Beauty’s in the Eye of the Bargain Basement Bugatti

Beauty’s in the Eye of the Bargain Basement Bugatti – 2016 ‘Assembled Vehicle’ 1939 Delahaye USA Pacific by Terry Cook – Replica “homage to Jean Bugatti’s Type 57S Atlantic coupé” to be auctioned for a sum 100% lower than the missing most famous of the four originals is said to be worth – The vehicle will be sold as part of the RM Sotheby’s ‘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)

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.


In March 2017, the “homage to Jean Bugatti’s Type 57SC Atlantic coupé,” the Delahaye USA Pacific was auctioned at the Mostalgia Amelia Island sale in Florida. It sold for £182,000 ($220,000, €204,000 or درهم808,000). The same car is headed to auction again this month.
Jean Bugatti pictured next to the ‘Royale Esders Roadster’ prototype he designed in 1932.
The four Bugatti 57SC Atlantic cars.

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).


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The metallic gray-blue 1936 Bugatti Type 57S – chassis number 57374 – was originally owned by Victor Rothschild, 3rd Baron Rothschild and thus known as the ‘Rothschild Atlantic.’ It was sold for in excess of £24.8 million ($30 million, €27.7 million or درهم110.2 million) in 2010 to the collector Peter Mullin. The car is now displayed at the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California.
The missing 1936 57SC – chassis 57453 – was presented in black and known as ‘La Voiture Noire’ or ‘The Black Car.’ It was the second Atlantic manufactured, disappeared from France in February 1941 and has never been seen since. Jean Bugatti considered this particular example his “most innovative and most valuable creation.”
The 1936 Bugatti 57SC – chassis number 57473, ‘the Holzschuh Atlantic’ – was first owned by Jacques Holzschuch and his wife, Yvonne, and presented in black. After they were killed in the Second World War, the car’s subsequent owner, René Chatard, was hit by a train whilst in it 1955. He and his companion died and the remains of the vehicle were sold on. The restored car – considered a replica by experts – is displayed at the Torrota private collection in Spain.
Clothier Ralph Lauren with his 1938 Bugatti Type 57SC – chassis 57591, the ‘Pope Atlantic.’ It was originally owned by Richard B. Pope and presented in sapphire blue, but painted black after being sold to Ralph Lauren in 1988.
At the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, commemorating the 110th anniversary of Jean Bugatti’s birth, Bugatti sold a one-off model named ‘La Voiture Noire’ in homage to the missing 57SC for circa £15.7 million ($19 million, €17.6 million or درهم70 million). They declared it: “The most expensive new car ever sold.”
The model available from Ralph Lauren.
The steering wheel of the 2016 ‘Assembled Vehicle’ 1939 Delahaye USA Pacific.
The seats are an artwork in themselves.
Another view of the interior.
With the doors open, from the front.
The spare wheel.
From the front.
From the rear (complete with twelve exhaust pipes).
The bonnet of the vehicle with a model of the car that inspired it on it.


  1. A real testament to a wonderfully designed motor-car, by people who have been suitably motivated.
    I wish I had the dosh to buy…….

    • I must say I think you created something spectacular Terry. This stunning machine must be quite glorious to drive and be driven in.


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