A 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic earned “Best of Show” honors at the Fourth annual Arizona Concours d’Elegance on Sunday, January 15, held at the Arizona Biltmore. The Bugatti, owned by Peter and Merle Mullin and Rob and Melani Walton, is just one of three cars known to exist and came to the concours from a special display within the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California.
This Atlantic, marked Chassis No. 57374, was the first car produced and was inspired by the Aerolithe concept car. It is hand built and features prominent front fenders and a narrow aluminum body uniquely joined by rivets running along its fenders and down its spine. The car was originally owned by Victor Rothschild for several years until he blew its engine in the late 1930s.
According to Warner Hall, a senior docent from the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California, where the car usually resides, chassis 57374 came to the united states after World War II. It had been fitted with a new supercharged engine and was owned by Bob Oliver for some time.
In 1971 the Type 57SC was purchased at auction by Peter Williamson for a then-record price of $59,000.
Williamson hired Jim Stranberg to restore the car and in 2003 it was judged best of show at Pebble Beach. In 2010 the car was purchased from Williamson’s estate in a private transaction by Mullin and Walton.
The senior docent added of the other Bugatti Type 57SC cars produced, the second, chassis 57473, was demolished in a collision with a train in 1955 while driven by a woman who was not the car owner’s wife. The car was rebuilt from parts that could be salvaged but no one survived the incident.
Hall said the third Atlantic, chassis 57591, is owned by Ralph Lauren and won best of show at Pebble Beach in 1990. He added that there have been unsubstantiated reports that a fourth Atlantic (57453) was produced. Hall noted it was thought to be in England if there was indeed such a car, but it’s whereabouts has been unknown since 1941.
The 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC is one of 90 cars that made up the Arizona Concours d’Elegance show field that had been divided into 17 classes. The cars judged to be the best in each class were rejudged to determine Best of Show.
TOP WINNERS OF THE FOURTH ANNUAL ARIZONA CONCOURS D’ELEGANCE ARE:
Best of Show – 1936 Bugatti Type 37 SC Atlantic coupe
Antique Automobiles – 1909 Renault AX
Pre-War European Sports/Racing – 1938 Jaguar SS-100
Post-War America-Powered Sports Cars – 1960 Chevrolet Corvette
Post-War American Racing Cars – 1951 Cunningham C2
Post-War European Sports Cars/Early – 1956 Lancia Aurelia B24S convertible
Post-War European Sports Cars/Late – 1960 Ferrari 250 GT PF Cab Series 2
Post-War European Racing Cars – 1955 Ferrari 500 Mondial
American Classic/Open – 1933 Marmon V16 convertible coupe
Iconic Post-War American Cars – 1953 Cadillac convertible
Iconic Post-War European Cars – 1949 Delahaye 155M
Preservation Cars – 1959 AC Ace Bristol roadster
Avante Garde – 1931 Nash Model 887 touring sedan
Classic Era Lincolns – 1926 Lincoln LeBaron sedan
Coachwork by Carrozzeria Vignale – 1953 Ferrari 250 Europa coupe
Most Elegant Pre-War Car – 1931 Duesenberg Model J Tourster
Director’s Choice – 1951 Ferrari 212 MM
Historic Vehicle Association Most Well-Preserved Vehicle – 1949 MG TC
Historic Vehicle Association National Automotive Heritage Award – 1955 Ferrari 500 Mondial
Hagerty Youth Judging Award – 1959 Bocar XP-5
Make-A-Wish Kid's Choice Award - 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic
Written by Nicole Ellan James