Replica “homage to Jean Bugatti’s Type 57SC Atlantic coupé” to be auctioned for a sum 99.9% lower than the most famous of the four originals is said to be worth
If ever rediscovered, a car termed “the most beautiful ever created” – the second of four Bugatti Type 57S Atlantic coupés – would supposedly be worth £93 million ($113 million, €104 million or درهم415 million).
Handcrafted as part of a limited production with sales only to the British banker Victor, 3rd Baron Rothschild, an English tennis player named Richard B. Pope and a Frenchman named Jacques Holzschuh between 1936 and 1938, the second coupé made was used for promotion and then given to its creator, Gianoberto ‘Jean’ Bugatti (1909 – 1939). After he was killed whilst testing a Type 57 tank-bodied racer, his car passed into the hands of various racing drivers. It was then hidden away with the outset of the Second World War, but sadly never resurfaced.
Named in honour of Mr. Bugatti’s aviator friend Jean Mermoz (1901 – 1936), whom never returned from a journey across the South Atlantic in 1936 in a Latécoère 300 Croix-du-Sud plane, the 12-foot long 57SC is lauded as the ultimate automotive design icon. Bugatti themselves term the “world’s most valuable vehicle” to be “extraordinary” and reference the coupé “unique in its time and still unique today.”
As a result of their desirability, the car – which Motor Authority terms “delightfully swoopy… [the] crown jewels of Bugatti production cars” – has unsurprisingly inspired a number of automotive designers to create homages to it. One example, created by “hot rodder” Terry Cook, is being auctioned this month – but one thing’s for sure, whatever it sells for, its hammer price will nowhere near that of a ‘real’ example.
The “reimagined Atlantic” concerned was made by Cook’s firm, Delahaye USA, in 2016 and is described as “noticeably longer than the original, 10 inches to be exact.” It has a 127-inch wheelbase and features a BMW fuel-injected 12-cylinder engine and automatic transmission and unlike its forerunners comes equipped with air conditioning, heating and power windows. The stainless steel tubular seat frames are exact copies of those from the 57SC now owned by Ralph Lauren and the fabric is described as “richly decorative.”
RM Sotheby’s will sell the 1939 Delahaye USA Pacific – which actually is titled a 2016 ‘Assembled Vehicle’ – as part of their ‘Drive Into Summer’ online sale from 21st to 29th May. They have set an estimate of £124,000 to £165,000 ($150,000 to $200,000, €139,000 to €185,000 or درهم551,000 to درهم735,000) for this “wonderful modern homage.” Of it, they add: “The Delahaye USA Pacific is sure to turn heads no matter where it may travel, be it on any side of either ocean.”
Those on an even more limited budget could still live the ‘Atlantic dream’ – Ralph Lauren is currently marketing a 1:18 scale, die-cast, hand-painted replica of Mr. Lauren’s 57SC for ‘just’ £1,595 ($1,930, €1,784 or درهم7,090).