease (35T-2,300 cc) and its power increase thanks to the fitting of a compres-sor (35 B and 35 C). These developments also led to some discreet aesthetic modifications such as a more enhanced radiator. That being said, the 35 "Grand Prix de Lyon" remains the first milestone in this exceptional history and still has a special place in the hearts of enthusiasts. It was also the case for Gilles Four-nier, renowned expert on the Amilcar brand, author of many reference publica-tions, whose passion for pre-war racing cars (and the Bugatti brand in particular) had led him to start looking for Bugatti 35 parts from the early 1980s, with the aim of building a Grand Prix as similar as possible to the original. In the early 2000s, he was joined by a friend, Emmanuel Cognet, who also wanted to build a 35.

Both friends will then commit themselves to this objective with an extremely me-ticulous approach. They carried out numerous trips to see authentic cars, pro-ducing as many parts as possible with the help of old factory blueprints, while those from other sources were systematically discarded.

The chassis and engine's build were entrusted to the excellent Laurent Rondini who made a 2.3L engine powered by two Solex 40 carburettors. Once the rolling chassis was completed, the bodywork was created at the same time of its sis-ter's one at Jean-Luc Bonnefoy in Orval, where Gilles Fournier met E. Cognet every Wednesday to work together on both cars. Numerous pictures show the chassis being assembled.

The twin Bugatti cars were completed in 2005 and instantly took part in a rally of more than 1,500 km, with no mishaps. The historian Pierre Yves Laugier told us that he went hunting for a Bugatti aboard this 35, on a cold November 1st along-side its owner. After a few back and forth to the village in-between walls where you could hear the 8-cylinder engine resonate, the owner of the Bugatti they were looking for appeared and accepted to show them his car.

18 years later, the inspection on Gilles Fournier's car demonstrates the quality of works carried out, unanimously recognised in the circle of Bugattists, profes-sionals included. Thanks to the amount of kilometres covered but also to original parts that were fitted, the patina on this particular car can only be described as an exceptional achievement. A list of original parts of that time had been drawn up by its owner: radiator (which came from Germain Lambert) and its cap, front axle and bearings, steering gear, steering wheel, water pump, carburettors, gearbox housing No 157, axle housing (other source) 13x54 No 105, helical feed system, Bosch magneto, instruments on the dashboard, hand air pump and vari-ous small parts. Administratively, the car has a type 30A collector's registration, chassis 4467. At the time, type 30A was used as the administrative designation for the type 35 in 1924 / 1925.

It was with undisguised pleasure that we went behind the wheel of this Bugatti, after carrying out our usual checks with Frederic Novo. With the exception of the starter which will need to be checked, absolutely everything is in working order and the car is very pleasant to drive. The power and sound of this 8-cylinder en-gine makes you want to keep going forever and take the road to the next Grand Prix.
Following the wishes of Gilles Fournier, this masterpiece will be sold for the benefit of the France Parkinson association.

France Parkinson is the only national association supporting patients and carers affected by Parkinson's disease. France Parkinson is primarily financed by do-nations and legacies and we would like to express our deep gratitude to Gilles Fournier's family, whose generosity will contribute to the achievements of our social and research missions.


1929 Bugatti T40 Roadster Gangloff, Chassis n° 40488, Engine n° 387

  • Original chassis, engine and body
  • Very low number of owners, known history
  • High-quality restoration

This Bugatti Type 40 is remarkable in many ways: for its exceptionally well-preserved condition and its extremely clear history.
That history began in June 1927, when its chassis, no. 40488, equipped with engine no. 387, was assembled at the Bugatti works, at the same time as the chassis with engine nos. 377-401. The chassis was then delivered on 20 August 1928 to the coachbuilder Gangloff in Colmar; the invoice from the factory dated 27 July 1928 also covered chassis nos. 40612, 40563 and 40567. The invoice mentioned a price of 40,000 francs, higher than the 31,000 francs for a standard Type 40. These four Type 40 chassis included the reference "sp mod pr special", which may have meant "special modification, special price".

The factory delivery booklet is marked in pencil with the letter 'W', corresponding to 'Wiederkehr', the name of Gangloff's previous owner. As of 19 August 1928, the same booklet indicates that these chassis were to be supplied to 'W', i.e. Gangloff. Gangloff then fitted the Type 40 which concerns us here with an attractive roadster body with a spider tail, before it was delivered to Stand Auto in Paris, an official Bugatti agent run by Robert Sénéchal and Jean Bilovucic, with its head office at 182 boulevard Pereire and a showroom in the Galerie des Portières at 144-146 avenue des Champs-Elysées. The Type 40 doubtless remained there for a few months before it was sold to a customer from south-west France.

On 3 September 1929, it was officially registered for the first time, as 3898-JV (corresponding to the Lot-et-Garonne department), in the name of Jean Joseph René Marc Dupont. Born on 20 March 1893 at Marmande and married twice (in 1920 and 1946), Dupont began his studies in medicine in 1913. Appointed an assistant physician during the First World War, he qualified in 1920; he also had a diploma as a pharmacist and in 1924 opened his own clinic. A chief physician in the Second World War, he was taken prisoner in 1940 and was made a Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur the same year. Actively involved in his town, he became a town councillor in 1937, and again in 1949 and 1950. A street in Marmande is named after him.
To come back to the Bugatti 40, with the new registration system which came into effect in 1950, it was given the number 86 X 47, still in the Lot-et-Garonne and possibly still in the name of Marc Dupont.

Two years later, around 1952, it was sold to Roger Berthaud, who lived in Les Essards, a village of fewer than 200 inhabitants in Charente. The recollection of the family is that the car was bought in Bordeaux, which may suggest that it was sold through a garage.

Roger Berthaud was a close friend of André Bouchard, Bugatti's sales representative for the Dordogne region. They regularly went on trips together in their Bugattis, and Bouchard looked after the maintenance of Berthaud's cars, a Type 44 and then a Type 40. The Berthaud family owned the grocery and tobacconist's in the village, of which Berthaud was mayor for several years. His first Bugatti was a Type 44 Vanvooren saloon, which he bought in July 1937 and kept until 1960, when it was sold to L. Mette and then, in 1962, to F. Lecorché in Clermont-Ferrand.

In 1952, Berthaud gave the Type 40 to his daughter Marguerite, who was then 25. According to her husband, Michel Maignan, Berthaud originally bought the Type 40 specially for his daughter, as at the time he used the roomier Type 44.
Registered as 507 AT 16, the Type 40 can be seen in a photograph in front of the Framezelle Bugatti garage in Paris, and also at Les Essards, with François Berthaud, a sculptor and Marguerite's brother, sitting in the back. During its time with Marguerite, whose training as a graphic designer enabled her to join the magazine Elle, the Type 40 was registered 533 HZY 75 at her Paris home at 22 rue Pernety in the 16th arrondissement. She used it regularly until 1986, in particular to go on holiday in the south of France. In 2011, Marguerite and her husband realised that the car needed a thorough restoration and decided to sell it. It was bought on 14 November 2011 by Bruno Vendiesse and at the time was red with grey wheels. Vendiesse sold it shortly afterwards to the Belgian collector Bernard Marreyt, from whom its current owner bought it.

Today, the car has its original chassis and engine, as well as its original body, which has been restored in dark green, respecting the car's integrity. The complete high-quality restoration was carried out by Gubso Garage in Denmark, a specialist Bugatti restorer. The interior is dominated by the magnificent four-spoke steering wheel with a wooden rim and the dashboard is complete with all its instruments, mounted on a metal plate on a wooden panel. Under the bonnet, the engine compartment displays the mechanical beauty typical of Bugattis.

The car has its original plate from Stand Auto, as well as that from Gangloff. It should be noted that it is the only known survivor of this roadster body produced by Gangloff.

This Type 40 is remarkable for its exceptionally well-preserved condition, its rare and appealing body, its original parts and its very low number of owners, listed in a well-documented history drawn up by the historian Pierre-Yves Laugier, making it one of the most desirable examples still in existence.


1930 Bugatti T40 Grand Sport, Chassis n° 681 / 40655

  • Built to a high standard
  • Numerous original parts
  • Reliability improved to cover long distances

At the start of the 1960s, a collector from the south of France was able to buy a collection of parts for a Bugatti Type 40 from the brother of the famous racing driver Charles Martin: they included a chassis, some of the running gear, an in-complete engine, gearbox and various other original parts. They were exchanged untouched a few years later, then sold to a well-known collector from Avignon around 1976. As he confirmed to us, he set about rebuilding the car with great care, making provision to fit a supercharger when the engine was re-stored, although this was never actually done. The splendid complete car moved on to another collector from Avignon, who registered it in 1998, and then, in 2005, it was bought by Bernard Hunault. He took part in numerous rallies with it, adding an electric fan to cope with modern traffic. As he wanted to drive the car over long distances and reduce the engine speed, he ordered an overdrive from the Bugatti specialist Ivan Dutton in April 2007. This equipment was adapted mechanically to fit, but still needs to be connected up, which in no way prevents the car from being driven. A detailed examination of the car shows the following: the chassis is genuine, with the frame number 681, which must belong to a car with a number above 40750, built around spring 1929. The lower part of the crankcase is also genuine and has been restamped with the number 40655, although an older stamping, which appears to be 4044?, can be made out beneath it. The gearbox cover is genuine and numbered 538; the gearbox housing ap-pears to be from the period but has been restamped later with the same number 538. There is no number on the axle housing. The identification number 40655 found on a manufacturer's plate and the registration document correspond to a Type 40 delivered in Grenoble on 30 May 1930.

This Type 40 to Grand Sport specification is therefore a rebuild, produced to a high standard, partly using genuine components. Attractively presented and with the patina of the miles it has covered, it has been maintained to be driven, and the hood was restored two years ago. With its particularly sporty appearance and an added touch of elegance thanks to the colour of its paintwork, this Type 40 is sure to appeal to enthusiasts keen to enter the Bugatti world.


1934 Bugatti T57 Galibier, Chassis n° 57140, Engine n° 35, Carrosserie Galibier n°18

  • First-series Galibier saloon, built by the Bugatti works
  • Known history, low ownership
  • Remarkably well-preserved condition, original engine and body

The origins of the model
In 1932, aged 23, Jean Bugatti found himself on his own managing the Bugatti factory with Méo Costantini, as his father was now living permanently in Paris. They spoke regularly on the phone and in a letter at the start of 1932, Jean told him of his desire to produce a model with independent front suspension. Ettore categorically refused, but this did not stop Jean from going ahead with his plan. The design for a chassis with independent suspension and a 3.3m wheelbase was recorded as "Design no. 37, type 57" and dated 15 July 1932.

The drawing for the four-door Galibier body on this chassis, numbered 1056, was signed by Joseph Walter and dated 18 August 1932. The side view shows a saloon with a swept-back radiator grille and alloy wheels. The two prototypes with independent front suspension The body was fitted to the Type 57 Galibier saloon with engine 2 in mid-February 1933, while the Type 57 chassis with engine 1 only left the workshop on 30 June 1933. These two prototypes had independent front suspension and alloy wheels with a central nut, as on the Type 50T, their exact contemporary.

The only existing photograph of one of these two cars is reproduced in the book Bugatti Magnum by Conway and Sauzay, and was taken at the Grand Prix de Berne in July 1934. It had a registration plate of convenience, that of the first Type 44, which was assigned to the Type 57 with engine 1. The two cars were still at the factory, as can be seen from a note dated 7 May 1936, stating: "Type 57 engines 1 and 2, saloons, independent front suspension ... to be stripped down". One of the two cars was given the code name 'Crème de menthe' by the Aumaitre J. Bugatti Costantini team, in order to avoid arousing suspicions in conversations.

In September 1937, just before the Paris Motor Show, and after covering more than 250,000km in five years, its timing chain snapped, shattering the valves, pistons and casings. It ended up on the scrapheap. The other car was certainly broken up before this. This marked the end of the project, which had already come to nothing by the time the Type 57 was officially presented at the Grand Palais in October 1933. The solid rear axle demanded by Ettore Bugatti was fitted to the model as it went into production.

The first three Type 57 Galibier production saloons
The Galibier with engine 5 left the workshop on 3 October 1933, followed on 7 October by that with engine 4 and on 9 October by that with engine 6.
The Paris Motor Show opened on Thursday 5 October.
The saloon with engine 4 and the registration certificate for a Type 49 was hastily dispatched by road to the show on Saturday 7 October. The Galibier with engine 6 followed the same route with the registration certificate of another Type 49 on Tuesday 10 October. It may be assumed that the car exhibited at the show had engine 4, cleaned after its mad dash to Paris, as a major feature by Charles Faroux in the daily newspaper L'Auto dated 10 October shows a picture of the Galibier on display, which could not have been the model with engine 6, since that only left Molsheim that morning.

Bugatti only sorted out the registration documents on 16 November, when he requested three licence plates for chassis 57101-57103: 5263 NV 2 was assigned to chassis 57101 with engine 5 and 5265 NV 2 to chassis 57103 with engine 6. There is no written link between 5264 NV 2 for chassis 57102 and an engine/chassis. The grey and black Galibier saloon with engine 5 was used as a demonstrator by Toussaint until the spring of 1935, after it had been sent to the Brussels Motor Show in November 1934 and to the Amsterdam Show in February 1935.

Production of the Bugatti Galibier from 1933-1934
After the two prototype bodies in 1932 and the three pre-production models in October 1933, production of the Galibier bodies, referred to as "Conduite Intérieure" in the coachwork register, lasted just one year. In February 1934, five bodies were ready to be fitted to chassis.

Two of these were fitted in March, with the last three of these and another three in April, followed by six more bodies in May, four in June, six in July, seven in August and five in September, before the series came to an end in November with the Galibier for the Bishop of Strasbourg, Mgr. Ruch, and the old Galibier with engine no. 6, which received a new, larger body and a new engine on 30 November. Only 41 bodies were therefore produced between October 1933 and November 1934, and no other Galibiers would be built by the Bugatti factory until the aerodynamic aluminium-bodied model on the third-series Type 57 chassis, which was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in October 1938.

The survivors
Among the Type 57 saloons from 1933-1934, just ten cars have survived with their original Galibier bodies, and 57140 is undoubtedly the only, and the last one to remain untouched for nearly 60 years. Conceived in 1932, this model led to Bugatti's only production family saloon with a twin-cam engine. Now extremely rare, it is of great historical importance and deserves our full attention.

In October 1933, Bugatti presented the Type 57, which, with its DOHC engine, was the only touring model in the range. The very first chassis of this type, built in October 1933, was fitted with a 'four-door Galibier Saloon' body to be exhibited at the Paris Motor Show that year. The car corresponded to design no. 1056, dated 18 August 1932, produced by the stylist Joseph Walter. From October 1933 to November 1934, the Bugatti works built only 41 'Galibier Saloons': the three prototypes from 1933, then 38 bodies produced between mid-March and the end of November 1934. Production then stopped until October 1938, when the second series of 'Galibier Saloons' left Bugatti's workshops. Between 1935 and 1938, some four-door saloons were built by Gangloff and Vanvooren, but none by Bugatti.

The archives compiled by the historian Pierre-Yves Laugier provide some valuable information regarding this Bugatti Galibier. The list of bodies from the Bugatti works shows that chassis 57140/engine 35 was fitted with the 18th Galibier body built; the wooden sections and aluminium body panels are, moreover, marked with the number 18. It was the first of four 'C-I' ('Conduite Intérieure') models to be fitted with bodies at Molsheim in June 1934. It was completed on 7 June, followed by the Galibier 57168/41 on 14 June, the Galibier 57144/44 on 23 June and the Galibier 57157/47 on 29 June, i.e. one Galibier body per week. In the works invoice ledger, 57140 appears on 1 June 1934 for the sum of 61,695 francs, billed to the 'Société Marseillaise', the business run by the Bugatti agent Gaston Descollas at 42 avenue du Prado in Marseille. The retail price of a Galibier was 76,000 francs in October 1933 and 79,800 francs in October 1934, leaving a generous profit margin of 14,000 francs for Descollas. The works shipment records state that car 57140 was sent by train to Marseille on 8 June 1934. The monthly delivery records show: "Marseillaise. 57140/35 C.I 8/6/34." The delivery records for June 1934 are even more precise: "8/6/34. 57140 - 1056 - Marseille Storione", where '1056' was the code corresponding to the Galibier body. This is the only document to give the name of the first owner, M. Storione, which is corroborated by the following Marseille police records: "Bugatti Type 57 chassis 57140, Conduite Intérieure. Registered new with the number 1034 CA 7 on 14 June 1934, in the name of Jean Storione,11 Rue Saint-Jacques, Marseille."

The Storione family was well known in Marseille. The son of Italian immigrants, Michel Storione (Jean's father) began working in 1883 at the Société des Minoteries de Marseille before setting up his own flour-milling business. This grew rapidly, making the family very comfortably off. The business remained a family concern and, incidentally, introduced at the start of the 1980s the 'Banette', a type of French baguette which met with considerable success. In 1987, the business was sold to the 'Champagne Céréales' group. Jean succeeded his father Michel in the business. A bachelor, he liked cars and had Delages before turning to Bugatti. His chauffeur, Marius Rey, took him to Mont Ventoux at weekends to watch the hill climbs. He bought all his Bugattis through Gaston Descollas and they were maintained by the Menonni garage in Marseille. Before acquiring the Type 57 Galibier, he used in turn a 16-valve model, a Type 44 'Torpedo', a Type 49 and a Type 55 roadster. After he sold the Galibier in January 1936, he bought a 57 Atalante and then a 57 C Gangloff cabriolet.

In the works service records, it is noted that on 20 October 1934, the engine no. 35 from the Galibier was sent to Molsheim with the following observations: "Overhaul of engine no. 35: the crankshaft, engine block and one con rod were broken. No. 1 piston seized. Adjustment required for con rods 4 and 78 ..."

On 24 January 1936, the Bugatti thus changed hands and was registered in the name of Gustave Cousin, a doctor in Marseille. The police records mention that a duplicate registration certificate was issued to Cousin on 16 October 1944, doubtless following the loss of the original document during the war. On 24 December 1954, the car was registered in the new system with the number 7983 AQ 13.

Antoine Raffaelli, a 'historic car hunter' (notably for the Schlumpf brothers) and the owner of a garage in Marseille, recalled the first time he saw this Galibier, when it was still owned by Dr Cousin: "I went to see the car at the Paraglo garage at 268 boulevard Baille in Marseille, around 1960. The car was being serviced for Cousin and the mechanic was in the process of making some special brake linings to improve their performance. He had also changed the camshaft covers so that the engine looked more like that of an Alfa 8C! The car was black, with blue side panels. Dr Cousin was a friend of the pharmacist M. Alloud, who owned the Renault garage I have managed since 1960."

The Galibier remained in Cousin's ownership for 30 years, from 1936-1966. On 29 November 1966, it was sold to Jean Brignone, a 'film agent' who also lived in Marseille, and who sold it the following year to Antoine Raffaelli. On the back of a photograph showing the car in front of Raffaelli's garage, it is noted that it belonged to Rodolph Brignone, no doubt Jean's brother. The doctor's insignia in the form of a staff can be clearly seen to the left of the windscreen.

In spring 1967, Raffaelli sold the Galibier to Daniel Guidot, an architect living in Le Pecq (in the western suburbs of Paris), who registered it as 71 GU 78 on 17 March 1967. A member of the Bugatti Club de France (founded in 1966), Guidot also owned a Type 46 Vanvooren 'Coach' and a Type 35 A. Around 1974, he sold the Galibier to another member of the Bugatti club, Jean Vilette, whose home address was in Paris but who worked for the mines at Hettange-Grande in Lorraine, not far from the German border. This is probably why the car later showed up in Germany, and in 1989 the German Bugatti club recorded the Galibier no. 57140 as belonging to Walter Metz from Moodbrunn. It was subsequently bought by Feierabend Klassik Technik and offered for sale at the Essen Motor Show in November 2007. It was sold there to Roland d'Ieteren, the Belgian collector and owner of the restoration business Auto Classique Touraine, based outside Tours. The Galibier was intended to be used as the basis for a project to build a Type 57 S, commissioned by Jean-Jacques Strubb. It remained untouched, however, and when Strubb died in April 2010 at the wheel of his Bugatti 51, the Galibier lay forgotten at the back of the workshop.

Around 2013, it was offered to a true Bugatti (and Ferrari) enthusiast from near Le Puy-en-Velay, José Piger. He was well acquainted with Bugatti ,as his father had bought a 57 Ventoux 'Coach' in 1946, while he himself had owned, among other models, a Type 55 roadster and a Type 37 A. Won over by the Galibier, he bought it from Auto Classique Touraine and undoubtedly saved it from being converted. After a few years, he in turn sold the car to its current owner.

Today, the car is very well preserved and has been practically untouched since the 1960s, a fact accounted for by its low number of owners, one of whom (Dr Cousin) kept it for 30 years. The body is that of a four-door Galibier built by Bugatti, and the car has its original seats and interior. The dashboard is also original, with its Jaeger instruments with black dials. An enamelled badge has the wording 'Deutscher Jagdschutz Verbrand', a hunters' association of which Herr Metz was most likely a member.

Some of the aluminium body panels, including the bonnet, are stamped with the number 18, corroborating the factory coachwork register mentioned above. The dashboard has the original chassis plate with the reference "57140 Bas-Rhin 19 CV", while the left-hand engine mount bears the factory stamp "35-57140". The camshaft covers are those modified in 1960 by Paraglo in Marseille. Apart from this, no changes to the car's original specification can be seen.

Among the 41 first-series Galibier bodies built by the Bugatti works between October 1933 and November 1934, fewer than a dozen have survived. This Galibier 57140/35, whose history is fully documented by the historian Pierre-Yves Laugier is one of the best preserved examples of all the cars with this initial design, the first produced by the stylist Joseph Walter for the new Type 57 chassis.


1936 Bugatti T57 Stelvio Gangloff, Chassis n° 57395, Engine n° 275

  • Superb, rare design by Gangloff
  • Long and well-documented history
  • Extensive recent work

This most attractive cabriolet has an interesting history which deserves to be told, traced by historians P. Y. Laugier et K. Jansen. It began in January 1936, when the Type 57 chassis fitted with engine numbers 273-283 were assembled at the factory. On 28 February 1936, chassis 57935/engine 275, which concerns us here, was sent by road to the coachbuilder Gangloff in Colmar.

As Bugatti's sales records for February 1936 confirm, it was ordered by the Bugatti agent in Toulouse, Ets Leyda, on behalf of its customer, José Soler-Puig. The agent was invoiced for 46,630 francs. Another Type 57 cabriolet was sent to Gangloff for another of Leyda's customers: chassis 57403, which is now kept at the Schlumpf museum in Mulhouse. With their identical mouldings and side styling, the two bodies were produced at the same time and assigned the build numbers 228 for chassis 57935 and 231 for chassis 57403, which went into the body shop a week later.

Gangloff took a month or so to produce the body. Soler-Puig's car was registered new on 31 March 1936 with the number 2499 FS 4, in the name of his company, the 'Société de Tricotages de l'Ariège et Bonneterie de la Garonne réunis'.

A Spanish immigrant who arrived in France in 1915, Soler-Puig gradually built up a small textile empire in south-west France. A lover of fine cars, he had owned two Renault 40 CVs, two Hispano-Suizas (H6B and H6C), a Bugatti Type 46 cabriolet, a 5-litre Bugatti which drew attention on Vanvooren's stand in 1933, and an Alfa Romeo 1750 bought for his son's 18th birthday ... Sadly, Soler-Puig was scarcely able to enjoy his Gangloff cabriolet as he died on 3 July 1936 after a short illness. His wife, son and daughter continued to run the business, but parted with the Type 57, which was sold in Paris and re-registered as 7924 RL 1.

At the start of the 1990s, the historian Pierre-Yves Laugier met the daughter of Fernande Roux, Maurice Mestivier's former partner. In her parents' archives was a photograph of the Bugatti in Paris around 1938, with its RL 1 registration. At this time, it had duotone paintwork, whereas it had originally been dark blue. It was also fitted with running boards, which were no longer present in a photo taken in Brussels around 1956. The person who can be seen in the photograph from Paris appears not to be Mestivier, the supposed owner of the Bugatti in 1937-38, who was working for Amilcar at the time.

The handsome Gangloff cabriolet remained in Paris during the war and escaped being requisitioned. A second, unknown Parisian owner registered the car in his name on 5 June 1945, before it left for Lyon to be consigned to a garage where it was discovered by Pierre Cros, who was originally from Bergerac. A Bugatti enthusiast, he bought it on 12 December 1945 and registered it as 6006 EG 4. Cros lived at the Château de Panisseau, which belonged to his father-in-law Noël Quennesson, a businessman and politician. He had the Bugatti maintained either by Charles de Cortanze's garage in Paris, or by Ernest Friderich in Nice, where he sometimes stayed. It was to Friderich that he sold 57935 in April 1948, when he bought another Type 57 from de Cortanze, this time a 1937 model with 'coach' bodywork by Gangloff, which he kept until 1953.

As for the cabriolet, which had arrived at Friderich's garage on the Côte d'Azur in 1948, it turned up again at the end of the year in Wallonia, in the hands of the Belgian architect Georges Dedoyard, who lived in Liège. In the January 1949 issue of Bugantics, the Bugatti Owners' Club magazine, the caption of a photo showing him next to his Type 49 cabriolet states that he also owned a Type 57. Dedoyard was a prominent architect and town planner at the time, and a key figure in the modernist movement.

It was apparently during his ownership of the car that its engine was replaced by a Type 101, re-numbered 57395/275, and that the front axle was changed in 1952 for an unnumbered Type 57 S component. In 1956, the Gangloff cabriolet was sold to the garage in Brussels run by Jean de Dobbeleer, who registered it as 11879 before it was exported to the USA, to Julian Sano, a Bugatti mechanic in New Jersey. A note from de Dobbeleer states: "Bought in Belgium, sold to Sano. Type 101 engine except for manifolds".

It next belonged to a Mr Becker, and then, from 1962, to Henry Schafer from Princeton (New Jersey). Schafer kept the car for 44 years and took part with it in many rallies on the East Coast of the States. He had the car completely restored, after which it was sold to Gene Cesari in 2006 and then to Evan McMullen of Cosmopolitan Motors.

It is thanks to its current owner, a Bugatti connoisseur and collector, that 57935 returned to this side of the Atlantic. He carried out a restoration of the car which was completed in 2023. The bodywork was stripped bare to return it to its original shade of dark blue, which sets off its elongated design with sweeping rear wings, the ends of which are elegantly set apart from the body. The hood was also restored. The engine was serviced and runs perfectly. Its Type 101 sumps would, if needed, allow a supercharger to be fitted, improving its already excellent performance. The gear wheels and gearbox bearings were replaced as necessary. All the car's equipment was checked, the brakes overhauled and the tyres replaced. This noble motorcar with its enthralling sound will delight its new owner as he successfully competes in the most prestigious concours d'élégance, takes part in the greatest rallies and drives along the most beautiful roads.

Lots from outside the EU: In addition to the commissions and taxes indicated above, an additional import VAT will be charged (5,5% of the hammer price for vintage/classic cars, 20% newer/modern motorcars plus potentially a 10% customs duty).

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Bugatti & Iris

by Tom Hale


January 11-14, 2024 Interclassics Maastricht, the Netherlands

The first classic car show of the year.

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January 25, 2024 Bonhams' the Scottsdale auction USA

  • 1936 Bugatti Type 57 Atalante Sunroof Coupe
    Chassis no. 57432, Engine no. 547, Estimate: US$1,500,000 - US$1,800,000

  • One of only four surviving factory-built roll-top sunroof cars
  • Delivered new in Marseille to jeweler Charles Olivero
  • Participated in the 1938 Rallye des Alpes
  • Captivating ownership history with a cast of fascinating characters
  • Detailed provenance compiled by leading marque historians

THE BUGATTI TYPE 57
When Bugatti's spectacular Type 57 debuted in 1934, few suspected it would be the final all-French design from the marque. The firm's patriarchal leader Ettore Bugatti was occupied with designing petrol-powered rail cars at the behest of the French government, so he charged his son Jean – just 23 years old at the time – with the task of designing the latest high-performance Gran Routier. Jean, with senior engineers Pichetto and Domboy were responsible for the car's specification from the ground up – including the chassis, engine, and even the factory body designs.

At the Type 57's heart was a new twin-cam, inline eight-cylinder engine displacing 3,245cc. The architecture was familiar, though the block (with integrated head) and crankcase were new. Camshaft bevel gears offered improved refinement to the previous straight-cut style, and in standard form, the new engine produced a highly respectable 135bhp in standard form. While not officially a competition car, it shared its fundamental engine design with the Type 59 Grand Prix car, and T57s were popular with rallyists. The chassis featured Bugatti's proven solid front axle suspension that guided all previous models to countless motorsport victories, though tuned for fast, luxurious touring. Jean Bugatti masterfully penned four in-house body designs for the Type 57; the Galibier saloon, Ventoux four-passenger coupe, Stelvio four-seat cabriolet, and the Atalante two-seat coupe.

Not to be confused with the Atlantic Coupe with its famous rivets and spines, Jean Bugatti's gorgeous two-place coupe was named for Atalanta, the beautiful, fleet-footed Greek goddess. Based on a 3.3 m wheelbase, the Atalante carried factory design no. 1070, dated 20 January 1935, and it was the only Type 57 body built entirely in-house at Molsheim. The name "Faux Cabriolet" was given to the first cars built in April 1935, and it was only from chassis 57330, displayed in October 1935, that the Atalante name first appeared.

Officially the "Coupé Atalante 2/3-seater with sunroof," pricing was set at 90,000 francs in October 1935, rising to 108,000 francs in October 1937 for the aluminum version. In 1935 and 1936, production was as follows:
1935: Ten including seven with sunroof (chassis 57249, 57263, 57267, 57312, 57325, 57330 and 57333).
1936: Eight including three with sunroof (chassis 57401, 57428 and 57432).

Of the ten sunroof cars completed in 1935-1936, just three remain in their factory configuration and a fourth is undergoing restoration at the time of cataloguing, though others have been converted in more recent days. Our featured car, 57432, was the final model built in 1936 and is known to be the very last Atalante built with a sunroof.

THE CAR OFFERED
The Type 57 presented here in its striking original color scheme is chassis no. 57432, which left the Bugatti coachbuilders on 13 July 1936. This is one of the four known surviving sunroof cars, described in factory records as "Coupé Atalante 57432, black and ivory, tan leather." It was ordered by Gaston Descollas, the Bugatti agent in Marseille, whose showroom was located at 42 Cours du Prado. His client, a local jeweler named Charles Joseph Olivero (1906-1990), had inherited a successful jewelry business from his father, Charles Olivero in 1930. In May 1934, he acquired a second-hand Type 49 cabriolet, which he traded to Descollas at the end of July 1936 to buy the new Atalante. Olivero had every intention to enjoy his new Bugatti to the fullest, specifying it with hydraulic brakes and telescopic dampers. It is believed to be the first chassis so equipped, and these features later became standard on Series III cars.

Charles Olivero registered his fabulous new Bugatti on July 24, 1936, with the number 8357 CA 8. The Type 57 was certainly no garage queen and Charles enjoyed it to the fullest on numerous rallies. On the Rallye des Alpes from June 13-17, 1938, Charles shared navigation duties with his girlfriend Daisy – apparently Charles's wife hated fast cars, so she did not object to Daisy being on board. The pair were forced to retire on July 16 while on the Chamonix to Nice stage. He also ran the car in the Monte Carlo and Rome-Liege-Rome rallies with his brother Jean. In 1939, Olivero ordered a Type 57C Roadster from Gangloff, allegedly driving his Atalante 700km from Marseille to Colmar every Friday evening to monitor the progress of his new roadster. When his new 57C was finally completed, he sold the Atalante through a mechanic from Nîmes, Émile Reveiller, who registered it as 6008 FN 4 in his name at the address of his garage (1 rue de Général à Nîmes).

Very shortly after, 57432 was in the care of its new owner, the celebrated French aviator Léon Givon. This is supported by a letter from Givon written on Marignane Airbase letterhead dated July 9, 1939, stating: "I went to the Marseille agency to buy a 57 Atalante with a sunroof." Léon Givon registered the Bugatti on August 25, 1939, just ten days before the start of the war, with the number 7262 CB 1. During the war, given Givon's involvement in the Resistance, it is possible that the Bugatti was used in service, but the car disappeared until 1948 when it resurfaced in Luxembourg.

In June 1948, 57432 was acquired by the serial "Bugattist" Rudi Cloos who oversaw its first restoration. Rudi wanted a "new" Type 57, so he acquired one of the so-called "Bordeaux Orphan" rolling chassis from the factory, removed the original engine no. 315, and fitted engine no. 547 and an un-numbered new gearbox to this chassis. Between June 1948 and April 1949, the Atalante was sent to the coachbuilder Jos Metz and modified with a metal-roof and Ventoux windshield. Luxembourg Registration documents listed the new engine number (547), and subsequently the car was erroneously identified as "57547." (It should be noted that chassis 57547 is an original 1937 Ventoux with no connection to this Atalante offered). As offered today, the lower crankcase bears no. 315 while the remainder of the engine is number 547 as fitted during Cloos's tenure.

Cloos sold the car in November 1950 to his Belgian friend, Albert Jean de Lay, from Liège, living in Luxembourg. He took the Bugatti to the Belgian Congo (DRC today) where he worked as an architect for the Belgian government. In 1963, a civil war forced the de Lay family to flee to Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) as rebels advanced. They threw together what they could, and de Lay was forced to choose between his Bugatti (suffering ignition issues at the time) or his brand-new MG. He chose the Bugatti which ran faultlessly to get his family to safety.

The same year, Rudi Cloos reacquired his Atalante, giving Jean de Lay the means to restart his life. Cloos and his fellow Bugatti cognoscenti were regulars at Gaston Greven's "Royal Bugatti" nightclub. Greven had a new Jaguar V12 that Cloos took a shine to, offering Greven part exchange on the Atalante. Greven obliged, later repainting it but keeping the registration L 4005. In 1974 he took part in the Rallye Monte-Carlo des Voitures Anciennes. The famously unscrupulous Bugatti dealer and enthusiast Lucien Mette managed to talk Greven out of his Atalante for a sum that Greven regretted for the rest of his life. Mette was sourcing cars for Maurice Teisserenc, a collector from the Domaine de Montplaisir, who took ownership on September 12, 1974.

By this time, 57432 required a mechanical restoration (the front axle had been bent during a rally), and the work was entrusted to Colin Crabbe of Antique Automobiles in Great Britain. The Bugatti was repainted in black and red, and the roof was modified again. Maurice Teisserenc used the car in the 1978 "100 Bugatti" meeting in Deauville, as well as many other Club Bugatti France rallies. After 14 years, he put it up for auction in Fontainebleu on May 24, 1988. The Atalante was bought by the collector Bernard Mérian, of Cannes, who had the means to finally restore the beautiful Atalante to its original configuration. To this end, he requested the help of the Bugatti expert Pierre Yves Laugier.

The first order of business was to sort its true identity. The discovery of the number 315 on the rear axle put the team on the trail of chassis 57432 and Mr. Olivero who amazingly, was still alive at the time! When contacted by phone, Mr. Olivero was surprised and delighted to recount the story of his beloved Bugatti. Moreover, he provided the historian Claude Taconetti with marvelous original photos that made it possible to restore the car to its 1936 configuration.

M. Pallier of Tours handled the engine rebuild, while other mechanical elements were overhauled by Claude Afchain, and the bodywork restored to its original style and colors by Jean-Claude Tisserand. The correct Atalante roof with sunroof was patterned from chassis 57330, the ex- 1935 Salon de Paris car. The interior was restored in Connolly leather by Madame Tisserand, and even Jean-Claude's children aided in the project. In 1992 the Atalante was presented to Charles Olivero's widow (now deceased) and two daughters Janie and Josette, at an exhibition at the Musée de Mougins.

In 1995, the Atalante was exhibited at Retromobile, and in 2001 was sold by Bernard Mérian. Dutch entrepreneur Victor Müller was the next owner, and he showed it the 2002 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, then at Goodwood and Villa d'Este in 2003. Chassis 57432 sold on August 31, 2003, to another Dutch collector, who, for nearly twenty years, crisscrossed Europe and the United States at the wheel of his stunning Atalante, which has matured beautifully through years of proper care and use. The current owner has enjoyed it to the fullest and reports recent maintenance by specialists Garage van Egmond in Zwanenburg, Netherlands. In 2023 the glamourous Bugatti was featured in Classic & Sportscar Magazine in a story by Martin Buckley, accompanied by stunningly moody nighttime photographs taken on the streets of Paris.

As one of just a handful of surviving factory-built open-air Atalantes, the availability of 57432 presents an incredible opportunity to acquire a very special Bugatti, indeed. The new owner will not only get a Bugatti that is exceptional in form and function, but one with a rich history spent in the hands of a series of fascinating characters, presented in superb condition, faithfully restored to its original configuration.

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January 25, 2024 RM Soytheby's Arizona auction USA

  • 1939 Bugatti Type 57 Cabriolet by Letourneur et Marchand
    Chassis No. 57587, Engine No. 458, Gearbox No. 46H, Estimate: US$900,000 - US$1,200,000

  • An award-winning restoration of a remarkable body style, with numbers-matching engine and coachwork
  • Formerly owned by the noted American Bugattistes Dr. Milton Roth and Richard Riddell
  • Exhaustively documented by Bugatti historian Pierre-Yves Laugier
  • An important Type 57 of great quality, with outstanding presentation and beauty

Bug Hunting Abroad
In mid-1956, American enthusiast Russ Sceli journeyed to Europe, camera and note pad in hand, and began pursuing Bugattis, which he referred to as "the cherished game of an ardent cult." "The more I talked to people, especially the enthusiasts, the more convinced I became that if one is fortunate enough to own a Bugatti, or is able to secure one, they should keep and treasure it forever, like a rare jewel, or an amenable wife who will put up with 'Bugatti's idiosyncrasies,'" he wrote in his travelogue, published as "Bug Hunting Abroad" in the January 1957 issue of Road & Track.

It was that article that first revealed to American eyes this rare Type 57 cabriolet, bodied by Letourneur et Marchand, one of the rare custom coachbuilders whose work matched Jean Bugatti’s own designs for grace and beauty. Elaine Bond, the wife of Road & Track's indomitable publisher, was captured peering into the widow of chassis number 57587, noted as "offered at $750. Quite a bargain, and what’s more, it would actually run." That it would; by the time of Sceli's article, one of the members of that ardent cult had brought the cabriolet to the United States, where it has, aside from only a few brief overseas sojourns, remained since—a trophy to keep.

Chassis Number 57587
According to the exhaustive research performed upon this car by noted Bugatti historian Pierre-Yves Laugier, eight of the beautiful Letourneur et Marchand cabriolets were built on the Type 57 chassis to the shop's design number 5877. This car, chassis number 57587, was the first, as noted in the coachbuilder's archives. Further, the complete files from the Parisian Bugatti agency note the construction of the car all the way from the original owner, placed by Baron Georges de Cocq. Numerous fascinating letters, copies of which are included in the file, record the car's early life, including its having been repainted to the present colors, black and ruby, as noted by World Champion driver Robert Benoist, then manager of the Paris dealership.

Typical of a fine coachbuilt automobile, numerous bespoke details suited the Baron's needs; the steering column was extended by five millimeters, to better suit his build and preferred driving position, while Letourneur et Marchand crafted the unique rear bumpers to the Baron's design and, above them, mounted a holder for his fishing rod. Afterward the car was exhibited in the Paris showroom until finally being delivered to the Baron in March 1939, registered as 1357 RM 4.

The Bugatti remained in the Baron and his family's ownership in the South of France until 1956, when, according to his family, it was sold by his widow to Jean Laurent of Paris. It was while in Paris, awaiting its sale to Monsieur Laurent, that the car was photographed by "Bug Hunting" Russ Sceli for its appearance in Road & Track.

In 1957, chassis number 57587 was sold by the Parisian Bugatti dealer Armand Beressi to Dr. Milton Roth of Long Beach, California, one of the most prominent early American "Bugattistes," whose wonderful cars now reside in some of the finest collections worldwide. While owned by Dr. Roth, the car was recorded in Hugh Conway's famous 1962 Bugatti Register and Data Book. It next passed to the longtime American Bugatti Club member and past president, Dr. Richard Riddell, and then to Ed Scott, whose ownership is recorded in the 1979 American Bugatti Register. It next passed to Jerry Symons of Pacific Palisades, by which time the original engine, number 458, had been exchanged for engine number 395.

After Robert Owens of Haverford, Pennsylvania acquired the cabriolet, he undertook a long-deserved concours restoration in the hands of Mike Wilson; as part of this work, the original engine was diligently sought out, acquired, and reunited with the car, following a rebuild by Jim Stranberg with a new crankshaft as is commonly required for these cars. With this engine and the correct Cotal gearbox, the Type 57 was returned to its original colors in which it had been presented to the Baron, complete with his fishing rod holder.

The restored car made its first modern show appearance at the 2004 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, winning 2nd in Class, just behind the eventual Best of Show winner! Subsequently it was briefly part of a Dutch collection, then was acquired by Dr. J. Craig Venter of California. In Dr. Venter's ownership, the Bugatti was prepared by the Alan Taylor Company and returned to Pebble Beach in 2016.

Part of its present owner's distinguished collection since 2017, the car still presents in beautiful overall condition, as it has been upkept to concours standards and continued to make show appearances, winning an Amelia Award at that namesake concours in 2018. It is accompanied by Monsieur Laugier's extensive report detailing the history of the car since new, as well as photographs and invoices from the work undertaken in Dr. Venter’s ownership.

It is a simply wonderful Bugatti, the kind of automobile that makes one understand why they are so fiercely hunted by members of that ardent cult, and then possessed as close to forever as possible. To know it is to admire it.

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January 31, 2024 RM Sotheby's Paris Auction France

  • 1926 Bugatti Type 40, Chassis 40377, Engine 280, Estimate €200,000 - €250,000
  • 2017 Bugatti Chiron 'La Mer Argentée', Chassis No. VF9SP3V30HM795026, Estimate: €2,750,000 - €3,500,000

1926 Bugatti Type 40, Chassis 40377, Engine 280
One of just 790 Type 40s believed to have been built, chassis 40377 left Molsheim on 6 April 1927 and was placed on a freighter bound for South America. Ordered by Count Luiz Eduardo Matarazzo of Sao Paolo, Brazil—Bugatti’s representative for the continent—it is likely that the car was fitted with a body completed by a South American coachbuilder. The factory ledger notes that it was delivered new with engine number 280, and the matching-number crankcase remains fitted to this Type 40 today.

By 1971, 40377 was in Argentina and registered “816·866” in Buenos Aires. Discovered by John Lodwig with a sporty two-seater body, this Bugatti was sold to Øivind Selvig of Norway, who commenced a lengthy restoration that continued until 1983. During this time, a new Grand Sport-style body was fitted. Two years later, it was sold to Paal Myhre, who in turn traded it on to the consigning owner in 1993. The car has since been maintained by marque specialist Ivan Dutton, benefitting from an engine rebuild in 2013 and a gearbox rebuild in 1994. At some point in its life, this Type 40 was upgraded with twin Solex carburettors.

A highly useable and attractive model, this Type 40 has developed a mellow patina since its restoration over four decades ago. Fitted with its matching-numbers crankcase, this wonderful Type 40 is the perfect entry for any enthusiast into the enjoyable world of Bugatti ownership.

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