The magnificent Type 57 Bugatti

The magnificent Type 57 Bugatti image

For 2018 The Bugatti Owners’ Club and the Bugatti Trust, will jointly be displaying a selection of very rare and unique Type 57 and Type 57S Bugattis.

The Type 57 was Bugatti’s last successful touring car before the end of the factory and, although carrying over much of Ettore’s engineering thinking, developed over the previous 20 years, it was exquisitely designed by his talented son, Jean, although Ettore may have vetoed some of the younger man’s avant garde thinking.

The Type 57 was both a technical and commercial success for Bugatti at a time when selling luxury sporting cars was not easy. Le Mans victories in 1937 and 1939, using versions of the Type 57 developed for sports car racing, must have helped but the stylish, Jean Bugatti designed bodies would have been an important influence on sales. The bodies had names related to mountain passes including Galibier for the four-door saloon, Ventoux to the semi-streamlined two door saloon, Stelvio for the drophead and the Atalante for the two-seater coupé. Most distinctive of all was the Atlantic, an art deco teardrop shape with riveted fins down the centre of the body and the wings, it was perhaps Jean Bugattis masterpiece but no more than four were built, all on the Type 57S chassis. Built by the Bugatti Factory between 1936 and 1938, the Type 57S model was a high-performance version of the 3.3 litre 8-cylinder Type 57. The S stands for ‘Surbaissé’ (French for lowered) and refers to the model’s lowered and short chassis.

The Cars On Display
The Type 57 and 57S Bugattis on display include the ex-Lord Howe Type 57S, the ex- Ronnie Symondson Corsica bodied Type 57S, and a Vanvooren coach-built Type 57S. Since there are only four Type 57Ss in this Country, to have arranged for three to be on display is remarkable. Also on the Stand will be a Drophead Type 57 with James Young Coachwork and the Type 57 with Figoni style "Shah of Iran” coachwork, eye-catchingly spectacular. Joining the Bugatti Type 57s celebrations are the Anne Itier Bugatti Type 51 Grand Prix car, (8 Cylinder, twin cam supercharged) and the special bodied Mme. Itier Type 51/ 38A roadster both rarely seen in this Country.

The Bugatti Owners’ Club, which was formed in 1929, had been running Hill Climbs on various dusty loose-surfaced courses in the south of England since 1931. It was about 1936 when the committee moved that the Club really needed to have its own course - the objections of local residents to the existing venues were getting stronger all the time, it seemed that the ‘unique sounds’ of un-silenced Bugattis on a Summer’s afternoon, was not what local residents wanted! In 1938 the Club moved to its present home at Prescott Hill Climb near Cheltenham, now a state-of-the-art motorsports facility. 2019 sees the Club’s 90th Anniversary with several celebration events planned. This special year expects to see a display of 90 Bugattis at the annual La Vie en Bleu weekend taking place at the end of May as well as a fantastic exhibition developed in conjunction with The Bugatti Trust. Look out for more information soon.

The Bugatti Trust Museum and Study Centre will showcase a focused part of its 2018 exhibition dedicated to ‘Ettore Bugatti, Engineer, Designer, Inventor’ which links with the Governments 2018 educational campaign to encourage more children to consider engineering as a study and career path. The Trust is an independent charity with educational aims and objectives dedicated to the study of the works of Ettore Bugatti and preservation of the heritage of the marque. A Cotswold Heritage Gem based at Prescott Hill Climb, The Bugatti Trust Museum and Study Centre is open all year round to visitors interested in cars, art and design, engineering, the world of the Bugatti family and more specifically Ettore Bugatti.

The Bugatti Trust will run a photography competition over the three days of the show focusing on ‘The Beauty of Bugatti engineering of the Type 57S engine. There will be three age groups: Under 11, Under 16 and 16 and over. For full details please see one of the Bugatti Trust volunteers on the stand.

Be sure to visit their stand - 1-325 - at the show!